Men's Hockey: Nichols shines against Maine, injury holds Ojantakanen out

UConn men's hockey goalie Rob Nichols protects his net during the Huskies' game against Army at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut on Nov. 10, 2015. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

It was a career weekend for UConn goaltender Rob Nichols. The junior stopped 82 of the 83 shots he faced in a two-game series against the University of Maine.

Nichols recorded his second straight shutout on Friday, turning away a career-high 44 shots in the Huskies’ 1-0 win over the Black Bears. He was equally impressive on Saturday, making 38 saves, including 16 saves in the third period and overtime to preserve a 1-1 tie.

UConn took three out of four possible points over the weekend, moving up to sixth place in Hockey East.

This is the first time a goalie has posted back-to-back shutouts in program history, and the nation took notice.

Nichols was named Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week on Monday, his second such honor this season. He was also named the NCAA first star of the week.

On the season, Nichols holds a .913 save percentage and a 2.75 goals against average. He currently ranks fifth in the nation with 596 saves.

Ojantakanen out with knee injury

The Huskies will be without sophomore forward Kasperi Ojantakanen for the foreseeable future. Ojantakanen has not played since UConn’s 5-2 win against Arizona State on January 5, and is expected to miss three more weeks, according to the Hartford Courant’s Mike Anthony.

Ojantakanen was a vital part of UConn’s offense last season, contributing 2 two goals and 10 assists in 31 games. In 19 games before his knee injury, Ojantakanen had seen significant time on the ice, despite just one goal and one assist so far.

If the three-week estimate is exact, Ojantakanen will miss five games: Vermont, at Boston College, Sacred Heart, Brown, and at Merrimack. Only three of those are conference games, but the Huskies will undoubtedly miss his presence on the ice, especially in the faceoff department.

Ojantakanen has taken 245 faceoffs on the season – second only to freshman Max Letunov – winning 49 percent of them.

Golonka to transfer

According to Anthony, sophomore Will Golonka has left the program. Golonka will remain enrolled at UConn for the spring semester, but will look to make a move elsewhere for next year.

Golonka has appeared in just three games this season, struggling to find ice time in a rotation loaded with youth and talent. There are 17 other freshmen and sophomores on the roster, 10 of them forwards.


Pete Harasyko is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at peter.harasyko@uconn.edu.