Set to take it to the road up north this weekend, the UConn men’s hockey team is gearing up for their second Hockey East series of the season against Vermont. Both of the games will take place at Burlington, Vermont. The series will open on Friday, Nov. 3, puck drop is at 7 p.m. and it will close on Saturday Nov. 4 starting at 6 p.m.
The Ice Bus is coming off a split series against UMass Lowell; they earned their first win of the season in the Hockey East conference in the opening game through an overtime thriller. Junior Chase Bradley and senior Andrew Lucas were the offensive anchors as they scored both the equalizer and the overtime winning goal for the Huskies. UConn came out of this game firing and ready to battle; they added consistent pressure to UMass Lowell, and it ultimately led them to coming out on top. However, the Hockey East foes split the series as the River Hawks blanked the Huskies in the series finale.
Recently, the Ice Bus has been heavily reliant on their freshman and sophomore players who have scored five of the nine goals they have this season. This will be the Huskies seventh and eighth game on the road this season, as they only had two home games so far, so they are quite used to the away matches. For the Huskies, freshman Jake Richard has led the way with two goals and five assists totalling seven points.
Vermont is entering this series with a 1-2-1 record and 0-1-1 in conference play. The Catamounts have yet to earn their first Hockey East win so they are definitely going to come into this series against UConn with the mindset to get back into the win column. However, they played a very competitive series with Providence this past weekend and did step up to the occasion. It will definitely be interesting to see how this weekend pans out against the Huskies who are hungry for wins.
“It’s always tough playing up at the Gut [Gutterson Fieldhouse] and we’ll definitely have a big challenge ahead of us,” said head coach Mike Cavanaugh on playing Vermont this upcoming weekend.
This Huskies team has been struggling with a recurring theme with being unable to score goals. They have earned wins but it has not come easy and with a tough Hockey East schedule on the horizon, they need to light a spark on offense. Despite the slowed offense, UConn has shown resilience and a fight within their team to the point where they never back out of the game.
“It wasn’t because we lacked grade-A opportunities,” said Cavanaugh. “I wish I had an answer for it but I don’t. I keep telling the kids to stay the course because eventually they will start going in.”
“We have had great practices this week. As disappointed as I think some of us are with the record we’ve had right now, we’ve played really well. I can’t honestly say that there was a game this season where I was like ‘We just did not really play well,’” Cavanaugh said.
UConn came away with victories in both of the two games it faced off against Vermont last season and it looks to keep that pattern alive. The Ice Bus will travel up to Vermont for a two game series against the Catamounts. The series will open on Friday, Nov. 3 at 7 and the last game will follow on Saturday. Both of the games will be available to stream on ESPN+.