Kayla Campero knows her UConn Huskies have a tough hill to climb, but she remains positive.
Campero (Wallingford, Conn.) started the new year by being named Hockey East Player of the Week thanks to a five-point weekend Jan. 2-3 against the ECAC’s Princeton University. The sophomore credits her award and her team’s split weekend against the Tigers to playing with two teammates that really clicked.
“Playing Princeton was just fun,” said Campero. “Our line just started playing together, and I though we did really well.”
Campero has found success playing on a line with Brittany Berisoff and Leah Buress. The line combined for four goals and four assists Jan. 2 against Princeton, with two goals each for Berisoff and Campero. Those two each netted a goal in a 4-2 loss Jan. 8 against Boston University. They stayed paired together Tuesday night in a 5-1 loss to Harvard, but got a new center in Rachel Farrel. Campero kept up her scoring pace, getting a helper on defenseman’s Caitlin Hewes’ goal.
Though the Huskies found themselves swept against New Hampshire this past weekend, they are trying to stay competitive in every contest. They are playing a stronger late period game as of recently, and played a stronger defense against the Wildcats than they had in games past. In addition, transfer goaltender Sarah Moses made a remarkable 39 saves last Tuesday against Harvard, another indicator of defensive improvements.
The majority of UConn’s roster is powered by youth. Thirteen players are freshmen or sophomores, and two others, including Moses, transferred in from the now-departed Niagara University program. With half of the team still relatively new to UConn, they are still on a bit of a learning curve.
“It took a while for me to learn the system,” admitted Campero. “Now I am just improving on it.”
In addition to getting team systems down pat, Campero mentioned that getting more goals is a key objective moving into the last month and a half of the Hockey East season.
“We’re definitely hoping to play better in the offensive zone,” said Campero. “We’re practicing a lot of rushes and hoping to be more productive in scoring.”
UConn’s fight to gain experience will be bolstered by the difficult league schedule for the remainder of the season. In addition, the Huskies will get the opportunity to get their young roster playoff experience - and perhaps play spoiler. The Hockey East playoffs are not unfamiliar to the Huskies program, with a championship game appearance in 2010, but only three members of the current roster got to experience that tournament runner-up experience.
“We’re looking forward to the playoffs and to hone our skills,” said Campero. “There are several Hockey East teams we haven’t seen yet, and we’re looking forward to playing them.”
Player of the Week
Lauren Slebodnick (Manchester, N.H.), goaltender, Cornell
For this week’s Player of the Week, we revisit the stellar
goaltending of Lauren Slebodnick, who has been a force in net for
one of the nation’s best defensive teams, Cornell. She earned
three wins last week, earning two ECAC wins. The junior made 16
saves in a 3-1 win against Clarkson, which moved Cornell into a tie
for second in the tight ECAC. Slebodnick only allowed two goals in
those three games last week. Her performances earned her the
ECAC’s Goaltender of the Week honor, and moved her to fourth
on Cornell’s career goaltender win list with 38.
DIII Note of the Week
Rosemarie Giarrusso wrote her place in Saint Anselm women’s hockey history this weekend with her 125th career point, good for the school record. The senior North American Hockey Academy alumna scored a goal and an assist both in a 4-1 win against Southern Maine and 4-4 overtime tie against Plymouth State. Giarrusso made the ECAC East Honor Roll thanks to the feat. She has 21 points so far this season, thanks to 12 goals and 9 assists, good for third on her team in scoring and eleventh in the conference. Third place Saint Anslem (11-3-3) hosts second place Manhattanville in a crucial conference matchup Friday afternoon.
Game of the Week
Dartmouth vs. St. Lawrence, Friday evening
The top of the ECAC has become a closely contested fight, and both the Big Green and the Saints are right in the thick of the chase. St. Lawrence (17) holds a one point lead over Dartmouth (16) in the ECAC standings. (Quinnipiac is knotted up with St. Lawrence with 17 points as well.) Dartmouth has not lost since a January 4th one goal loss against RPI, leading them to a six game unbeaten streak. St. Lawrence started the season with five consecutive losses, but got that out of their system and went on to win seven straight through October and November. Last weekend was a bit rough for the Saints, suffering a 6-0 loss to second place Cornell and a 1-1 tie to Colgate. This will be the first of two matchups between the two squads this season - they’ll meet again in the last regular season game of the season on February 23rd.
1) Boston College (17-4-2 overall, 10-2-1 Hockey East)
The Eagles lost their first game since late October on Saturday,
dropping a 3-2 decision to Mercyhurst. Though it is never fun to
lose, at least the loss came to a non-conference opponent. Expect
Boston College to want to right the ship immediately -
they’re far too driven not to. This weekend, they will face a
Providence College team that was able to score seven goals against
Northeastern last Sunday, and a UConn team hoping to get their
youth movement on track.
2) Harvard (16-1-1 overall, 13-0-0 ECAC)
Lyndsey Fry is having a stellar 2013 on the Crimson scoresheet. She has only been held pointless twice since the new year, and only four times all season. She notched two goals last weekend against RPI. Between Fry’s scoring, Jillian Dempsey’s tenacity and a goalie tandem to be envious of, Harvard is having a ton of fun right now. They travel to take on Clarkson and St. Lawrence this weekend.
3) Boston University (15-3-3 overall, 10-2-1 Hockey East)
This weekend’s test for the Terriers will be Sunday
afternoon when they host New Hampshire. The Wildcats are performing
more solidly as the season goes on, and they have the tools that
could trip up Boston University if they play lackadaisically.
Luckily for the Terriers, they’ve had a break since their 5-4
win against Northeastern last Wednesday. That will allow some
injuries to heal as they enter a frantic end of season
4) Dartmouth (12-5-3 overall, 7-4-2 ECAC)
Five wins and a tie in their past six has placed the Big Green
exactly where they want to be in the ECAC. If they can hustle out a
win against St. Lawrence on Friday evening, they will jump into a
tie with the third place Saints. What could be troublesome is that
RPI was able to keep Dartmouth’s impressive top forward line,
including Camille Dumais, scoreless last Saturday. Could a even
better defense do the same?
5) Northeastern (12-9-2 overall, 6-6-1 Hockey East)
There is no doubt Northeastern is an extremely talented team, but they continue to play like individuals instead of a team. The goal scoring is there in spades, but team defense is a problem. Sunday’s 8-7 goal fest against a increasingly frustrated Providence College is a perfect example of how much the Huskies’ defense needs to step up if they want to continue to contend.