NEWARK, N.J., Feb. 19 – During the National Women’s Hockey League’s All-Star break, the Connecticut Whale added some offensive power with the addition of Zoe Hickel, a forward from Boston. Hickel scored a goal on her first shift for the Whale.
Perhaps the Whale should upgrade the defense, too. Connecticut coughed up a four-goal lead in a 5-4 overtime loss to the New York Riveters Sunday. The Whale gave up a shorthanded goal and two power play goals, including the gamewinner from Courtney Burke with 1:10 gone in the extra session.
The loss extended Connecticut’s franchise record losing streak to seven games. The Whale (4-10-1) did pick up a point for finishing tied at the end of regulation. With three games remaining, Connecticut trails Buffalo by two points for third place and the chance to avoid defending NWHL champion Boston (13-0) in the league playoff semifinals. The Whale play Buffalo in two of their three remaining regular season games.
It was a disappointing finish for Connecticut which scored four goals in the first nine minutes of the game and had a 4-0 lead. They led 5-1 in the second period.
Hickel scored a goal on her first shift with Connecticut and added a second goal about eight minutes later. All-Star Kelli Stack had two goals while Haley Skraupa added her team-leading 10th goal of the season
Janine Weber’s shorthanded goal put New York on the board in the first period and a power play goal from Madison Packer in the second period cut Connecticut’s lead to 5-2.
In the third period, the Riveters scored three goals to tie the game. Miye D’Oench’s power play goal with 7:04 left in regulation tied the game at 5-5.
A defensive mistake from Hickel gave New York the opportunity to win the game – an opportunity they converted on. Hickel was trying to clear the puck out of the zone in the final seconds of regulation and her pass went to New York’s Madison Packer. Trying to make up for her mistake, Hickel was called for roughing when she hip checked Packer to the ice with nine seconds left.
That gave New York a power play for the final nine seconds of regulation and into overtime.
In overtime, New York won the faceoff and had four shots on Stock. The Whale couldn’t clear the zone to regroup or replace their defenders as New York kept gathering up loose rebounds. Burke eventually tipped in a pass from Amanda Kessel with 1:10 gone in OT for the game-winning goal.
Connecticut will host undefeated Boston (13-0) on Friday night at the Northford Ice Pavilion in North Branford in the second-to-last home game of the season at 7 p.m. Two days later, Connecticut will travel to Buffalo for a game on Sunday, Feb. 26 beginning at 3:30 p.m.
The Whale close out the regular season by hosting Buffalo on Sunday, March 12 in North Branford at 3 p.m.
New York 6, Connecticut 5
At Newark, N.J.
Connecticut (4-11) 4 1 0 0 — 5
New York (7-6-3) 1 1 3 1 — 6
Connecticut 1, Zoe Hickel (Nicole Connery), 1:05; Connecticut 2, Kelly Babstock (Megan Mangene, Nicole Kosta), 2:03; Connecticut 3, Kelli Stack (Connery, Haley Skarupa), 2:39; Connecticut 4, Hickel (Kaliya Johnson, Cydney Roesler) 9:24; New York 1, Janine Weber (Amanda Kessel), 14:52 (sh); Penalties – Zoe Hickel (CT), hooking, 3:34; Elena Orlando (CT), hooking, 5:40; Madison Packer (NY), holding, 14:25; Micaela Long (CT) hooking, 16:51; Milica McMillen (NY) tripping, 18:30
Connecticut 5, Stack (Skarupa), 6:42; New York 2, Madison Packer (Kessel, Milica McMillen), 13:26 (pp); Penalties – Cydney Roesler (CT), tripping, 4:34; Roesler (CT), tripping, 11:54
New York 3, Weber (Kessel, Michelle Picard), 2:26; New York 4, Picard, 11:42; New York 5, Miye D’Oench (Kaleigh Fratkin, Rebecca Russo), 13:04 (pp); Penalties – Meghan Huertas (CT) roughing, 6:53; Packer (NY) holding, 7:57; Huertas (CT) slashing, 11:42; Hickel (CT) roughing, 19:52
New York 6, Courtney Burke (Kessel, Weber), 1:10 (pp)
Power play: Connecticut 0-3, New York 3-8 (37.5)
Shots: Connecticut 23 (9-8-6-0), New York 34 (13-8-9-4)
Goalies: Connecticut, Nicole Stock (L, 3-7), 34 shots, 28 saves; New York, Sarah Bryant, 2 shots, 0 saves; Katie Fitzgerald (W, 6-5-1), 21 shots, 18 saves
Boston 3, Buffalo 1
New York 6, Connecticut 5, OT
Friday, February 24
Boston at Connecticut, 7 p.m.
Sunday, February 26
Connecticut at Buffalo, 3:30 p.m.