UConn men’s hockey (2-5-1, 1-2-1) left New England last weekend, heading up to Ohio to face the Miami (OH) RedHawks. A touch more than nine minutes after the linesman dropped the puck on Friday evening at Steve ‘Coach’ Cady Arena, the RedHawks were up 3-0 and well on their way to a shutout victory, with the Huskies taking just 19 shots on goal.
Saturday did not go any better. Miami (OH) put 16 pucks on Adam Huska in the first 20 minutes and scored five goals in the final 20 minutes, with UConn grabbing only a shorthanded goal in between while they suffered a 7-1 defeat.
The Huskies were within striking distance in the series finale, down one goal headed into the third period, but an early even-strength goal compounded by a pair of power play goals by the RedHawks put the game out of reach.
“We couldn’t get out of our defensive zone,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We spent so much time in our defensive zone that we didn’t have any energy left to play offense.”
UConn’s typically disciplined style as one of the least-penalized teams in the country failed them, aided by a game misconduct by Derek Pratt, they gave up four goals on 28 shots across 11 penalties on the weekend.
Miami (OH) held a strong UConn attack to an 0-for-7 weekend with the man advantage.
The Huskies are back in New England for the rest of the season and they resume Hockey East play this weekend when they host Vermont (2-4-1, 0-0-1) for a pair of games at the XL Center.
The Catamounts and Huskies split their home-and-home series last year with the Huskies playing catch-up after Vermont got a 3-0 lead early in Burlington on their way to a 5-4 Catamount win. The following weekend at the XL Center, the Huskies got their win with a 3-1 victory.
The Catamounts opened Hockey East play last weekend in their lone contest when they tied No. 14 New Hampshire at home, 4-4.
Ross Colton (5 goals-0 assists—5 points), who had a goal and an assist in Vermont’s win last year, leads the team in goals so far this season and is tied for second in points with Matt O’Donnell (3-2—5). They are one point behind Craig Puffer (3-3—6) who is in a five-way tie for the assists lead.
Stefanos Lekkas has been the only goaltender between the pipes for the Catamounts. He is fifth among Hockey East goaltenders with a 2.83 goals against average and also owns a .916 save percentage.
Vermont is 6-for-30 on the power play this season, an average unit at 28th in the country out of 60. The Huskies are slightly better, at 9-for-34 after a rough weekend with the man advantage against Miami (OH).
Vermont’s penalty-killing unit is elite, at 10th in the nation (88.6 percent). This strength-on-strength could play a large factor in who gains an advantage. UConn’s performance a man down, hampered by the RedHawks’ 7-for-11 power play weekend, is fourth-worst at 69 percent.
UConn and Vermont kick off the series on Friday evening at 7:05 p.m. and close it out at 3:35 p.m. the following afternoon.