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Takeaways: UConn men’s hockey sliding after Merrimack sweep

The Huskies failed to get points in a series where they really needed them.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

On the previous two Fridays, UConn men’s hockey and Merrimack dropped the puck in a home-and-home series. The Huskies were sitting sixth in Hockey East when the series began, but were in need of some points, as they had played more Hockey East games than any of the other 10 teams in the league.

They failed to do so, losing a 2-1 lead late in an overtime loss at home followed by a poor performance in a 3-0 loss at Merrimack on Friday.

Here are some takeaways from the pair of games, which are part of a four-game losing streak to start the second half.

Offense has been non-existent

The Huskies have scored two goals in their last 244:32 of play. They certainly have not been getting as many chances as they were to end the first half of the season, but play in the offensive zone was still passable to begin the second half. It hit a low against Merrimack when the series shifted to Lawler Rink.

It took UConn more than 14 minutes to force Craig Pantano to make a save and it was the only one he had to make in the first period. It did not get better in the second, as they only got seven pucks on him. The Huskies had nothing going for them in the offensive zone and ended up getting shut out for the third time in four games.

Adam Huska is really good

For 40 minutes on Friday, the scoreboard read 0-0. Adam Huska was the sole reason that it wasn’t already a blowout. He made numerous impressive stops, facing 30 shots in the first two periods, 15 in each frame. He turned all of them away.

Huska was only beaten when Merrimack got a body right in front of him on the power play and when Tyler Drevitch got in on him all alone. Without Huska, that game was over midway through the first period, but he kept UConn in it for as long as he could.

We still don’t know what this UConn team is all about

Was the excellent end of the first half of the season an anomaly? There is not an answer to that question yet because the Huskies still have more than 10 games to go and they can certainly turn it around.

Headed into the six-game streak that UConn ended the first half on, which started with a Nov. 21 victory on the road against Vermont, they had won a singular game in 12 tries, a 1-9-2 stretch that went back to Oct. 13. They were 2-1-0 at that point, tumbling to 3-10-2 before the win.

Then the Huskies went 5-1-0 to end the first half, winning two games against ranked teams, but they have been unable to follow it up in the second half of the season, losing all four of their contests and they did not look particularly great in any of them.

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UConn takes the ice next at home against No. 11 Providence. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday.