It will be the Huskies facing off against the Huskies Friday night when the UConn men’s hockey team travels just a bit north to take on No. 15 Northeastern. Both teams lost their last times out as UConn fell in overtime to Vermont while Northeastern took a tough 4-1 home loss to Boston University.
Junior goaltender Adam Huska was named the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for his performance against Vermont. Huska recorded his first shutout of the season last Friday while knocking away a season-high 39 pucks. Huska carries a 2.49 goals against average, a .924 save percentage and is 3-2-1 on the year.
Northeastern has historically dominated this matchup, winning all 10 contests against UConn, up until last season. Then last year, the tides shifted and UConn swept the season series from their Husky counterparts. UConn won in 4-1 fashion in front of a home crowd last November for their first win in school history against Northeastern before beating them in a 4-2 nailbiter in Boston later that season.
Alexander Payusov has gotten off to quite an offensive start this season as he leads not only the team, but the entire conference in goals scored (8). The junior forward has only needed 18 shots to score eight times, with three goals coming on the powerplay. UConn will rely on his offensive efficiency once again as he and alternate captain, Ben Freeman, are the lone UConn skaters to score in last year’s series and return for this year’s.
Jachym Kondelik has been one of the reasons for the early success of Payusov and a number of others. The freshman has made an early impact in Storrs as he leads the team and the conference in assists (10) while also leading all rookies in scoring. Kondelik is riding a six-game point streak that he will take into Friday’s matchup.
Northeastern (4-3-1, 1-1-0 Hockey East) is coming off a season that saw them claim the second spot in Hockey East and an appearance in the NCAA tournament. In order to finish better than fourth, as chosen by the conference coaches in the preseason, the Huskies have relied on goaltender Cayden Primeau. The current sophomore carries a .911 save percentage and a 2.60 goals against average, a bit down from his .937 and 1.79 marks respectively from his freshman campaign. Junior Grant Jozefek has lead the way offensively for Northeastern. The junior has a team-high eight points by way of six goals and two assists, on pace to greatly surpass his totals from a year ago (seven goals, nine assists).
Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night with NESN covering the Hockey East battle.
Kevin Arnold is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.