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UConn Men’s Hockey Weekend Preview: No. 16 Boston College and Brown

UConn heads into the weekend on a three-game winning streak.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey has seemingly put its new year struggles in the rear-view mirror as the Huskies have now won three consecutive games going into a weekend where they will take on No. 16 Boston College at home and make a visit to Brown.

Everyone in Hockey East has games in hand on the Huskies, but UConn is in better shape to host a first round series after some favorable results last weekend, including Maine’s sweep of UMass and Vermont’s two wins over Merrimack while the Huskies swept New Hampshire.

Hockey East Standings

Team Games Played Record Points Points per game
Team Games Played Record Points Points per game
Boston College 18 13-5-0 26 1.44
Northeastern 18 11-5-2 24 1.33
Providence 18 10-5-3 23 1.28
Boston University 18 9-7-2 20 1.11
UMass Lowell 18 10-8-0 20 1.11
Maine 17 8-6-3 19 1.12
UConn 20 8-11-1 17 0.85
UMass 16 5-10-1 11 0.69
New Hampshire 16 4-9-3 11 0.69
Vermont 16 4-9-3 11 0.69
Merrimack 17 4-11-2 10 0.59

The offense appears to have found its way after a cold start to the back half of the season. Adam Karashik (4-3—7) had three points over the weekend, including two goals on Saturday, and earned Hockey East rookie of the week. Spencer Naas (7-7—14) has notched a point in three straight games while Alexander Payusov (10-7—17) has marked the scoresheet in three of his last four contests and Benjamin Freeman (5-9—14) and Jesse Schwartz (8-5—13) registered a point in both games against New Hampshire.

Boston College (13-10-3, 13-5-0) has hosted UConn up at Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts twice this year and won both contests on Nov. 7 and Dec. 30 as part of their rebound in conference play.

In recent action, BC has won three of four after a split with UMass Lowell last weekend, but they are winless in three games away from home in 2018.

David Cotton (7-12—19) leads the team in points and is tied for the lead in points with Julius Mattila (6-12—18), while Graham McPhee (11-7—18) paces the Eagles in goals.

Joseph Woll owns a 2.68 goals against average and a .903 save percentage and has spent more time in net than Ryan Edquist, but the latter has much better numbers (2.11, .927) and has played both games against the Huskies.

Scoring 2.77 goals per game, Boston College is 38th in offense and at 18.3 percent, their power play matches that total at 32nd place. UConn allows 2.72 goals per game (21st) and kills off 83.3 percent of their penalties (15th), including their last 19 opportunities.

Defensively, the Eagles fare slightly better, sitting 23rd in team defense (2.73 goals per game) but struggle relatively with the man advantage at 32nd (80.7 percent). The Huskies score 2.52 goals per game (46th) but their streaky power play currently sits at 26th (19.8 percent).

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The following evening, UConn will travel to Providence, Rhode Island for a date with Brown (6-12-4).

The Bears have just one win in their last 11 games (1-7-3) and have struggled all year against Hockey East competition as they have failed to get a win in four tries (0-2-2).

Tommy Marchin (7-3—10) and Brett Beaudoin (4-11—15) lead a Brown offense that is 58th in total offense (2.14 goals per game) and converts just 14.0 percent of their power plays (51st).

Defensively, they hold their own. The Bears are 32nd in total defense (2.91 goals per game) and are 34th (80.6 percent) on the penalty kill.

Gavin Nieto and Luke Kania have gotten an even split of starts in net, but Kania has better numbers. He edges the pair in save percentage, at .919 to .902, as well as goals against average, with 2.46 compared to Nieto’s 3.21.

UConn and Boston College will drop the puck on Friday at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN3 and WTIC 1080 AM at the XL Center. UConn and Brown will begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday inside Meehan Auditorium in Providence, Rhode Island and will be broadcast on WHUS 91.7 FM.