The UConn men’s hockey team (8-14-3, 4-8-3 Hockey East) will look to pick up their second non-conference win of the season at the XL Center when they play host to in-state rival Sacred Heart University on Tuesday night.
The Huskies are coming off a weekend of ups and downs. On Friday night, they endured a frustrating 4-2 defeat to Vermont in Hartford, a game that featured a host of unlucky breaks the other way. The Catamounts scored the game-winning goal with 4:29 remaining in the game.
The next night, UConn faced a major Hockey East challenge, as they traveled to Massachusetts to face No. 4 Boston College. The Eagles entered the game fresh off a major accomplishment, as they had just secured the 1000th career win for head coach Jerry York on Friday night.
The Huskies earned a 3-3 tie, achieving a very impressive result in the game. Jesse Schwartz, Patrick Kirtland and Maxim Letunov scored the goals for UConn. Letunov, a freshman, has registered at least one point in 13 of the last 14 games, and leads the team with 11 goals.
UConn’s goaltender for both games last weekend was backup Tanner Creel, as starter Rob Nichols continues to recover from a high ankle sprain. Creel had an impressive weekend, making 58 saves combined in the two games, and will likely start again on Tuesday night.
Sacred Heart (9-13-3, 8-10-2 AHC) will come to the XL Center riding a two-game losing streak, as they were swept last weekend by RIT. The Huskies have not faced the Pioneers since the two teams were conference rivals in the Atlantic Hockey Association. UConn left the conference for the Hockey East in 2014.
The Pioneers are led in scoring by junior forward Justin Danforth, who has scored 13 times this season. Alec Butcher and Evan Jasper are tied for the team lead in assists, with 16 helpers apiece. Jordan Minello is another crucial part of the team’s offense, with eight goals and eight assists to his name.
The starting goaltender for Sacred Heart is freshman Brett Magnus, who has started 23 of the team’s 25 games this season. Magnus has a 2.37 goals against average and a .919 save percentage.
The Pioneers struggle on the road, with a 3-8-2 record away from their home rink. They have scored 10 goals in five non-conference games this season.
The last meeting between UConn and Sacred Heart came on March 1, 2014, at Milford Ice Pavilion in Milford, Conn. The Huskies fell 2-1 on that day, with the team’s lone goal coming from Brent Norris.
Puck drop for Tuesday night in Hartford is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.