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UConn Men’s Hockey Weekend Preview: No. 4 UMass Lowell

The Huskies look to get back in the win column against a foe they have had success against in the past.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Live Updates- Saturday

First Period

0:00- and the game is on! Same starters as last night. Letunov, Freeman, Thompson up front, Pratt and Newpower on defense and Huska in goal.

7:43- Evan Richardson off for hooking. Lowell is 0-for-16 with the man advantage in their last three games.

9:27- Joe Gambardella off for holding the stick to kill the remainder of Richardson’s penalty. UConn gets 1:44 of power play time.

11:27- back to five-a-side. Still tied in Hartford.

14:07- I like the edge to Benjamin Freeman’s game. CJ Smith hit Huska and he did not hesitate, taking Smith to the ground with a nice tackle. Smith to the box and UConn on the power play.

20:00- end of the first period, UConn is tied 0-0 with No. 4 UMass-Lowell.

Second Period

0:00- and the second period is on!

3:44- Lowell gets their second power play of the game, they’re 0-for-1. Joe Masonius off for holding.

5:44- Masonius is out.

6:33- Spencer Naas! He scored on the breakaway. 1-0 UConn leads No. 4 UMass-Lowell.

8:18- Maxim Letunov off for hooking.

8:25- that was quick. Michael Kapla ties the game. 1-1 deadlock.

14:05- John Edwardh took a nice pass from below the goal line and beat Huska short side. 2-1 Lowell.

18:57- tie game! Credit may change, but I saw Karl El-Mir tip in a Masonius shot. 2-2!

20:00- end of the second period. UConn and Lowell are tied at 2-2.

Third Period

0:00- 20 minutes left of regulation. UConn and Lowell tied, 2-2.

3:47- John Edwardh off for holding to give the Huskies a power play.

11:04- the momentum is there for the taking after the media timeout. Let’s see who takes it in a tie game.

17:05- UConn takes their timeout.

20:00- end of regulation! Overtime on deck.

Overtime

0:00- UConn will head left to right in the five-minute extra session.

5:00- nothing can separate the two teams.

Live Updates- Friday

First Period

0:00- Maxim Letunov, Benjamin Freeman, Tage Thompson the forwards, Derek Pratt and Wyatt Newpower the D-pair, Adam Huska in net for the Huskies.

1:57- Spencer Naas gets the UConn goal on a centering pass from Justin Howell. 1-0 UConn.

5:34- Colin O’Neill give credit for the game-tying goal for UMass-Lowell. The shot from the right circle may have been tipped by a stick. 1-1 tie.

12:03- Good night for Huska so far. Already with nine saves, some of which have been pretty impressive. 1-1 tie here in Lowell.

12:20- Tage Thompson forced a turnover just inside center ice and Wall got most of the puck but it still got behind him for a Husky goal. 2-1 UConn leads.

15:37- Colin O’Neill scores his second of the period and it’s tied again, 2-2.

20:00- a back-and-forth period ends in a tie.

Second Period

0:00- the second period is on! UConn and Lowell sit at a 2-2 tie.

0:46- Evan Campbell off for the first penalty of the game- a slash.

2:46- nothing doing for the Huskies, a weak effort on the power play.

3:29- Jesse Schwartz off for holding.

5:29- UConn kills it off and looked the better unit during the man advantage.

9:06- UConn gets another power play. Tyler Mueller off.

10:32- Tage Thompson! Letunov makes a nice feed and the sophomore knows what to do with it. 3-2 UConn.

17:41- Lowell gets too many men on the ice.

17:44- the power play lasted three seconds. Brian Morgan off for interference.

20:00- end of the second. UConn leads the No. 4 team in the nation, 3-2.

Third Period

0:00- and the third period is on!

7:24- Colin O’Neill off for interference.

9:24- UConn cannot find a fourth goal on the power play.

14:05- Lowell has really won this period, but no goals to speak of so far. UConn takes their timeout with a one-goal lead.

15:07- Pratt gets called for boarding. Could have easily been a major, but just a minor.

17:07- UConn kills it!

18:09- Jesse Schwartz to the box. Lowell takes their timeout. This is it. 3-2 UConn leads.

20:00- UConn is able to hold on against the No. 4 team in the nation.

Preview

UConn Men’s Hockey (4-6-5, 2-3-1) is coming off a rough week, with losses to both No. 4 Boston College and Sacred Heart at home.

Through six conference games, the Huskies have five points, currently tied for sixth place in Hockey East with No. 6 Boston University (7-4-1, 2-1-1) and Merrimack (6-6-3, 1-2-3).

The Huskies turn their focus this week to the No. 4 River Hawks of UMass-Lowell (8-4-2, 4-2-0), for a home-and-home weekend series. The River Hawks are currently sitting at third place in the conference and lead the all-time series at 20-9-1.

Both games this weekend will be on WTIC 1080 AM and WHUS 91.7 FM.

UConn got its first Hockey East weekend sweep against Lowell last year, putting the end to an eight-game losing streak.

Saturday afternoon’s win last year was not pretty but resulted in a 4-3 victory for the Huskies over the then-No. 5 team in the nation. Tage Thompson got the game-winner for UConn with seven minutes to go.

The teams headed up to Lowell, Massachusetts for a matinee on Sunday. UConn was down 1-0 after 40 minutes but scored two goals in the third for a comeback win.

It was the first time UConn had won when trailing after two periods under coach Mike Cavanaugh. Thompson netted the game-winning goal yet again for the Huskies.

This year, the River Hawks head into the series after a weekend series with Notre Dame. Like the Huskies, they split their series with the Irish at Compton Family Ice Arena.

Thursday saw the top-15 teams combine for eight penalties, but no power play goals. The River Hawks were 0-for-6 with the man advantage, but got a 4-1 win behind two goals from C.J. Smith.

There were nine penalties on Friday, and still no goals on the man advantage. UMass Lowell was 0-for-5 on the evening and the Fighting Irish won 4-1.

The River Hawks have a high-powered offense, scoring 3.42 goals per game and even with the 0-for-11 weekend on the power play against Notre Dame, still has a top-10 unit on the man advantage, scoring on 22.7 percent of their opportunities (ninth in the country).

They’re also boasting strong face-off numbers, winning 54.2 percent, good for eighth in the nation. UConn wins only 46.3 percent of its face-offs, putting them at 51st in Division 1 out of 60 teams.

Joe Gambardella (7-12—19) is a senior forward to watch. He leads the team in points and assists and is second in goals. Junior forward C.J. Smith (9-8—17) leads the River Hawks in goals and is second in points. Gambardella is tied for 11th nationally in points and Smith is not far behind, sitting in a seven-way tie for 18th.

The Huskies will most likely see appropriately-named freshman goaltender Tyler Wall in net. He has played in 12 of the River Hawks’ 14 games, starting 11. While he was pulled after Notre Dame’s fourth goal in their last game, he does have a shutout on the year, against Colorado College. He has a 2.09 goals against average (14th in the country) and a .921 save percentage.

Wall, like freshman goaltender Adam Huska, is a New York Rangers prospect. He was selected in the sixth round of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Puck drop on Friday night at Tsongas Arena in Lowell, Massachusetts will come at 7:15 p.m. and the return meeting in the XL Center will begin at 3:35 p.m. on Saturday.