The UConn men’s hockey team will take a three-game winning streak, its longest of the season, into Amherst Friday night. The conference showdown with UMass will be broadcast across New England on NESN.
UConn is fresh of a 4-1 upset of No. 12 Northeastern. The Huskies got out to a hot start, posting three goals in the first period, and rode a stout defensive performance the rest of the way.
UConn has been riding the hot hand of Jesse Schwartz. The senior finished November with six goals and two assists and has registered a point in each of UConn’s last three games.
UMass sits at the nine spot in the Hockey East standings, but is coming off a sweep of Quinnipiac.
Senior Niko Rufo and freshman Oliver Chau split the bulk of the scoring load for the Minutemen. The two have a combined 12 goals between them. Those contributions are extremely valuable for UMass due to how often their offense has to pick up the defense.
UMass has one of the more efficient offenses in Hockey East, averaging 2.92 goals per game. Only Northeastern, New Hampshire and Providence score more often.
The Minutemen trend in the opposite direction on the other end of the ice. Letting up an average of 3.00 goals per game, UMass ranks eighth in Hockey East in scoring defense.
It’s not Ryan Wishchow’s fault however. Wishchow ranks fourth in the conference in save percentage, saving shots at a .920 clip. It’s when UMass turns to Matthew Murray in net the Minutemen seem to drop of. The freshman goaltender has played in eight games for UMass this season with a .894 save percentage. Wishchow has only started five games so far this season.
Regardless of who is stopping the puck for UMass, it is fair to say UConn will have the edge in the net.
Sophomore goaltender Adam Huska is in the midst of a dominant stretch. In his last six games, Huska has backstopped UConn to a 3-2-1 record with a 1.65 goals against average. His .935 save percentage over those six games would rank second in Hockey East if extended over the course of the entire season.
UConn and UMass will drop the puck at 7:00 p.m. at the Mullins Center and on your television sets.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com.