The UConn men’s hockey team is coming off their best weekend of the season. The Huskies (5-6-6, 3-3-2 Hockey East) beat No. 7/9 UMass-Lowell 3-2 on their home ice on Friday, before playing them to a 2-2 tie at the XL Center Saturday afternoon.
“We’ve had a little success against (UMass-Lowell) and our kids started believing we can beat them,” UConn head coach Cavanaugh said. “I don’t know if I have a real answer for it, we match up pretty well against them. I’d like that to be the case with a lot more teams, like Geno [Auriemma] does, he does well against everybody.”
To try to keep the momentum going before heading into a three-week break, UConn will take on Massachusetts Friday night in Hartford. In the Hockey East standings, UConn sits three points ahead of the UMass, at sixth and eighth place, respectively, making Friday night’s game important to both teams.
The Minutemen (4-8-2, 2-6-1 Hockey East) are coming off a very strong weekend of their own, splitting a home weekend series with No. 13 Notre Dame. In Friday’s 5-4 win, UMass went 3-4 on the power play, well above their 13.5 percent conversion rate on the season. The Minutemen have only played three road games so far, going 1-2-0 including a tough loss at No. 7/8 Quinnipiac.
UConn and UMass played in early November this year, as the Huskies went on the road to earn a 2-2 tie. In that game, Maxim Letunov and Miles Gendron each scored a goal to put the Huskies up 2-0 just three minutes into the game. UMass battled back with a strong final two periods in which they outshot UConn 22-7, scoring a goal in the second and a goal in the third to record the tie. UConn freshman Adam Huska made 23 saves in the game and the Huskies committed eight penalties.
Sophomore forward Austin Plevy leads the Minutemen with five goals and ten points on the season, and junior Dominic Trento leads the team with seven assists. Freshman goaltender Ryan Wischow has started 10 of 14 games, recording a 0.909 save percentage and a 2-4-2 record.
For the Huskies, Tage Thompson leads the team with 18 points on 10 goals and eight assists. This week, Thompson and Huska were each named to the World Junior Championship preliminary rosters for their respective countries.
The puck drops between UConn and UMass at 6:30 p.m. on Friday night at the XL Center.
Josh Buser is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.