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When UConn and Boston College faced each other for the first time ever earlier this season, Rob Nichols made 35 saves for a shutout win in front of over 8,000 fans at the XL Center. That 1-0 victory came with the Eagles ranked third in the country, it was the second loss in what became a four-game losing streak for BC.
Unfortunately for UConn, the Eagles have since returned to their winning ways. Going into tonight, BC has won seven of their last nine including a 2-1 home win over Merrimack on Tuesday and a 4-2 win over Boston University last week. USCHO.com described Merrimack as "being territorially outplayed" despite losing by just one goal.
Sophomore forward Chris Calnen leads BC in goals with 11 on the season, including four game-winners. The Eagles also boast two of Hockey East's top-scoring defensemen in Noah Hanifin and Teddy Doherty. Goalie Thatcher Demko was drafted by the Vancouver Canucks with the 36th overall pick in the 2014 draft- the first goalie off the board. His 2.08 goals against average (GAA) is 22nd in the country, but eighth among goalies with over twenty starts and third among Hockey East goalies with over 1000 minutes played. Last time out against UConn, he was bested by former teammate Evan Richardson on a power play for what would be the deciding goal of the game.
For UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh, this is his first game at Boston College as the opposing head coach. He faces a tough test having to follow a tough loss with a road date against one of the best teams in the country. The Huskies' first season as members of Hockey East has had its highs and its lows, but losing so badly to Notre Dame after tying them on the road had to have been a major disappointment.
Offensively the Huskies have been led by two freshmen, Kasperi Ojantakanen and Spencer Naas have been leading the team with seven points each in eight games since returning from winter break. Naas saw a five-game goal-scoring streak end on Sunday against Notre Dame, but still has scored in six of the past eight games and is second among freshmen in Hockey East.
Despite the Notre Dame loss, this UConn team has proven to rise to the occasion against some of the best teams in the country. With wins over Quinnipiac, Vermont, Union, and UMass Lowell in addition to the upset against BC, the Huskies have a remarkable number of wins against ranked teams considering their overall performance this season. Hopefully with six days between games and Mike Cavanaugh's familiarity with Boston College, the Huskies can keep it close and maybe even skate away with an unexpected win. It wouldn't be the first time the #icebus surprised us.