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Takeaways from UConn men’s hockey’s two weekend wins

The Huskies have now won five straight games after beating No. 16 BC and Brown.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey has now won five consecutive games after Friday’s defeat of No. 16 Boston College followed by a win over Brown on the road on Saturday.

Here are some takeaways from this weekend.

Peaking at the right time

The Huskies won five of their last six games before the semester break and after a five-game swoon, UConn now has a five-game winning streak that has led to a 10-6-0 record since Nov. 21.

They beat Boston College for the first time since their first Hockey East home game in 2014 and were able to regroup and beat Brown the following night despite giving up four one-goal leads.

With three games left over the final three weekends of the regular season before the Hockey East tournament begins, the Huskies need to continue and hope it leads to something good in the postseason. UConn has mostly limped into the end of the season and is 0-6-0 in playoff games since joining Hockey East. Perhaps this year it’s different.

The penalty kill has been huge

Boston College registered a power-play goal, halting the Huskies’ streak of penalties killed at 22. However, dating back to Jan. 18 against No. 10 Providence, UConn is 30-for-33 killing penalties (90.9 percent).

They also scored two shorthanded goals on the weekend and could have had more as Corey Ronan and Brian Rigali have been using their speed regularly to create chances, even when down a man.

If the Huskies are a threat to score in any situation - which they showed last weekend after scoring multiple goals on the power play - they will be a formidable opponent going forward.

UConn controls its own destiny... sort of

During the weekend, the Huskies saw teams around them start to make up the games in hand on them and the difference in points got smaller.

New Hampshire and Vermont both had three-point weekends and are now five points behind UConn with three games in hand. If UConn were to lose out, it’s also possible for Merrimack to catch the Huskies. New Hampshire and Vermont play two games this weekend and the outcome of that series will dictate who can catch who headed into the home stretch.

Hockey East Standings

Team Games Played Record Points Points per game
Team Games Played Record Points Points per game
Boston College 19 13-6-0 26 1.37
Northeastern 19 11-5-3 25 1.32
Providence 20 10-6-4 24 1.20
Boston University 19 10-7-2 22 1.16
Maine 19 9-7-3 21 1.11
UMass Lowell 18 10-8-0 20 1.11
UConn 21 9-11-1 19 0.90
New Hampshire 18 5-9-4 14 0.78
Vermont 18 5-9-4 14 0.78
Merrimack 19 5-12-2 12 0.63
UMass 18 5-12-1 11 0.61

UConn is winning games right now, and if they win their final three games, they will host in the first round. However, that is a big ask with games on the road against No. 11 Northeastern and at home with Boston University and UMass.

Spencer Naas is on fire and his linemates are too

The senior from Minnetonka, Minnesota has registered a point in his last five games and has been playing wing on a line with Benjamin Freeman and Alexander Payusov for the last six games. Though the Huskies have played with three centers in four of those games, UConn is 5-1-0.

He has five points in those games and Freeman has four points in his last four for a four-game point streak, while Payusov also has four points since being paired with Naas and Freeman.

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UConn plays next against No. 11 Northeastern on Friday at Matthews Arena in Boston. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. on NESN.