The UConn men’s hockey team hopes that a return to home-ice will help right a ship taking on water. The Huskies will welcome conference rival Vermont to the XL Center this weekend for a two-game series.
The Huskies (2-5-1) are fresh off a disastrous road trip in which they were outscored 10-1 by Miami over two games and have gone winless in their last five games. This weekend will only be UConn’s second and third games on home-ice.
UConn has developed a bad habit of starting games slow, giving up 15 combined goals in the first period this season.
The Catamounts come into the weekend sporting a 2-4-1 record. Vermont goaltender Stefanos Lekkas is currently ranked sixth in Hockey East with a 2.83 goals against average.
Vermont is also carrying two players that know how to put points on the board. Forwards Brian Bowen and Ross Colton each finished the season last year with 27 points and have 8 combined points in the early season.
Converting on the power play will be crucial to the Huskies’ success this weekend. They are currently third in Hockey East with the man advantage but went 0-7 on the power play against Miami. With much of their goal scoring coming from the power play, look for the Huskies to force Vermont into penalties.
Sophomore forward Alexander Payusov is pacing UConn’s offense with six goals and two assists. Senior Johnny Austin is commanding the Huskies’ blue line with nine points on eight assists and a goal.
After posting a 2.87 goals against average in his freshman season, Goaltender Adam Huska’s sophomore campaign is off to a rough start. His 3.38 GAA this season is 11th in Hockey East. Huska has been doing his best to keep UConn in games, but a leaky defense isn’t doing him any favors. The Huskies are letting up an average of 3.75 goals a game. Only Merrimack has let in more in Hockey East.
UConn and Vermont will get the weekend series started on Friday with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop before winding it back for a rematch on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. These two games are the first of seven that will be played at home in November.
Bryan Lambert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.