To put it simply, the UConn men’s hockey team did not look good Wednesday night. A quick look at the box score explains the story perfectly. No. 11 Providence outshot the Huskies 38-22 on the night, including a first period where UConn was outshot 17-3 despite being on the power play twice. The Friars won the faceoff battle 40-29, eliminating any sort of momentum the Huskies could muster up.
UConn had an extremely tough time breaking out of their own zone Wednesday night against a very tough Providence team that had no problem throwing the body around.
“Every good team is going to do that. We knew they were going to finish checks,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “Vermont finishes checks, Lowell finishes checks, Merrimack finishes checks. It was probably the worst we broke the puck out all year long part of that was because we’re jumpy when we get the puck. But it was more [Providence] outskating us than them being physical. They won races to loose pucks and they won battles.”
A glaring problem with the Huskies on Wednesday night was their power play. UConn went 0-6 with the man advantage and only mustered four shots on net.
Providence head coach Nate Leaman explained why the Friars’ penalty kill was so impressive Wednesday night, crediting his goaltender Hayden Hawkey.
“We caught a break with [Maxim] Letunov being out sick. He’s an impact player and we caught a break with him being out of the lineup tonight,” Leaman said. “[Hawkey] had to be on his game tonight. I thought he did a good job. Your best penalty killer has to be your goaltender and he was tonight. Especially on [UConn’s] later power plays. When they made their push in the second he made a couple big stops.”
On the other side of the ice, Cavanaugh echoed Leaman when breaking down how efficient Providence was on the penalty kill.
“[Providence] won a lot of face offs, so that means they got icings which kills of 20 seconds of your power play,” Cavanaugh said. “We didn’t get pucks to the net. I think we were a little too cute.”