Men’s Hockey: Start up the Ice Bus!

UConn battles Boston University in a home game last year. They return to the XL Center for the first time this season to play Maine (File Photo/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s hockey team will play their first and second home games of the season this weekend against the University of Maine.

The Huskies (2-2) are returning from a four-game road stretch in which they won two and lost two. The most recent loss came in a game against No. 5 Providence College (3-1-1) in which UConn surrendered seven goals.

In fact, through those four games, the Huskies have surrendered 14 total goals. If UConn truly wants to establish itself as a “hockey school,” they’ll have to play much better defense. Giving up 3.5 goals per game isn’t going to cut it against the nation’s top teams.

UConn’s most recent win was against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (0-3) by a score of 3-1. Three third-period goals, two of them from junior forward Alexander Payusov, propelled the Huskies to their second victory of the season. Payusov has scored a team-high four goals and one assist this season.

It’s been a full team effort for the Huskies on offense this season. Eight different players have scored through the team’s four games, and 11 of the team’s 12 freshmen have made their debut.

Maine (2-2) is coming off of back-to-back road losses to No. 3 University of Minnesota Duluth (4-1-1). Though they lost the first game of the two by six goals, they managed to play a good second game.

After surrendering three goals in the first two periods, Maine started to battle back by scoring two of their own to cut the deficit to one. It wasn’t enough though, as the game went final at 3-2.

Though the Huskies’ defense has been their weak point this season, Maine doesn’t necessarily have the scariest offense. While 2.75 goals per game isn’t bad, it’s still manageable for UConn’s defense to handle.

Last season, UConn and Maine played two games in which they split. Both games were decided by one goal. With both teams posting 2-2 records so far against similar levels of competition, odds are we will have two more close ones this weekend.

Friday’s game will start at 7 p.m., and Saturday’s at 3 p.m. at the XL Center.