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Preview: UConn Men’s Hockey at No. 12 Vermont | TV: NESN, 6PM

The Huskies head into a big game against a ranked opponent.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Live Updates:

First Period:

0:00- and the game is on! Adam Huska begins the game in net and Derek Pratt and Wyatt Newpower are the defensive pairing, with Brian Morgan, Max Kalter and Corey Ronan the forward line.

4:46- we are in a review. UConn feel as though the scored, but the refs initially said no.

No goal.

7:49- Vermont goal. Mario Puskarich and Ross Colton combined to forced a turnover just inside the blue line and while Huska got a piece of Puskarich’s backhander, he didn’t get enough. 1-0 game.

17:06- The Catamounts strike again. Puskarich gets an assist, shoveling it to Matt Alvaro who was on the doorstep. 2-0 No. 12 Vermont.

20:00- two turnovers led to two Vermont goals. No. 12 Catamounts lead 2-0 after the Alvaro/Colton/Puskarich line scores both tallies.

Second Period:

0:00- UConn looks to score for the first time in over 80 minutes as they are now down two goals on the road to the No. 12 team in the nation.

2:28- Jarrid Privitera makes it 3-0. He takes a one-timer from the right face-off dot and gets his seventh of the year.

4:02- Thompson breaks the scoring drought! He takes a pass from Miles Gendorn and buries it right in front of the net, breaking a scoring drought of 84:59.

4:14- Now UConn goes on the power play. Momentum is really on their side here.

4:48- Karl El-Mir! He makes it a one-goal game, shoving in a pass from Evan Richardson.

9:34- David Drake gets the gate for interference. Vermont gets their first chance on the power play.

9:53- back to a two-goal game. Brian Bowen deflects a Brady Shaw shot from the center point. 4-2 Vermont.

11:37- Chris Muscoby gives UConn power play opportunity number two after a hold. 4-2 Catamounts.

14:57- Miles Gendron is in the box. Vermont is 1-for-1 tonight with the man advantage.

20:00- Huskies head into the break down 4-2.

Third Period:

0:00- and the period is on! 20 minutes for UConn to make a comeback.

2:39- thank you sir, may I please have another? Tage Thompson gets his second of the night and it’s 4-3!

14:55- an impressive goal on the rush by Matt Alvaro. His second of the night makes it a two-goal game.

18:43- with the extra skater, UConn scores! Max Kalter steals the pass up the boards from the goaltender and Maxim Letunov puts the puck in the net. 5-4 game.

20:00- no game-tying goal for the Huskies. 5-4 final, No. 12 takes the win.

Preview

The UConn men’s hockey team had an up-and-down weekend. On Thursday, the Huskies rode a dominating 2-for-3 power play performance to a 6-3 victory over Maine.

Spencer Naas (12-2—14) scored in his fourth straight game, Tage Thompson (14-8—22) scored two goals, and things were looking up.

Saturday wasn’t so good, however. When the series shifted to Fenway Park, the power play magic wasn’t there and the Huskies were shut out for the first time in nearly a year in a 4-0 loss.

With 11 games left, UConn is in the middle of a tight race for an elusive top-four spot and the first-round bye in the Hockey East Tournament that comes with it.

Just seven points separate the top seven teams in the conference. Boston College had a stranglehold on the conference lead, but thanks to a sweep at the hands of Boston University, they are now just three points up on the Terriers, who have two games in hand on the Eagles. The top seven look like this:

Hockey East Standings

Team Games Played Record Points
Team Games Played Record Points
Boston College 13 9-3-1 19
Boston University 11 7-2-2 16
UMass-Lowell 11 7-3-1 15
Vermont 12 7-4-1 15
New Hampshire 10 6-2-2 14
Notre Dame 11 6-4-1 13
UConn 11 5-4-2 12

Merrimack holds the final hosting spot, with Providence just one point behind. Maine, Massachusetts and Northeastern are tied for 10th at five points.

This makes UConn’s game on Friday against No. 12 Vermont (15-7-2, 7-4-1) a game with big implications on the conference standings. The Huskies are three points back of the Catamounts and have a game in hand.

Vermont comes into this game after an away series with Providence. The Friars and Catamounts split the two games, with Vermont winning Friday’s opener 4-3. Providence came back to earn the split on Saturday, winning 4-1.

Saturday’s loss ended a winning streak of five games for Vermont, which included a win over Northeastern and a weekend sweep of Bentley.

Vermont has one of the more prolific offenses in the nation, as the Catamounts 3.33 goals per game ranks 12th in the country. Their power play is more middle of the road, however, ranking 25th and converting on 18.6 percent of their chances.

Vermont’s defense matches its offense. The 86.1 percent penalty killing percentage ranks 13th and the Catamounts allow just 2.50 goals per game, the nation’s 18th-best mark, slightly ahead of UConn’s 2.76.

Colton Ross (9-9—18) leads the Catamounts in goals and points and is second on the team in assists to Derek Lodermeier (4-11—15).

Vermont is a balanced scoring team. No one has hit the 10-goal plateau on the year but eight players have scored five goals and 10 players have registered 10 points on the year.

Freshman Stefanos Lekkas has gotten the majority of the starts in net for Vermont, starting in 18 games and appearing in relief of Mike Santaguida once.

Lekkas has a goals against average of 2.26 to go along with a save percentage of .919. He has a GAA of 2.36 in conference play, which is seventh in Hockey East. He is also seventh in save percentage in Hockey East games at .913.

As for the Huskies, they hope to avenge a 0-4-0 record against Vermont last season, three of which by one goal and the fourth decided by a late empty-netter. They played a two-game series and then also were matched up in the first round of the Hockey East Tournament, which UConn hosted at the XL Center.

UConn and Vermont will get going at Gutterson Field House in Burlington, Vermont at 6 p.m. on Friday. The game will be carried on NESN across New England and can also be followed on WHUS 91.7 FM.