Through his first 95 games in a UConn uniform, senior forward Jesse Schwartz had modest production, with 23 points on five goals and 18 assists. Lately, he has exploded and his last eight, he has six goals and three assists.
“I think I’m just sticking to my game,” Schwartz said of his increased production. “I’ve improved through all four years.”
Schwartz has really turned it on during the Huskies’ 3-1-0 stretch over the past four games, with seven points (4 G, 3 A), contributing a point in all four games.
“He went a whole year without scoring. It’s no magic secret, he’s been putting in the work,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “He’s coming down in the morning and working extra with Tyler Helton and Joe Periera and working on scoring and it’s been paying off.”
Before his goal against No. 17 Ohio State on Nov. 10, he had a goal-less streak spanning 49 games going back to Jan. 23, 2016 in the game against No. 4 Boston College and had not registered a point in his last 20 contests dating back to last season.
“Whenever he can contribute like that it really helps our team,” senior alternate captain Spencer Naas said.
For Schwartz, a Toronto native, all it took was lighting the lamp once to ignite a streak that has spanned four weeks.
In just seven games, he equaled his 95-game goal points total and he has developed into a big part of the offense, getting on the scoresheet for seven of the Huskies’ 12 tallies over their last four games. He has been playing strong defensively as well.
To begin the year, Schwartz was playing mostly on the wing, but since the Nov. 10 date with the Buckeyes, he has played exclusively center and been one of UConn’s most dependable face-off men. He’s leading the team in face-off percentage among players who have taken more than 40 draws, winning 59.2 percent of the time, and is fifth in wins, with 71.
“If you’re two-way player, it’ll take you a lot farther then if you’re one way,” Schwartz said. “Doing the little things and being a complete player is where I get my pride from”
Schwartz has awoken in November and it has been paying dividends for UConn.
“He’s playing great hockey right now,” Naas said. “You can tell that he’s got some confidence now and making some good plays so hopefully he can keep that up.”