The UConn men’s hockey team was defeated on Friday by UMass in Amherst, 4-2. It didn’t have to wait long for redemption, as the teams meet again on Tuesday, this time on the Huskies’ home ice.
UConn currently sits at 6-11-2 overall, with a 4-7-1 record against Hockey East conference opponents, tied for sixth place in the conference. The Huskies hold just a three-point lead ahead of UMass (3-3-0 in conference play), despite playing twice as many conference games.
Friday’s loss snapped a three-game winning streak for UConn and a streak of four-straight games allowing one goal or less. The Huskies were done in by a disastrous second period in which defense crumbled against the UMass attack. The Minutemen scored three unanswered goals in the second period, all even strength, and could’ve added more had UConn goaltender Adam Huska not made 15 saves in the period.
UMass has now won three games straight, beginning with a sweep of Quinnipiac last week. The Minutemen boast one of the more electric offenses in the conference, second in Hockey East with an average of three goals per game. They do, however, have the lowest power play percentage in the conference, capitalizing on only 12.7 percent of chances.
Three Minutemen are tied for the team lead in goals at six, with freshman standout Oliver Chau at the top in points due to his team-leading eight assists. UMass head coach Greg Carvel has elected to split time evenly in net between two goalies, but he’ll likely ride the hot hand of Ryan Wischow, whose .921 save percentage is fourth-best in Hockey East.
The Huskies are glad to have sophomore Alexander Payusov back after missing nine games with a knee injury. Payusov scored in both of his two games since returning, leading the team with eight goals. Junior Max Letunov has been a passing maestro as of late, with an assist in each of the past three games.
The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. at the XL Center.