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UConn Men’s Hockey Series Preview: No. 11 Providence

The Friars come in as winners of seven straight and have rocketed up the standings as of late.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Live Updates-Friday:

First Period:

0:00- and the game is on! Spencer Naas, Tage Thompson and Kasperi Ojantakanen are the forwards to go along with Derek Pratt and David Drake on defense. Rob Nichols starts in goal.

6:20- that was a weird sequence. Brian Morgan drove to the net and from the press box it didn’t look like it went in or was even close, but the refs decided to review it anyway and it did indeed sneak under Hayden Hawkey. Jacob Bryson also goes to the box for hooking on the play.

8:20- Huskies power play looked much better than they did last night.

8:34- Erik Foley gets behind the UConn defense and Nichols can stop him once, but he can’t stop him twice. A rebound goal makes it 1-1.

14:27- this thing is much more even than Wednesday. 12-to-7 in shots right now, favoring Providence. UConn had six shot ATTEMPTS in the first 20 the other night.

16:49- Bryan Nelson off for hooking. 1-1 game in Providence and the Huskies held them off the first time.

17:56- Josh Wilkins takes a hook of his own.

20:00- much, much better from UConn tonight.

Second Period:

0:00- and the period is on! Let’s see if UConn can take the momentum.

0:29- well that didn’t take long. Spencer Naas lights the lamp on another net drive after a long pass from Tage Thompson.

2:15- Jesse Schwartz to the box for hooking.

4:10- Brian Pinho scores on the doorstep on the power play and it’s a 2-2 tie.

7:30- just a general observation. If Rob Nichols isn’t on his game tonight, UConn has no chance, this game is not tied and they are likely down four or five.

14:03- Erik Foley was robbed at first, but the refs go to replay to get it right. His wraparound makes it 3-2 Providence.

16:04- Brian Morgan to the box.

18:04- He is out.

20:00- that got really dominant, really fast. UConn scored a goal, but got a grand total of five shots on net. Providence leads in shots by a wide, wide margin (40-to-13).

Third Period:

0:00- and the third period is on! UConn rolling with their starters and the first few minutes will really show what kind of team this is.

0:36- Josh Wilkins gives UConn and early shot. He heads to the box for hooking.

2:36- a couple good chances, but nothing doing for UConn.

2:58- Austin to the box for hooking.

4:58- nothing overly dangerous for Providence, or at least anything worse than they were doing five-on-five. 3-2 Friars with just over 15 minutes left.

6:35- UConn gets a power play thanks to a Vincent Desharnais trip.

7:42- tie game! Brian Morgan gets his second of the night and it’s 3-3!

10:49- Josh Wilkins gets a penalty shot and it is saved by Nichols!

12:36- Derek Pratt heads to the box for high-sticking. This could be the linch-pin in the game.

13:04- Providence jammed in a goal. Erik Foley gets credit for it, it was his third of the night and I don’t think anyone noticed.

13:32- Spenser Young to the box.

15:32- Spenser Young out of the box.

18:53- UConn takes their timeout. Face-off is coming outside the zone. Nichols stays in the net.

20:00- and the second period is too much to overcome. Providence gets their ninth win in-a-row.

Live Updates- Wednesday:

First Period:

0:00- and the game is on! The forwards are Brian Morgan, Benjamin Freeman and Evan Richardson to go along with Joseph Masonius and Johnny Austin on defense. Adam Huska is in goal.

0:27- Providence gets a goal. It was announced as Robbie Hennessey who tipped in a Jake Walman shot but my guess is that will change.

1:41- UConn on the power play thanks to Byran Lemos. He gets called for hooking.

3:41- Lemos is out of the box with not much happening for the Huskies.

10:56- Jesse Schwartz to the box to ruin some momentum for the Huskies.

12:56- He is out, Providence is 0-for-1 with the man advantage tonight.

15:10- Tage Thompson gets hit with a slash.

17:10- nothing going for the Friars. They have not looked great in two chances.

19:29- turnovers are bad and the Huskies just learned that. Providence has a 2-0 lead thanks to Scott Conway.

20:00- that was really bad. Providence is up 17-to-3 on shots and 2-0 in goals. Huska didn’t really have a chance at either.

Providence’s first goal was also changed to Brian Pinho from Jake Walman, so I was correct.

Conway was also credited with an assist on the second goal, with Vimal Sukumaran taking credit for the goal. They must have ruled he got stick as well as skate on the puck.

Second Period:

0:00- and the period is on! UConn got three shots on goal in the first 20, one of which was from the neutral zone. Let’s see if they can do better.

3:33- Ryan Tait goes off for roughing. UConn is 0-for-1 on the power play tonight.

5:33- only one shot on the power play. They do not have it tonight, for whatever reason.

7:30- Vincent Desharnais off for tripping. UConn just hasn’t looked good in two chances but they get a third here.

9:30- that one was passable. 0-for-3 and still down 2-0 to No. 11 Providence.

15:04- Providence gets their third shot on the power play thanks to Tage Thompson’s slash.

15:43- signs of life by UConn. Karl El-Mir takes a pass from Max Kalter who forced a turnover in the neutral zone. 2-1.

17:04- Thompson is out of the box. Providence looked atrocious as UConn gets their best offensive chances of the night down a man.

20:00- I have no clue what happened, but I bet Cavanaugh hopes they keep doing it. 2-1 Providence after 40 minutes and the Huskies have some life. Corey Ronan to the box to start the third period, but UConn got their goal that way so you never know.

Third Period:

0:00- and the third period is on!

2:13- Vimal Sukumaran gets the third goal for Providence in a scrum, diving at the loose puck to tip it in. 3-1.

2:49- too many men for Providence. Niko Rufo to serve. Huskies look to punish them for their mistake.

4:49- Rufo is free. 3-1 Friars.

7:37- Scott Conway had all the time in the world. Took a shot, collected his own rebound, deked out Huska and scored. 4-1 Friars.

16:43- Scott Conway gets called for interference.

19:43- Vimal Sukumaran gets called for elbowing.

20:00- final. That could have been UConn’s worst performance that I’ve seen. 4-1 score.

Preview:

UConn Men’s Hockey failed to earn a win in two eerily similar 2-2 ties against Merrimack on Friday and Saturday. The Huskies are still in line to host a first round series in the Hockey East tournament, currently sitting at seventh, three points back of a first-round bye.

Hockey East Standings (Top-10)

Team Games Played Record Points
Team Games Played Record Points
Boston College 17 13-3-1 27
Boston University 17 11-4-2 24
Notre Dame 16 8-5-3 19
UMass-Lowell 17 9-7-1 19
Providence 16 8-6-2 18
Vermont 16 8-6-2 18
UConn 16 6-6-4 16
New Hampshire 16 6-7-3 15
Merrimack 16 4-7-5 13
Northeastern 17 5-9-3 13

The teams from third through 10th, separated by just six points, will continue to do a lot of shuffling over the final three weekends. This week’s biggest mover, No. 11 Providence, is UConn’s opponent this week.

The Friars are arguably the hottest team in Hockey East, as they come into the XL Center winners of seven straight games, three of which were over ranked opponents: at home against No. 12 Vermont and a home-and-home sweep over No. 5 UMass-Lowell. They also swept New Hampshire on the road and Maine at home.

During the Friars’ run, they have out-scored teams 14-6 in the third period and have seen goals from all four lines and three defensive pairs.

Seventeen Friars skaters have registered at least a point and all but two of those players have multiple points. Brian Pinho (7-19—26) leads the team in points and assists and has done so as well during the streak. He has seven points (2-5—7) in Providence’s last seven games and nine in their last eight (2-7—9), scoring in all but one of those contests.

Josh Wilkins (10-13—23) is tied for the lead in goals with Erik Foley (10-13—23). Wilkins has six points (2-4—6) in their last seven games, second on the team.

Haden Hawkey has started all seven games in net and he will likely get the nod for the Friars again on Wednesday, as he has played all but 14 minutes between the pipes this year. He allows 2.20 goals per game and has a save percentage of .911 on the season, 2.56 and .902, respectively, in conference play.

Over the last seven games, he has a GAA of 2.14 and a save percentage of .917.

Like UConn, Providence is much better at killing penalties than on the power play. They kill of 85.5 percent of their penalties, 12th in the nation and a shade better than the Huskies’ 85.1 percent.

Their power play is middle of the road, ranked 26th with a 19.0 percent conversion rate. UConn is 35th at 17.6 percent.

UConn is looking for its first win against Providence in the Hockey East era (0-3-1), the puck will drop at 7:05 p.m. on Wednesday at the XL Center. The two teams will close the series at Schneider Arena in Providence on Friday.