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Game Preview and Thread: UConn @ Penn State, pt. 2

After a late tie against the Nittany Lions, the Huskies look to secure a win on Saturday

Hannah Foslien

The UConn men's hockey team was less than a minute from an impressive opening-night victory Friday when David Goodwin deflected the puck past Bobby Nichols to save a tie for Penn State.

Saturday afternoon, the Huskies will again be on the ice at Pegula Ice Arena, looking for a win against the Nittany Lions before Hockey East play begins next weekend.

UConn looked good in its first game of the season, a 2-2 tie Friday night. Patrick Kirtland opened the Huskies' 2014-15 scoring account with a second-period goal to give UConn a 1-0 lead. Penn State tied the game four minutes later on a penalty shot from Tommy Olczyk.

With five minutes to play, freshman Johnny Austin gave the Huskies a 2-1 lead with his first career goal, linking up with freshman Spencer Naas, Austin's teammate at Benilde St. Margaret High School in Minnesota.

Austin and defenseman partner Joona Kunnas led the Huskies with a plus-2 rating. In net, Nichols stopped 33 shots.

Going into Saturday's game, head coach Mike Cavanaugh has made a couple minor alterations, as is to be expected in a weekend series. The top three offensive lines remain unchanged. On the fourth line, Jeff Wight and Corey Ronan remain in the rotation, but Jesse Schwartz will sit out in favor of Brad Smith.

Defensively, the Austin-Kunnas pairing is the only one that remains unchanged and moves up to the No. 1 position on the line chart. Kyle Huson, who played with Tyler Cooke Friday, will pair with Jacob Poe today in the second pairing. Cooke will be a scratch Saturday. His replacement, freshman Derek Pratt, will make his UConn debut as Ryan Segalla's defensive partner.

Penn State also made some alterations from last night's tie, but goaltender Matthew Skoff remains between the pipes. He stopped 26 shots Friday night.

As it was Friday night, Saturday's game is part of the Big Ten/Hockey East Challenge. UConn-Penn State is one of two games on the schedule today. No. 3 Providence is in Columbus, Ohio looking for revenge after Friday's 5-4 loss to Ohio State.