After a difficult freshman season, Elaine Chuli has emerged as one of the comeback players of the year in Hockey East. Standing between the pipes for the Connecticut Huskies program, she is beginning to establish herself as an elite backstop.
With the Huskies standing as one of the feel-good stories of the 2013-14 NCAA hockey season, Chuli, a native of Waterford, Ontario, capped off a remarkable month of January with Hockey East Co-Goaltender of the Month honors. Sharing the nod with Corinne Boyles of the Boston College Eagles, it is an award that celebrates how far the team has come in such a short period of time.
Posting a won-loss mark of 3-7-0 during the month of January, there were positive signs for Chuli and her fellow Huskies. Considering the fact that no more than three goals were scored by an opposing team in any of those losses, it shows a much disciplined style of play on defense.
Victories against Vermont, New Hampshire and Providence highlighted the month. Losses to prominent programs such as Boston University and Harvard were only by one goal.
Statistically, she registered a sparkling 1.52 goals against average, complemented by a solid .955 save percentage in January. It improves her season numbers to a GAA of 2.67 while her save percentage on the season improves to .924, good for third among Hockey East goaltenders.
A 2-0 win on the road against the Vermont Catamounts provided Chuli with her first career shutout. Of note, it would serve as the first shutout for the rebuilding program since November 2011.
Perhaps most impressive was the fact that Chuli earned Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honors twice in January. She was recognized for the week of January 6 after a 33 save effort in a loss at Princeton. The week of January 27 saw Chuli earn her second honor as she stopped 66 of 68 shots in a two-game series against the Providence Friars.
Considering this is the first monthly honor won by a Huskies player since goaltender Alexandra Garcia earned Goalie of the Month honors in November 2010, Chuli is helping to propel the Huskies in a positive direction. As she now boasts four conference awards this season, a playoff berth certainly looms ahead for a goaltender with a bright future.