Following the Connecticut Ice 2022 Tournament, the UConn men’s hockey team will enter the final 10 games of the regular season this weekend.
The tournament served the Huskies well in preparing for the final stretch of their season, playing against Yale University and Quinnipiac University last weekend and coming out victorious over Yale. Heading into the next pair of games, UConn has 120 minutes of hockey to play that are equally important. Not only are Providence College and the University of New Hampshire both Hockey East teams, but No. 7 UConn has the opportunity to upset the No. 4 Providence Friars, or to be upset by the ninth-ranked UNH Wildcats.
On Friday night, UConn will open its weekend of play against Providence College to play the second of a two-game series. Earlier this season, the Huskies played on the Friars’ home ice and settled for a 4-6 loss and they will be hoping to split the series with a win.
Hartford is the last stop on a Providence road trip after playing Massachusetts-based teams. Most recently, the Friars traveled to Boston University where the Terriers beat them 5-2. Two days before that, Providence headed to Amherst to play the University of Massachusetts and came out with a 2-1 win.
The previous weekend, Providence had a home-and-home series against Boston College. In Chestnut Hill, the Friars scored seven goals to the Eagles’ none. In their return to their home ice at the Schneider Arena, they were able to win the series but not without a fight. Boston College matched their goal, keeping it a 1-1 game to go into overtime until Providence won the shootout to make it a 2-1 final score.
Going into Friday night, the Friars are 17-10-2 on the season and 8-8-1 in Hockey East. They seem to play better in Rhode Island, where they first played UConn this season, with their home record being 9-3-1. Based off their 7-6-0 record on the road, the XL Center alone might pose a challenge to the Friars if the pattern continues. UConn has similar records in both home and away contests, so the venue may have a stronger effect on Providence than the home team.
While the scores haven’t been particularly consistent, the Friars have won with at least two goals over their various recent opponents. UConn shortly had a scoring drought, though after it finished a weekend pair of games against UNH, it may be drawing to a close.
Saturday night, UConn concludes the three-game series against UNH by skating up to Durham. As of now, the series is still up for grabs by either team. UNH won its first matchup 3-1, but UConn came back the next night to win the second game 3-2 in overtime. The Huskies haven’t played the Wildcats on their home ice yet this season, as both previous games took place at the XL Center.
Before UConn, UNH had its own home-and-home series against Boston College. Unlike the Friars, the Wildcats had an easier time sweeping the Eagles. UNH held BC to only two goals each night: 3-2 and then 5-2. Following both series against UConn and BC, the Wildcats’ record is 12-11-1 and 6-8-1 within Hockey East. On Friday night, while the Huskies and Friars battle it out, the Wildcats will meet Merrimack College in Andover. Come Saturday, UConn and UNH will likely both be warmed up well to take the ice and fight to win the series.
Friday’s game at the XL Center kicks off at 7 p.m. against Providence College and will be broadcast on NESNplus. On Saturday, the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. at the Whittemore Center in Durham, New Hampshire, with streaming available through SportsLive.