Coming off an intense, split weekend against the University of New Hampshire, the UConn men’s hockey team is right back in action on Tuesday, Jan. 25 to host Merrimack College.
Due to COVID-19, both programs decided to reschedule the series, which was previously slated on Dec. 3 and 4 of 2021. Instead, they will now play during a spaced-out stretch where the teams meet in January and then again in February.
UConn takes the ice on Tuesday on a high note as they finished the weekend with a win over UNH, 3-2 in overtime on Saturday. They had started the series with a 1-3 loss to the Wildcats. This puts their record at 10-10, with a Hockey East conference record of 7-6-0.
Before Saturday, the Huskies were “in a funk,” according to head coach Mike Cavanaugh. The team struggles with scoring as of late, putting up a single goal in each of the three games they played prior to the UNH series.
As for Merrimack, the Warriors are currently on a five-game winning streak. This past weekend, they swept University of Massachusetts Lowell in a home-and-home series, scoring three goals each night. During the weekend prior, the team played at home and then traveled to Providence, R.I. to play Providence College. The Friars were also swept both nights, as the Warriors beat them by a goal at both rinks. On the Saturday before Providence, Merrimack hosted Bentley and outscored them 4-1.
The Merrimack Warriors are also members of the Hockey East conference, boasting an overall record of 12-10-1 and a 7-7-0 conference record. They are currently ranked fifth in United States College Hockey rankings, while UConn sits at seventh.
The last time these teams faced each other was almost a year ago on Jan. 30, 2021. The Huskies routed the Warriors 6-2 in Storrs at the Freitas Ice Arena after scoring six goals the previous day on Merrimack’s home ice in North Andover, Mass. for the sweep. During the 2019-2020 season, the Huskies were only able to put up two goals in two games to lose both, after winning 3-2 in the season opener in Massachusetts.
Cavanaugh noted issues on offense over the span of recent games, relying on goaltender Darion Hanson to put up a strong defense along with rookie Logan Terness to get in the net for a game against American International College. Ahead of Tuesday, Hanson has made 519 saves this season and allowed 48 goals with a save percentage of 91.5%. In Terness’ collegiate debut, he allowed three goals and made 28 saves on the night, earning himself a save percentage of 90.3% based off his first game.
The goaltenders, as well as the starting lineup, have yet to be determined. Cavanaugh stated in the past that the game roster is decided upon after the last practice before the upcoming game. Unless a player is suspended, the team doesn’t usually announce the lineup. Regardless, the coach said this weekend that “I have comfort in a lot of the lines we play.” So, the Huskies will look within their depth to start a winning streak tomorrow over Merrimack.
The XL Center in Hartford lights up the ice at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. The game will be streamed on SportsLive with free access.