Last weekend, the UConn men’s hockey team played a pair of road non-conference games and emerged with a split, winning in come-from-behind fashion against American International College to begin the weekend. However, they couldn’t retain the magic, as they fell to Sacred Heart the following evening.
Alexander Payusov (4 goals-1 assist—5 points) has already exceeded his point total from his freshman campaign largely because of his hat trick on Friday night, which was capped off by a very nice wraparound goal.
Here's why the sixth goal got me all yelling. Payusov! pic.twitter.com/tZMNjWYV2z— Angry 1999 Banner (@Angry99Banner) October 14, 2017
He is tied for the early-season points lead with line-mate Karl El-Mir (2-3—5), who scored what proved to be the game-winning goal on Friday. Their line, centered by Maxim Letunov, was on the ice for five of the Huskies’ seven goals on the weekend.
Johnny Austin (0-5—5) is one off the national pace in assists as well. He is tied for third in the nation and second in Hockey East.
Austin and UConn take on No. 7 Boston University (2-2-0, 0-0-0) this weekend in a home-and-home series this weekend as part of Hockey East play.
In last year’s matchups, the Huskies narrowly lost at home on Friday to the then-No. 5 team in the nation before winning 4-0 for Adam Huska’s first career shutout when the series shifted to Commonwealth Avenue.
The Terriers welcomed in Minnesota State for a weekend series last time out and were beaten soundly in two games, 6-3 on Friday and 3-0 in the finale on Saturday.
However, it is very likely that result is just a blip on the radar and coach David Quinn will have the Terriers ready to go against the Huskies. Jake Oettinger, Jordan Greenway and Patrick Harper were all on Team USA in last year’s IIHF World Junior Championship and Dante Fabbro was on Team Canada. They have the firepower, they just had an off weekend.
Harper (4-2—6) leads Boston University in points as well as holding fifth place in Hockey East. He is tied with Shane Bowers (4-0—4) for the goals lead. So far, the two of them have been carrying the mantle, with Greenway (1-1—2) and Fabbro (1-0—1) being the only other players to light the lamp through four games this season.
Chad Krys (0-3—3) and Brady Tkachuk (0-3—3) are pacing the Terriers in assists.
In goal, Oettinger has spent all but 51 seconds between the pipes and has a 2.71 goals allowed average, inflated by the six-goal performance by the Minnesota State offense on Oct. 13. He has a save percentage of .914 as well.
Through the early going, the Terriers are 5-for-19 on the power play and have killed 11 of their 15 penalties. UConn is 6-for-18 with the man advantage and 11-for-13 on the penalty kill. They are fourth in the nation on the power play.
The series gets going on Friday at Agganis Arena in Boston at 7:30 p.m. and completes with a 5:05 p.m. puck drop at XL Center on Saturday. Both games will be broadcast on WTIC 1080 AM.