Last weekend was a whirlwind for the UConn men’s hockey team, grabbing three points against the No. 12 ranked team in the nation at the time, UMass Lowell. This weekend is no different as the Huksies go up against the No. 12 team again, Providence, in a home-and-away series.
UConn (3-5-2, 2-3-1 Hockey East) played extremely well last weekend, despite coming off of a horrendous two-loss, 11-1 aggregate score weekend against Boston College. Carrying those performances into this series is crucial. If they can beat two ranked teams in a row, now we can start talking about a potential post-season run.
Providence (6-4-2, 4-3-1 Hockey East) is an offensive juggernaut, with the second-most goals scored in the country (47) and the fifth-most scored per game (3.92). They are lethal on power plays, with 15 power play goals, which is something to watch throughout the series as UConn struggled on power plays for much of the year.
UConn, has the eighth-worst defense in the country, giving up 3.2 goals per game, which is bad news for the Huskies considering the kind of offense they’re up against: an offense that dropped seven goals on Maine, the No. 3 ranked team in the conference, and beat BC 6-2, the team that minimized UConn to the size of a zygote just weeks ago. This weekend has the potential to be wild, and I am here for it.
Despite Providence’s potent offense, it isn’t the best on the defensive side of the puck either. Coming into the weekend, they have given up 2.75 goals per game and have taken some harsh losses in the process. Just last Saturday, they lost to Northeastern 7-3, so expect a plentiful amount of goals this weekend.
One of the many reasons their offense is so scary is their front three forwards, who have accounted for 23 of their 47 team goals. Providence’s Jack Dugan, Tyce Thompson and Greg Printz have been essential to their success.
Dugan leads the nation in points and assists per game, as he has racked up 21 assists and five goals through 12 games. His 21 assists lead the nation by eight, with Arizona State’s James Sanchez pulling up in second with 13. Dugan, a Las Vegas Golden Knights fifth round pick in 2017, is averaging 2.17 points per game this year as well.
Thompson is right there behind him with 19 points, the second-most in the country, as he has added nine goals and 10 assists on the year. His nine goals puts him tied for first in the country in scoring, alongside Printz.
Printz is a prolific goal-scorer, with nine as well, and has added five assists to go along with it. Printz has also scored on 28.1% of his shots, a crazy number for a forward.
Their goaltender is no slouch either. Despite allowing 30 goals this season, he also has 320 saves, which is the fifth-most in the country. He also sports a .914 save percentage, so he’s one to watch as well.
Providence’s largest downfall is its defense, allowing 30 shots per game, which is something UConn can exploit. However, its offense more than makes up for it. This series has incredible future implications. If UConn wins, it could be a strong contender. If it loses, it may be back to a season of mediocrity.