After a weekend of hard-fought Hockey East games against No. 9 Providence, the UConn men’s hockey team will move on to face No. 13 UMass Lowell. The two game series will start out in Lowell, Massachusetts at Tsongas Center on Friday, Nov. 18, with puck drop at 7:15 p.m. The Huskies will then travel home back to Connecticut to wrap up the series at the XL Center on Saturday, Nov. 19, with puck drop scheduled for 3:35 p.m.
In all-time matches, the Huskies are 7-10-2 against the River Hawks. Most recently, Connecticut has struggled against UMass Lowell, losing four out of five games against them since 2019.
UMass Lowell will come into this matchup with a 7-4-0 record. A player that has stood out for the River Hawks is junior goaltender Henry Welsch. He was named the Stop It Goaltending Goaltender of the Week by Hockey East. Welsch led the River Hawks to back-to-back shutouts against Vermont last weekend. During that series, he posted 36 saves to finish the perfect series of shutouts. He could be a key part to the River Hawks’ defense if he gets put in the net against UConn. Additionally, at the end of October, Scout Truman was awarded HEA Co-Rookie of the Week as he’s been an offensive weapon for the River Hawks. UMass Lowell has power on each side of the ice and the Huskies should be ready to attack that.
UMass Lowell is in the middle of an action-packed week, playing a match against Boston College on Tuesday and having the weekend set for UConn. This could either be an advantage or disadvantage for the River Hawks, as they could be run down or have built momentum from already having gameplay this week.
“We know the next couple of games here, starting with Providence, there is going to be a war,” said senior Husky Harrison Rees on the upcoming division matchups. “That’s what Hockey East comes down to.”
As for the Huskies, they have stayed near the top of the national hockey rankings this week after tying Providence in their two-game set. The USCHO Division I Men’s Ice Hockey Poll kept Connecticut at their No. 7 ranking. For UMass Lowell, they moved up three spots on the rankings, going from No. 16 to No. 13 this week.
A strength for the Huskies going into this match is how their freshman class has thrived in the new collegiate environment. Matthew Wood, Arsenii Sergeev, Jake Percival, Samu Salminen and more, have all found their groove early in the season for the Huskies.
“I think [the freshmen] feel very comfortable with the system of play and they are very comfortable understanding the expectations of our program,” remarked coach Mike Cavanaugh on the impact of the newest members of the team. “So in that aspect, you don’t look at them as freshmen now.”
Coach Cavanaugh also expressed that UMass Lowell is strong in playing in tight games with a one goal differential or less. That needs to be something that Connecticut is prepared for as they enter this weekend. This team has had a lot of success so far and they only look to keep grinding.
“Our team knows that we have a lot more skill and talent than we have had in previous years. Our program was built off of a blue collar mentality and working for everything we get,” Rees said on the team’s recent success. “Our talent has taken us to another level while having that blue collar mentality every day.”
Currently, Connecticut leads the Hockey East conference and UMass Lowell stands in fifth place. With the Huskies playing so well, starting their first stretch of the season hot, they are ready for another division battle with UMass Lowell. To tune in, both games in the weekend series will be streamed on ESPN+.