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UConn Men’s Hockey Weekend Preview: Merrimack

UConn only has three wins in 30 tries against the Warriors.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Live Updates- Saturday:

First Period:

0:00- and the game is on! Karl El-Mir, Maxim Letunov, Max Kalter, David Drake, Philip Nyberg and Adam Huska are the starters.

4:16- yay! First shot on goal goes to Joe Masonius.

7:21- Karl El-Mir goes off on a hooking call. Merrimack gets the first power play.

9:57- Mathieu Tibbet goes off for boarding and UConn has their first opportunity on the power play.

19:41- Jace Henning goes off for Merrimack, giving UConn their send power play (0-for-1).

20:00- end of the first and it ends scoreless. It’s very different than last time out.

Second Period:

0:00- and the second period is on! Huskies have 1:41 of power play time.

1:41- Hennig is out of the box and UConn is 0-for-2.

5:23- Chris LeBlanc gets called for hooking. UConn is back with the man advantage.

6:22- Evan Richardson shows off the hands and beats Collin Delia in the low slot on the power play. UConn up 1-0.

9:04- Merrimack (0-for-1) goes on the power play as Joe Masonius gets called for interference. 1-0 lead for the Huskies.

20:00- the story of the second was that UConn got the lead. Let’s see if Huska can help the Huskies to a win and a series win with it.

Third Period:

0:00- and the third period is on! 20 minutes to glory for UConn.

5:28- Spencer Naas tips in a Corey Ronan shot and it’s 2-0 Huskies.

6:41- Evan Richardson and Hampus Gustafsson head off on off-setting high-sticking calls.

10:04- Joe Masonius off on interference.

10:59- Merrimack scores on the power play after a scrum in front of Huska.

The goal is under review.

After a lengthy review, the call stands.

19:30- Ludvig Larsson scores through a scrum in front of the net.

20:00- off to overtime we go!

Overtime:

0:00- UConn goes from left to right in the extra session.

3:38- UConn gets an offensive zone draw after an icing.

5:00- it’s a final from Hartford.

Preview:

With four weekends to go before the end of the regular season, the difference between third place to 10th place in Hockey East is just six points.

Hockey East Standings (Top-10)

Team Games Played Record Points
Team Games Played Record Points
Boston College 16 12-3-1 25
Boston University 16 10-4-2 22
Vermont 14 8-5-1 17
Notre Dame 14 7-5-2 16
New Hampshire 14 6-5-3 15
UMass-Lowell 15 7-7-1 15
UConn 14 6-6-2 14
Providence 14 6-6-2 14
Northeastern 16 5-8-3 13
Merrimack 14 4-7-3 11

UConn Men’s Hockey broke their three-game losing streak last time out against No. 11 Vermont, getting a convincing 3-1 victory over the Catamounts.

The Huskies had lost their last five to Vermont and this was the first game between the two since UConn joined Hockey East that wasn’t decided by either one goal or a late empty-net tally.

With the win and the series split that comes with it, UConn moves within three points of third place Vermont.

While the Huskies are two points out from fourth place, and a first-round bye, they are just one point ahead of ninth place, which would mean playing the Hockey East tournament on the road.

They look to move closer to that first-round bye and away from traveling with a home-and-home series against Merrimack. The Warriors, three points behind UConn sitting at 10th in the standings, has been playing well coming into this weekend.

They’re only 3-2-0 in their last five games, but all three of those wins are against ranked opponents. Last weekend, Merrimack swept No. 1 Boston University with convincing 3-1 and 4-1 wins in the home-and-home.

Brett Seney (8-12—20) and Michael Babcock (4-3—7) each scored a pair of goals in the 4-1 win at Agganis Arena, while Jared Kolquist (2-7—9) registered an assist on each of Merrimack’s three goals in the series opener at Lawler Rink.

Seney is the team’s leader in points and assists. He is also second in goals to Hampus Gustafsson (10-8—18), who is second in points.

Drew Vogler and Collin Delia have split the time in net, with Vogler appearing in 18 games to Delia’s 10.

Delia started all three of Merrimack’s recent wins over ranked teams and has the better numbers. He has a save percentage of .931 and a goals against average of 2.04 in nine starts.

Vogler has a goals against average of 2.85 and a save percentage of .897 in 17 starts.

Merrimack’s special teams numbers leave something to be desired, giving UConn an advantage they will try and exploit.

Merrimack has the ninth-worst power play in the country, converting on only 13.5 percent of its chances. The Huskies have a top-10 penalty killing unit, killing 86.1 percent of their penalties.

While UConn’s power play (17.9 percent) isn’t a world-beating group, they still rank higher than the Warriors’ penalty kill. They have a 16th-worst 80.1 percent rate.

The key for the Huskies will be to force Merrimack to commit penalties. They score most of their goals in even strength situations and keeping their defense hemmed into their own zone will allow them to score goals.

The Warriors will look to contain Maxim Letunov (6-18—24), who has registered a point in each of the Huskies’ last three games (1-3—4) and has 11 points (2-9—11) in UConn’s last 10 games, dating back to December 9 against UMass.

Tage Thompson (17-8—25) has also had the scoring touch, scoring five goals in the six games he’s played since returning from the IIHF World Junior Championships. His 17 goals are good for sixth in NCAA, while his 25 points are tied for 33rd. Letunov is tied for 18th nationally assists.

Friday night’s game will begin at 7 p.m. at Lawler Rink in North Andover, Massachusetts with the series finale at the XL Center in a matinee at 3:05 p.m. Both games will be carried on WHUS 91.7 FM.