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UConn Men's Hockey Preview: Get to Know the UMass Lowell RiverHawks

While the Huskies are trying to break an eight-game skid, the RiverHawks enter this weekend's series as the fifth-ranked team in the nation.

After more than a week off, the UConn men's hockey team will return to action for a home-and-home series against Hockey East rival UMass Lowell. The Huskies (3-10-0, 1-7-0 Hockey East) have fallen on hard times, losing eight games in a row since defeating then-No. 8 Boston University Oct. 27.

To end that streak this weekend, the Huskies will have to quell one of the hottest teams in college hockey. UMass Lowell (10-1-4, 6-0-3) enter the weekend ranked No. 5 in the nation. Nine games—seven wins and two ties—have passed since the RiverHawks' lone loss, a 2-1 defeat at Minnesota-Duluth.

The good news for UConn is it often finds success against top-10 teams at home. UML's lone appearance at the XL Center resulted in a 2-0 win for the Huskies.

UConn fans who can't make it to Sunday's game in Massachusetts will get a chance to see the Huskies play on TV. NESN's Tom Caron and Billy Jaffe will broadcast the game, which will air on NESN and SNY. WTIC 1080 AM will also carry a radio broadcast of the game.

Series Information

  • Game 1: Saturday, Dec. 5, 3:05 p.m. at XL Center, Hartford. Radio: WHUS 91.7 FM.
  • Game 2: Sunday, Dec. 6, 1 p.m. at Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass. TV: NESN, SNY. Radio: WTIC 1080 AM.

Get to Know UMass Lowell

  • Record: 10-1-4, 6-0-3 Hockey East
  • Against UConn: UMass Lowell leads all-time series 20-7-1
  • 2014-15 vs. UConn: Dec. 3, 2014 (at UMass Lowell): No. 7 UML 6, UConn 4; Dec. 28 (at Frozen Holiday Classic Final, Bridgeport): No. 7 UML 3, UConn 1; Jan. 10, 2015 (at UConn): UConn 2, No. 5 UML 0
  • Last Time Out: Tied 5-5 vs. Brown (in Belfast, Northern Ireland) — UMass Lowell just returned home from Northern Ireland, where it participated in the inaugural Friendship Four tournament in Belfast. After defeating Northeastern 3-2 in the semifinals, the RiverHawks tied Brown 5-5 in the championship. The game officially counts as a tie for NCAA purposes, but UConn killer Dylan Zink scored the lone goal of the shootout to claim the Belpot Trophy for UMass Lowell.
  • Best Result: Won 6-3 at Minnesota-Duluth — The RiverHawks have yet to see any of the other Hockey East powers, but they did pick up a nice win on the road against another top side. After falling in the first game at Minnesota-Duluth, the RiverHawks used a three-goal second period to separate themselves in the second game.
  • Player to Watch: Dylan Zink — Zink killed UConn last year, scoring two goals and posting a plus-3 rating in two wins for UMass Lowell. Now a junior, he was sorely missed in January, when the Huskies picked up a marquee win over the then-No. 5 RiverHawks. UConn will not have the luck of missing Zink this weekend. The reigning Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week has played in 14 games, scoring five goals and four assists with a plus-minus rating of 4.
  • Best Moment of 2015: On March 20, Vermont struck first at TD Garden, but UMass Lowell scored four unanswered as the RiverHawks topped the Catamounts 4-1 to earn a spot in the Hockey East Championship Game. UMass Lowell fell to Boston University 5-3 the next day.
  • Connecticut Connection: Ryan Dmowski — Dmowski hails from East Lyme, but joins the RiverHawks after playing in the USHL with the Des Moines Buccaneers. He was named the Rookie of the Year during the 2014-15 season, scoring 23 goals and registering 16 assists in 57 games. Prior to joining the Buccaneers, Dmowski played three seasons at The Gunnery Prep in Washington, Connecticut. He posted 37 goals and 21 assists in 87 games.

Prediction

This has been a difficult stretch for UConn, but it has to end eventually. The Huskies have had more than a week off since falling to Boston College at home last Tuesday. UML has had to travel to and from another country while also playing two difficult games in two days.

The Huskies need to get a win this weekend, but even getting one point is better than the results UConn has been seeing lately. UMass Lowell has allowed the sixth fewest goals in college hockey this year. For a team struggling for offense, that does not bode well for UConn. But the Huskies tend to rise to the occasion at home.

  • Game 1: UConn 2, UMass Lowell 2
  • Game 2: UMass Lowell 3, UConn 0