After suffering a 4-1 defeat at the XL Center on Wednesday night, the UConn men’s hockey team will travel to No. 11 Providence for a rematch with the Friars on Friday night. Providence has won the last four games against UConn, and holds a 5-1-2 advantage in the all-time series.
This time around, the Huskies (10-11-8, 6-7-4 Hockey East) will look to stop Vimal Sukumaran, the Providence freshman forward who scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season on Wednesday. UConn will also try to dial up the offense, as the only goal on Wednesday came when Karl El-Mir scored shorthanded.
Providence (17-8-4, 9-6-2 Hockey East) and sophomore goaltender Hayden Hawkey held UConn to just three shots in the first period of Wednesday’s game. The final shot total favored Providence 38-22, as the No. 11 Friars dominated for much of the game.
“One team played playoff hockey tonight and the other team didn’t,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “There’s not much to say about it. They beat us in all aspects of the game. They won battles. They won every stick battle, every battle against the wall. They outplayed us, plain and simple.”
Hawkey made 21 saves against UConn, and has had a stellar sophomore campaign. The goaltender has started every game for the Friars and is the owner of a 2.16 goals against average, good for third in Hockey East.
With just five games remaining in the regular season, the Huskies find themselves in seventh place in the Hockey East standings. UConn sits one point ahead of New Hampshire, but the Huskies and Wildcats will face off twice on the season’s final weekend. The top eight seeds in the conference will host a series in the Hockey East Tournament.
UConn is also just three points behind Notre Dame for the fourth seed in the conference, although the Irish have a game in hand. If the Huskies can get hot over the next five games and some of the teams ahead of them slip up, UConn has a small chance to get a first-round bye.
Meanwhile, Providence is comfortably in third place in Hockey East, four points out of second and seven behind Boston University at the top. The Friars finish the season against Notre Dame and UMass.
Puck drop for Friday night is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Schneider Arena.
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.