Still stuck in the middle of an eight-game losing streak, the UConn men’s hockey team prepares for possibly its toughest weekend matchup of the season, a home-and-home series with No. 5 UMass-Lowell.
The Huskies are on their longest losing streak since the 2009-10 season, and haven’t lost nine straight since the 2005-06 campaign. UConn dropped its last game against Boston College by a 5-1 score, but it was a bad first period that dug the team into a deep hole that they could not climb out of, even after taking over the second and third periods.
Despite the losing streak, UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh believes his team has the right mentality looking forward.
“I think our seniors are pretty tried and true veterans, and they do a very good job keeping our younger guys’ minds in the right place,” Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh also said his team isn’t playing at the level they know they can. Even though they are the newest members of Hockey East, the Huskies proved last year that they could test even the best hockey teams in the country.
“We don’t have a team that’s super talented that can play its ‘B’ or ‘C’ game and win games. We don’t have that type of team,” Cavanaugh said. “But we do have a team that if we play our ‘A’ game, we can compete with anybody.”
The Huskies (3-10-0, 1-7-0) will need their ‘A’ game and then some to compete with the River Hawks (10-1-4, 6-0-3). UMass-Lowell comes into the weekend riding a nine-game unbeaten streak, ranked No. 5 in both collegiate polls.
Last weekend, the River Hawks won the inaugural Belpot Trophy in Northern Ireland, defeating Northeastern in their first game and then Brown in a shootout in the final game.
Senior Adam Chapie and sophomore C.J. Smith lead UMass-Lowell in scoring with 15 points each for the year. Chapie also leads the team with 7 goals. Senior netminder Kevin Boyle is one of the top goalies in the country, ranking fifth nationally in both save percentage (.945) and goals against (1.57).
The River Hawks pose a monumental challenge to UConn, but one that if conquered, can really turn the season around.
“We have great leadership, and I really believe if we play our game and play together as a team, we’ll compete in that Lowell game and have a chance to win it,” said Cavanaugh. “If we don’t, then we won’t compete, and we won’t win the game.”
Saturday’s contest at the XL Center is slated for a 3:05 p.m. start, while Sunday’s contest in Lowell will start at 1 p.m.
Pete Harasyko is a staff writer covering the for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.