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UConn Men’s Hockey Preview: No. 17 Ohio State

A good weekend against the Buckeyes could go a long way for UConn.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

On Tuesday, UConn men’s hockey went up to Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts and took a loss to Boston College, 2-1, continuing a streak of weak special teams play in a stretch that has saw them win one game in their last eight tries (1-6-1).

Senior forward Jeff Wight (3-2—5) scored the lone goal against the Eagles and has scored goals in two of the Huskies’ last three contests. Benjamin Freeman (1-3—4), Miles Gendron (1-4—5), Justin Howell (1-1—2), Maxim Letunov (2-7—9) and Kasperi Ojantakanen (2-4—6) all had two-game point streaks broken on Tuesday.

The road for the Huskies does not get any easier, as they have a weekend series with the No. 17 Ohio State Buckeyes at home this weekend.

Ohio State (5-3-2) was swept last weekend by No. 10 Notre Dame and those losses broke a six-game unbeaten streak (4-0-2) that spanned back to the first weekend of play.

This series is the return for UConn as they headed out to Columbus, Ohio last year. The Huskies lost Friday’s game 7-4 after taking a 4-2 lead when Brian Morgan scored his second goal of the year at 13:23 of the second period. Ohio State scored five straight starting less than a minute later, capped off by an empty-net goal with 11 seconds remaining in the contest. On Saturday, the two teams tied, 3-3.

The Buckeyes see their scoring come from Mason Jobst (5-5—10) and Tanner Laczynski (3-7—10) lead the team in goals and assists, respectively. They are tied for the team lead in points as well.

Sean Romeo has started all 10 games in net for Ohio State and has a sterling goals against average, allowing just 1.82 goals per 60 minutes, good for 10th in the country among goaltenders that have played 33 percent of their team’s minutes. His .918 save percentage is 25th in Division I.

Helped by Romeo’s numbers, the Buckeyes are tied for seventh in goals allowed per game, at 1.90. This is much better than UConn’s 3.36, which is 48th out of 60 teams.

The Buckeyes are weaker offensively, scoring 2.40 goals per game. This is evident in their weak power play, fourth-worst at 4-for-43. However, the penalty kill is elite, at 33-for-36. Comparatively, the Huskies are 10-for-46 (24th) with the man advantage and 31-for-43 (eighth-worst) with a player in the penalty box. It will be strength-on-strength on special teams, despite UConn’s recent woes.

UConn and Ohio State will begin their series on Friday at the XL Center at 7:05 p.m., with Saturday’s finale coming at 3:35 p.m.