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UConn Men’s Hockey Weekend Preview: Ohio State

The Huskies are on the road once again for two games with the No. 14 Buckeyes.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Men’s Hockey squandered an early lead at UMass on Friday despite scoring two goals in the first 3:05 of the game. The Huskies had to settle for a 2-2 tie at the Mullins Center.

After a week off, the Huskies (3-2-4) continue their five-game road trip in Columbus, Ohio to face No. 14 Ohio State (5-1-3) of the Big Ten Conference. This is the first-ever matchup between these two programs.

Ohio State had a home-and-home with Robert Morris last weekend, losing at home 6-2 in the opener before battling to a tie on Saturday, 4-4.

The Buckeyes scored first in the opener but the Colonials scored five unanswered goals, two on the power play, to coast to an easy win. Ohio State went 0-for-5 on the power play while Robert Morris converted on both attempts with the man-advantage.

On Saturday, the Buckeyes jumped out to a 2-0 lead before the Colonials scored two straight to tie the game. Ohio State scored two more goals off the stick of John Wiitala to take a 4-2 lead. Robert Morris got one back before the end of the second on a penalty shot and tied it up with a short-handed goal with less than five minutes left in the game.

Freshman forward Tanner Laczynski leads the Buckeyes in points (3-9—12) and is tied for the lead in assists, which he shares it with two others, sophomore forward Dakota Joshua (1-9—10) and senior defenseman Josh Healey (0-9—9). Nick Schilkey, a senior forward, leads the team in goals (8-2—10).

The Buckeyes have three senior goaltenders that have seen time. Matt Tomkins has seen most of the time in goal, playing in eight of their nine games. He has a .900 save percentage and a goals against average of 2.64. Christian Frey has gotten the start in the remaining game, with a GAA of 3.01 and a save percentage of .906 in one start and one relief appearance. Logan Davis hasn’t allowed a goal in 21 minutes across two games, facing six shots.

Ohio State has a prolific offense, scoring 40 goals in nine games (4.44 goals per game, third nationally), to go along with a top-15 power play unit, converting on 20.9 percent of their chances. However, the Buckeyes have the 54th-ranked penalty kill out of the 60 Division I teams in the country, killing only 75.0 percent of their penalties.

UConn might be able to take advantage of this, having scored a power play goal in each their last five games, despite the lack of efficiency (5-for-21, including 1-for-9 against AIC). UConn is also 11th best in the country at killing penalties (89.1 percent).

The Huskies are also one of the better overall defensive teams in the country, allowing 22 goals in nine games (2.44 goals against, 14th nationally).

Friday night’s tilt will have a puck drop of 7:00 p.m. while Saturday’s matchup will begin at 4:00 p.m.