The UConn men’s hockey team returns home to the XL Center on Friday riding their longest win streak in 15 years and looking to make it seven in a row against No. 20 Boston University.
It’s a difficult matchup but that hasn’t been an issue for the Huskies as of late. Of the six-straight victories, three have come against ranked opponents, with wins over No. 10 Providence, No. 16 Boston College and No. 11 Northeastern.
With its recent dominance, being tied for the longest active win streak in the country, UConn (14-16-2) has improved to 10-11-1 in Hockey East play. That puts UConn at fifth place in the conference standings, tied with Maine. With just two games remaining on the regular season slate, Friday’s matchup will be crucial.
It’ll be the third meeting between the Huskies and Terriers this season. The teams skated to a 2-2 tie in Boston back on Oct. 20 in their first meeting, and BU came out on top the next day in Hartford, 6-3. Those games, however, were played in the midst of a five-game winless streak for the Huskies. They’ve been a different team lately, and certainly have momentum on their side.
A large reason for UConn’s recent success has been the play of senior goaltender Tanner Creel. Creel had the undesirable task of stepping in for injured star goalie Adam Huska but has been fantastic, starting seven straight games with a 6-1 record and a .919 save percentage in that span. Creel is fresh off a season-high 34-save victory against Northeastern, a performance which earned him a Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week award.
The focal point on defense for UConn will likely be shutting down BU’s Bobo Carpenter, who leads the Terriers with 17 goals. Carpenter has already scored five goals against the Huskies in two games this season.
There’s some good news for the UConn defense; Boston will be without one of their best forwards in Jordan Greenway, who is currently in PyeongChang representing Team USA at the Olympics.
Boston University (15-12-3 overall, 10-7-3 HEA) currently sits at fourth place in Hockey East, just two points ahead of UConn, making this a matchup with significant implications. The Terriers, like UConn, are coming off a meeting with Northeastern, though unlike UConn, BU took the loss, 2-5.
Interestingly, the Terriers have been a far better team on the road this season than at home, compiling a 9-4 record away compared to just a 5-6-3 mark on their home ice. We’ll see if that trend continues on Friday in Hartford.
The significance of the game won’t be the only reason emotions will be running high: Friday’s game also marks the annual Senior Night. A total of nine seniors will be honored with their parents before the game.
The puck drops at 7:05 p.m. at the XL Center on Friday.
Andrew Morrison is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at email@example.com. He tweets at @asmor24