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UConn women's hockey claims NCAA berth after winning the Hockey East Tournament

Megan Woodworth scored the game-winning goal with 35.0 seconds left in overtime.

Photo: Ian Bethune

UConn women’s hockey defeated Northeastern 1-0 in overtime on Saturday to win the Hockey East Tournament title. The victory also gives the Huskies an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, their first in program history.

Megan Woodworth was the hero, scoring the contest’s lone goal with 35.0 seconds left in overtime. She re-directed a shot from Ainsley Svetek on the backpost to set off the celebration — though UConn had to wait for an official review before it knew it won for certain.

Over the first 79 minutes, the two teams battled to a scoreless tie. The Huskies had nearly seven uninterrupted minutes on the power play in the third period — a two minute 5-on-3 followed by a major and game misconduct that ended the day for Megan Carter, Northeastern’s top defender. Despite the advantage, UConn couldn’t capitalize and regulation ended without a score.

The visitors had two power plays on the day: One in the first period which featured a stunning glove stop from Tia Chan, and a high-pressure one in overtime that the Huskies killed off.

Another key moment came in overtime when Svetek laid out to clear the puck on a breakaway for Northeastern.

In the waning seconds of OT, Riley Grimley won a puck battle behind the net and tried to hit a crashing Woodworth in the slot, but it slipped through to the blue line. Svetek picked it up and fired a wrister back towards the net, where Woodworth put it in for the win.

The victory gives UConn both the Hockey East regular season and tournament titles this season. It also snaps Northeastern’s run of six straight league tournament championships.

Next, the Huskies will learn where they head in the NCAA Tournament during the selection show at noon on Sunday. That will be broadcast on ESPNews.