Fresh off a trip to western New York that resulted in two ties, the UConn men’s hockey team is faced with a tough task on Wednesday. The Huskies (2-0-2) will stay in Connecticut to play in-state rival and No. 4 ranked Quinnipiac.
UConn received 10 votes in this week’s USCHO poll, good enough to be the No. 29 ranked team in the country. The Huskies tied Colgate 4-4 on Friday night and then played RIT to a 1-1 tie on Saturday night.
Sophomore Tage Thompson ranks fourth in Division I with four goals on the season. Thompson was held to one goal this past weekend after scoring three in the season opening series against Alabama-Huntsville.
After sitting out the second leg of consecutive games this weekend, Rob Nichols is expected to be back in net for the Huskies. Nichols has made 67 saves on the season and allowed four goals, good for a save percentage of .944. His replacement on Saturday, freshman Adam Huska, performed well when called upon, holding RIT to one goal and keeping UConn in the game.
Prior to the season, Nichols was not concerned with the possible goalie competition involving the freshman Huska and juniors Tanner Creel and Steve Thulin.
“[The competition] only makes us better,” Nichols said. “All four of us are pushing each other to make each other better, try to learn from each other, and correct any mistakes that we might have.”
The 2015 NCAA runner-up Bobcats come into Wednesday’s game with a 3-1-1 record. This past weekend, they traveled to Maine for a weekend series against the Black Bears. Both games went into overtime, with Maine winning Friday’s game 4-3 and Quinnipiac bouncing back for a 3-2 win on Saturday.
Senior Tim Clifton leads Quinnipiac with three goals so far this season. In his career, Clifton has scored 34 goals and recorded 40 assists. His 18 goals on the power play are the second most of all active NCAA Division I players.
Quinnipiac leads the all-time series against the Huskies with a record of 13-11-2. In their most recent meeting, last season the Bobcats came into the XL Center and defeated UConn 6-2. The Huskies jumped out to a 2-0 lead in that game before surrendering six unanswered goals.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. at High Point Solutions Arena in Hamden, Connecticut.
Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.