Men’s Hockey: Huskies head into two game series with New Hampshire

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The Huskies won 3-1 against Brown, with 2 goals from freshmen Jonny Evans. Their next home game is this Friday 11/16 against UMass Lowell. (Photo by Eric Wang/The Daily Campus)

UConn hockey will face off against the University of New Hampshire this weekend in back-to-back games Friday and Saturday.

The Huskies (7-14-1) have been struggling lately, losing 10 of their last 12 games. Most of those games were during their extended road trip, but UConn has a nice home stretch coming up to turn that around.

UNH (8-8-7), on the other hand, has put together an impressive stretch of games. UNH is 5-2-2 in their last nine games. Both teams find themselves battling for position in the daunting Hockey East, and while these teams aren’t necessarily in must-win territory, they are pretty dang close to it.

UConn’s offense is highly reliant on its two offensive stars Alexander Payusov and Karl El-Mir, who account for 22 of the team’s 53 goals this season. Last game against Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, which the Huskies lost 5-2, neither scorer found the back of the net. In fact, they combined for only three shot attempts. The key to UConn’s offense is to get their best scorers going, opening up shots for everybody else.

RPI was able to shut down UConn’s best scorers and, ultimately, the offense. UConn outshot RPI, but still managed to lose the game handily 5-2. This is because RPI challenged the Huskies at the point of attack and didn’t let them get any clean looks off.

UConn will have to run plays that get Payusov and El-Mir the puck in space to get shots on the goal and demand attention from UNH’s defense. That’ll open up scoring opportunities for the rest of the team.

UNH has been able to put together their impressive stretch of matches by playing stellar defense. They shut Dartmouth out and held Merrimack to just one goal. UConn played Merrimack two weeks ago and surrendered five goals in a losing effort.

UNH’s improved defense as of late will pose problems for UConn, who have struggled to find the net. It will be up to the Huskies to start strong and hit the defense hard early to find an advantage.

The first game will be a home game for UConn Friday at the XL Center. The second will be in Durham, New Hampshire. Both games will begin at 7 p.m.


Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sean.janos@uconn.edu.

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