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Preview: UConn Men’s Hockey Begins Home-and-Home with UMass Lowell

The Huskies look to avenge last year’s sweep.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey is off to a strong start this season at 5-4-1, including a 2-3-1 record in Hockey East. After blowing a late lead to No. 15 Northeastern on Friday to lose 3-2, the Huskies came back and dispensed Brown by a 3-1 scoreline.

Jonny Evans (3-2—5) scored twice against the Bears for his first multi-goal effort, while the top line is one of the best in Hockey East in the early going. Jachym Kondelik (0-10—10) is tops in the conference in assists and is tied for third nationally, while Alexander Payusov (8-1—9) is tied for the league lead in goals and is tied for second nationally.

Mike Cavanaugh leads his team to a home-and-home series against UMass Lowell this weekend, looking to tip the all-time series, deadlocked at 4-4-1, between the two schools in the Huskies’ favor.

The River Hawks (4-5-1, 1-3-1) are off to a slow start this year after missing the Hockey East championship at TD Garden for the first time in six years in 2017-18.

Last weekend, Norm Bazin’s club could only tie New Hampshire on Friday before dropping a road game to Northeastern in overtime.

In last year’s series, UMass Lowell swept the Huskies for the first time, as Christoffer Hernberg stole the show in net on Saturday with an incredible shutout performance after the Huskies couldn’t overcome a sluggish start on Friday night in Massachusetts.

Seven River Hawks have at least five points, but Sam Knoblauch (4-2—6), Kenny Hausinger (4-2—6), Ryan Lohin (4-2—6) and Ryan Dmowski (2-4—6) each are tied for the team points lead. Knoblauch, Hausinger and Lohin pace the team in goals, with Seth Barton (0-5—5) leading the pack in assists.

Tyler Wall has gotten six starts in net with a 1.98 goals against average and a .924 save percentage, which are 15th and 18th in the nation, respectively. Both are also top five in Hockey East. Hernberg has gotten the nod four times and is at 2.98 goals per game with a .880 save percentage, both down from last season.

The River Hawks are 35th in the country at 18.2 percent on the power play and kill off 81.6 percent of their penalties (28th). Meanwhile, UConn is tied for 40th (17 percent) up a man and 22nd (82.6 percent) when down a player.

The Huskies score 2.6 goals per game, while UMass Lowell averages 2.4 per contest, so the first goal could be very important.

The series opens at 7:05 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford, while it concludes the following afternoon at the Tsongas Center. Puck drop is at 5 p.m. and both games will be broadcast on 97.9 FM WUCS.