Men’s Hockey: Goaltender Nichols shines in weekend debut

Huskies goaltender Rob Nichols (#31) comes out of his net to make a save in a game against UAH at the XL Center  on Saturday Oct. 8, 2016. Nichols faced 44 shots this weekend and saved all of them. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

In the history of the UConn men’s hockey program, the Huskies have had back-to-back shutouts just twice. In net both times for the Huskies has been senior goaltender Rob Nichols.

Nichols did it for the first time last season, shutting out Arizona State on the road 3-0, and blanking Maine 1-0. Nichols had a career-high 44 saves in the win at Maine.

This season, Nichols is getting off to just about the best possible start the Dallas native could ask for. He’s faced 44 shots in two games, turning all 44 away en route to two victories.

When asked about his first shutout on Friday, Nichols was quick to credit his defense.

“It was pretty quiet,” Nichols said. “The defense did a great job of containing them and keeping the pressure on so we had the puck and they didn’t. It was pretty easy for me back there.”

Junior defenseman David Drake insisted that UConn’s game plan gets a lot easier with a goalie like Nichols in net.

“I think we’re really stressing getting the puck out of our zone quick,” Drake said. “I think if we can keep moving the puck well, getting it out of our zone, we’ll have no problems there – especially with Rob [Nichols] behind us.”

In the 2015-16 season, Nichols played 29 games and ended the season with a .911 save-percentage and 2.93 goals against average.

“You always know with Rob you’re going to get his best game,” Drake said. “He’s confident back there, and when you need a save, he’s going to make it. It’s just what you expect from Rob, he’s a good goaltender.”

The Huskies have never had three-consecutive shutouts, but that’s what they’ll be aiming for when they travel to Colgate next Friday for their third game of the season. If anyone knows how to make history for this program, it’s Nichols.

Connor Donahue is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at He tweets @conn_donahue.