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UConn Men’s Hockey Preview: Quinnipiac Bobcats

The Huskies play their penultimate non-conference game Tuesday.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey ended 2017 with a loss on Saturday against No. 14 Boston College by a score of 2-0. The Huskies had been playing exceptionally well before their 22-day break but seemingly lost the momentum they had been carrying on the road against the Eagles.

UConn was shut out for the third time this year and will look to rebound on Tuesday against Quinnipiac in an in-state matchup.

The Bobcats (6-10-2) have had a trying season after starting 3-1-1 in October, earning a No. 11 ranking in the USCHO poll on Oct. 30. Quinnipiac then proceeded to lose four straight once ECAC play began and they have not rebounded, leading to what is amounting to be a lost season in Hamden, including a giving sweep at home to Maine in their final action before the break.

This is UConn’s opportunity to earn a win in the series for the first time since 2014-15. Last season, the Huskies suffered a 5-2 defeat last season to QU.

The Bobcats are led offensively by Odeen Tufto (3-16—19), who has more assists than every other player does points. Tanner MacMaster (8-7—15) paces the team in goals.

Logan Mick (3-1—4) has a goal in three of his last five games and has been playing well of late as well.

Quinnipiac has struggled offensively, at 42nd out of 60 teams in goals per game (2.67), just behind UConn’s 2.73. At 13 percent with only nine power play goals, the Bobcats’ power play is the seventh-worst in the country.

Andrew Shortridge has gotten the lion’s share of starts in net for Quinnipiac, getting the nod 14 out of 18 times. He has a 2.49 goals against average and a .903 save percentage, which is 49th out of 70 qualified goaltenders.

He anchors a defense that is 39th in the country at 3.06 goals per game. UConn is 25th at 2.82. The Bobcats’ defense struggles in five-on-five situations, but at 82.9 percent, their penalty kill has been very effective this season, at 20th in the nation.

For UConn, Jesse Schwartz (7-4—11) had a six-game point streak broken on Saturday, while Alexander Payusov (9-5—14) did not score in a game for the first time since returning since knee surgery, snapping a four-game streak.

Team points leader Maxim Letunov (5-14—19) had appeared on the scoresheet in the five games leading up to Saturday.

UConn and Quinnipiac will drop the puck at the XL Center at 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday. The game will be broadcast on WHUS 91.7 FM.