The No. 10 University of Connecticut men’s hockey team looks to continue its hot start to the season in a Thursday night matchup against Hockey East rival Boston College.
For the first time in program history, the Huskies are a top 10 team in the country. They can give credit to their hot start to the season for this feat, as Connecticut is 6-1-1 through eight contests so far. Along the way, UConn defeated two other ranked opponents, No. 11 Ohio State and No. 9 Boston University. After entering this season projected to finish seventh in the conference according to the preseason coaches’ poll, the Huskies have proven that their success in last season’s Hockey East tournament was no fluke, as the team currently possesses the top spot in the conference.
Connecticut is coming off of a two-game weekend series against the Boston University Terriers that saw the Huskies claim victory in Game 1 before losing the follow-up contest. In Friday’s game, Nick Capone got UConn on the board first with a goal in the first period. The Terriers pulled ahead 2-1 by the end of the period, but Ryan Tverberg managed an equalizing score on a power play in the second period. The Huskies pulled ahead when Tristan Fraser dunked home a rebound to put the Huskies ahead 3-2 early in the third period. BU tied the game on a power play of its own, and neither time scored again in regulation. However, it was early in the overtime period when Andrew Lucas scored on a one-on-three fastbreak to give UConn the 4-3 win.
Despite the fireworks of Game 1, Saturday’s Game 2 was a less close-knit battle between the two powerhouses. The Terriers outshot Connecticut 16-4 in the opening period enroute to a 1-0 lead. They then added a second score at the start of the second period, but a penalty kill allowed Tverberg to chip the lead down to 2-1. A power play enabled BU to score a third goal and regain the two-goal advantage by the end of the second period. Another goal early in the third period upped BU’s lead to 4-1. Though another score from Tverberg cut the lead back to two, the Terriers cemented the 5-2 victory with a final score on Connecticut’s empty net. For their efforts over the weekend, Tverberg, Lucas and Logan Terness were recognized as Hockey East top performers of the week.
Tverberg has continued to be the heart and soul of a strong UConn offense in the early going. So far this season, he’s tallied eight points on five goals and three assists. His five goals lead the Huskies, and his point total is tied for the team lead along with Lucas. His plus-minus of +4 is tied for second on the Huskies. Tverberg scored three total goals over the weekend tilt versus BU and was responsible for his team’s only points in the second contest. Utilizing his speed and quick movements to maneuver past defenders, Tverberg’s unique skill set has enabled Connecticut to create many opportunities with the puck. He’ll look to keep his offense rolling in the upcoming conference dual.
The Boston College Eagles, though not as highly ranked as some of their Hockey East peers, have gotten off to a hot start in their own right. They’re 2-1-1 through four total contests, but more importantly, their 2-1 record in conference matchups has them right behind the Huskies at second in the conference. This comes after the team was projected to finish fifth in the conference in the preseason coaches’ poll.
BC displayed a strong performance against No. 15 Northeastern on Oct. 18, resulting in a 3-3 score and the team’s one tie on the young season. The Eagles’ two victories have each come over New Hampshire by convincing scores: First 4-2 on Saturday and then 5-0 on Oct. 16.
Offensively, BC has been led by Colby Ambrosio so far this season A junior from Welland, Ontario, Ambrosio was drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fourth round of the 2020 NHL Draft. Ambrosio currently leads his team in points (five) and goals (three), is tied for first in plus-minus (+4), and is tied for second on the team in assists (two). He was responsible for scoring two of his team’s four goals on Oct. 15 against NH, and followed up the effort with another score in BC’s next contest against Northeastern. Ambrosio will be a focal point in the Eagles’ offensive attack in their upcoming tilt against Connecticut.
Connecticut has not had the best luck when facing BC in the past. In 21 contests from Nov. 5, 2014 to now, the Huskies have gone 5-14-2 when taking on the Eagles. However, UConn has seen more success recently, as it has won the last two contests between the two schools. Their last matchup came on Feb. 11, a game that Connecticut won of 6-4 in Chestnut Hill. The Huskies will hope their luck translates onto their home ice on Thursday.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from the XL Center in Hartford. The game will be streamed online with ESPN+, with live online stats being provided by StatBroadcast. Radio broadcast can is also available via the UConn Sports Network from Learfield-ESPN (97.9 FM station).