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UConn Men’s Hockey Weekend Preview: Miami (OH)

The Huskies leave New England for the first and only time in 2017-18.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Last weekend, UConn men’s hockey took one point out of a possible four in conference play against No. 7 Boston University, tying on the road, 2-2, before they lost 6-3 in their home opener.

While BU’s Bobo Carpenter stole the weekend with his five goals, including a hat-trick on Saturday, Husky defenseman Johnny Austin (1 goal-8 assists—9 points) continued his coming out party after scoring 10 points all of last season.

The senior defenseman has four multi-point games in six games, two of which came against the Terriers last weekend. He is now tied for second in Hockey East in points and is tied for sixth nationally. In assists, he is knotted with Ryan Lohin of UMass Lowell for second in the country as well as for the lead in Hockey East.

Alexander Payusov (6-2—8) grabbed two goals on the weekend and is now leading the country in goals in a tie with with three others, including Hockey East players Dylan Sikura of Northeastern and Max Gildon of New Hampshire.

Austin and Payusov and the Huskies are leaving New England for the first and only time of the regular season when they go to southwestern Ohio to take on the Miami (OH) RedHawks for the first-ever meeting between the two teams.

Miami (OH) is 1-3-0 on the year and all of their regular season games have come against Hockey East opponents in Providence and Maine. The No. 11 Friars swept them in Ohio before they earned a split with the Black Bears on the road at Alfond Arena.

Special teams will be a big key to the series. Whichever team can limit penalties will have the upper hand, as both the Huskies and the RedHawks have elite power play units but penalty killing leaves something to be desired.

Each of the squads are tied for fourth in the country with a 33.3 percent conversion rate, but UConn is 47th of 54 teams that have played a game in penalty killing (13-for-18) and Miami (OH) is not much better at 17-for-22 (35th), committing 19.25 penalty minutes per game, the fourth-highest total in the country. The Huskies are the second-least penalized team in the nation.

Defenseman Grant Hutton (5-2—7) leads the country in power play goals for the RedHawks at five and leads the team in points and goals. Gordie Green (2-5—7) is the only other player to score multiple goals and leads the RedHawks in assists.

Ryan Larkin has started all four games for the RedHawks in goal with a 4.29 goals against average and a .840 save percentage. He is owner of the fourth-worst goals against average in the country and the second-worst save percentage of the 67 goaltenders who have played 33 percent of their team’s minutes.

UConn (2-3-1) and Miami (OH) play two games at Steve ‘Coach’ Cady Arena, one on Friday and one on Saturday. Puck drop Friday is at 7:35 p.m. and Saturday is at 7:05 p.m.