Men's Hockey: UConn hopes to snap skid against No. 2 Quinnipiac

UConn sophomore defender David Drake (middle) handles the puck during the Huskies' game against Army at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut on Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2015. The team is currently riding a six-game losing streak. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

UConn hockey is in dire need of a turnaround.

The Huskies will have a chance to right the ship this Tuesday as they face instate rival Quinnipiacat the XL Center.

UConn squandered a 34-save performance in its last game against Vermont on Friday. The Huskies produced great scoring opportunities but couldn’t convert more than one goal. The 2-1 loss handed UConn their sixth straight, the program’s worst slide since the 2009-10 season.

There is little light at the end of the tunnel as their next two games are against teams currently ranked in top five of the USCHO poll, Quinnipiac and Boston College.

While UConn has slid down the standings, Quinnipiac has done nothing but skyrocket. The Bobcats are currently ranked No. 3 in the nation and their perfect 10-0-0 record is the program’s best since entering the Division I ranks in 1998.

One of the bigger reasons for the Bobcat’s streak is the play of Tim Clifton and Travis St. Denis. Both skaters enter Tuesday’s game with a six game point streak and are tied for the team lead in goals with seven goals each.

The duo is a huge reason for Quinnipiac ranking No. 1 for scoring offense.

There will be a lot of shots heading UConn’s way and they will have two bodies in front of them to stand a chance holding Quinnipiac off the board.

The play behind them has been equally vital to Quinnipiac’s success.

Quinnipiac has the luxury of one of the nation’s best goaltenders protecting their net. Senior Michael Garteig comes into Tuesday’s game with 1.70 goals against average and the highest win total in Division I.

UConn has faced long odds against their instate rival before and won.

In their last meeting UConn lit up the No. 15 ranked Bobcats for four goals in a 4-1 win in Bridgeport.

If UConn does manage to pull off the upset it will likely be due to an offense that is due for a breakout game.

The Huskies’ offense has been stagnant of late, averaging only 1.5 goals and 25.7 shots per game during the six game losing streak.

UConn has the scoring ability. Freshman Max Letunov is tied for ninth in the country in scoring and Tage Thompson has proven to be a valuable contributor on the power play. 

If UConn sustains a full 60-minute effort and finds their spark on offense,  the Huskies can manage the upset once again.

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at the XL Center.


Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at bryan.lambert@uconn.edu.