The Connecticut Huskies (4-3-1) take on the Merrimack College Warriors (1-5) this upcoming weekend in a season-defining matchup.
Merrimack is coming off a weekend series loss to No. 3 Northeastern, a team that has caused UConn trouble in the past. The Warriors were outscored nine to one and have struggled to find their footing this season. This is nothing new for the program as their last winning season was back in the 2018-2019 season. Merrimack finished last season with a record of 8-25-1 and it doesn’t look to be getting any better with their poor start to this year.
UConn is coming off another tough series with No. 14 Vermont, playing two games, in which they tied and then lost six to one. The Huskies have been on a skid lately as they haven’t won since the first of October against Stonehill. Prior to beginning Hockey East play, the Huskies went undefeated, winning each of their first four contests. UConn also dropped out of the rankings after their pair of winless weekends and is looking to earn a spot back in the polls.
In those first four games UConn averaged four goals per game but that has dropped in their most recent four games to below one. Also, the goals given up per game in their first four games was a little over one but has crept to 3.5 in their last four.
The Huskies had been alternating their goalkeepers at the beginning of season but have been sticking with the sophomore Tia Chan in their most recent games over Megan Warrener.
Despite their recent struggles, UConn consistently has been one of the better penalty killing teams in the NCAA. Opponents have had 23 power play opportunities and have scored on just two. They rank seventh overall in the entire NCAA, but Merrimack currently sits two spots above them. On the offensive attack, UConn ranks fifth in power play goals with a total of five goals. UConn will need to capitalize on power plays to find success this weekend, but it will be tough against a hard Merrimack defensive approach.
UConn is led by Captain Coryn Tormala, who celebrated her birthday this weekend. She currently leads the Huskies in points with two goals and four assists. Merrimack’s offensive attack is headed by Katie Kaufman, a senior out of Minnesota. She currently leads the Warriors with two goals and two assists on the campaign.
The history between these two programs dates back to 2015. UConn has won thirteen of their matchups while Merrimack has only won six, they’ve also tied twice. Their last matchup was in October 2021 in which Merrimack blanked the Huskies by a score of three to zero. Both teams currently rank at the bottom of the Hockey East standings and seek their first in-division win of the season, although it’s still early.
Women’s hockey is relatively new to Merrimack as the program started back in the 2013-2014 season. Two seasons later they found a home in the Hockey East division, and they’ve played there since.
The first game of the series will take place in Andover, Massachusetts and then the subsequent game will be played in Storrs, Connecticut. Both games will be streamed on ESPN+.