The first of a two-game home-and-home series between UConn men’s hockey and Boston College is set to start tonight in Hartford. UConn is in the midst of a five-game losing skid and will look to right the ship when their Hockey East rival takes the ice at the XL Center for the 10th installment of their all-time series.
The Eagles hold an all-time record of 6-2-1 over the Huskies that includes two wins in three games a season ago. The only game UConn took from BC came at the tail-end of a seven-game losing streak in a 5-3 victory over the Eagles at home last February. The Huskies could repeat history as they have not beaten a Hockey East opponent in their last six matchups on top of their current five-game losing streak.
Last time out, the Huskies lost to the then No. 3, now No. 1, UMass Minutemen with a 7-4 final score. Freshmen remain the story of the season as rookie Kale Howarth scored the first two goals of his college career in the loss while classmate Ruslan Iskhakov dished out a career-high three assists. The freshman class as a whole leads the team in scoring with 39 points (11g/28) behind Jachym Kondelik’s 13 points (1g/12a). Kondelik is second in Hockey East and eighth nationally in scoring amongst rookies while tied for first in assists (12) in the conference.
It is safe to say this has not been the season BC was expecting to have. Coming into the season as the favorite to finish first in the conference, the Eagles started 0-5 before defeating Merrimack 4-1. Since then, BC has gone 4-1-1 and most recently defeated intra-city rival Boston University 4-0 and then tied 0-0 in a two-game series last weekend. Overall, BC sits at 4-6-1 with a 4-1-2 record in the conference heading into Thursday night.
Junior David Cotton has lead the offensive unit for the Eagles this season. With 10 goals and five assists, Cotton is tied for the conference lead in goals and sits in fifth for points. Cotton has been efficient on the power play this season. Playing a man up, Cotton has found the back of the net three times while assisting on another.
Joseph Woll will be the man in net for BC against the Huskies and will look to continue his impressive year. The junior thus far is first in Hockey East in both goals against average (1.14) and save percentage (.963) while only allowing seven goals in nearly 370 minutes in net. In comparison, UConn’s Adam Huska is tenth and ninth in each respective category (26 goals, 503 minutes).
Beyond the history between the two teams, Thursday’s opponent is a familiar one for head coach Mike Cavanaugh. Before taking over the program at UConn, Cavanaugh spent 18 seasons at BC as an assistant coach and helped lead the program to four national titles (2001, 2008, 2010, 2012). On the flip side, former member of the UConn hockey team and former assistant coach Brendan Buckley returns as a member of the BC coaching staff under head coach Jerry York.
Student tickets are free for tonight’s Hockey East matchup with puck-drop set for 7 p.m. Students can claim a free bus ticket for transportation to and from the game at the Student Union Info Center and will be greeted at the gate with a camo bucket hat giveaway.
Kevin Arnold is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.