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The UConn Huskies make their national TV debut Friday night when they make their first trip to the University of Notre Dame to take on the Fighting Irish on NBC Sports Network. The Huskies and Irish will meet again on Sunday afternoon back in Connecticut at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The Huskies are coming off two-straight wins last weekend, winning 6-3 at Army and knocking off No. 6 ranked UMass Lowell, 2-0, at home in the XL Center. Notre Dame is looking to bounce back after being swept by Western Michigan, 4-2 and 4-3.
UConn vs. Notre Dame All-Time Series... Friday night's game will mark the first-ever meeting between UConn and Notre Dame on the ice.
- Since coming back from midseason break, freshman Spencer Naas has scored six goals over the first six games. Naas is currently riding a streak of four-straight games with a goal.
- Naas leads the team with nine goals and is second in both Hockey East and the nation in goals scored by a freshman behind BU's Jack Eichel (10). He is tied for eighth in scoring (9-3-12) among the league's rookies.
- Rob Nichols posted his second shutout this season against a ranked team, stopping 21 shots to beat #5 UMass Lowell, 2-0. Nichols has four career shutouts in 33 career games.
- The Huskies have won four games this season against teams ranked in the national polls coming off a 2-0 win over #5 UMass Lowell.
- UConn owns three wins over ranked teams at the XL Center this season, allowing just one goal in the three wins (2-0 vs. #5 UMass Lowell; 2-1 vs. #1-0 Vermont; 1-0 vs. #3 BC).
- For the first time this season, the Huskies have won two-straight. The Huskies are now 1-4-1 in games following a win.
- The Husky power play was 3-for-5 (.600) in the wins over Army and UMass Lowell last weekend. UConn entered last weekend 1-for-16 over the previous five games.
Scouting the Fighting Irish... The Notre Dame Fighting Irish come into the weekend series at 9-11-2 overall and 4-2-2 in Hockey East, one point in front of the Huskies in sixth place in the standings. The Irish have lost three-straight and coming off a weekend home-and-home sweep at the hands of Western Michigan. Senior Robbie Russo and junior Mario Lucia are tied for the team lead and tied for seventh in Hockey East in scoring with 19 points apiece. Lucia is the team's top-goal scorer with 13 on the season, one behind BU's Danny O'Regan for the league lead. His 13 goals ties him for eighth in the country in goal scoring. Russo leads all Hockey East defensemen and is third nationally in scoring on seven goals and 12 assists. Sophomore Vince Hinostroza is leading the team with 14 assists, tied for fourth among league leaders. In goal, freshman Cal Petersen and sophomore Chad Katunar have split time. Petersen has posted a 2.67 goals against and a .904 save percentage in winning five games with a pair of shutouts. Katunar sports a 2.97 goals against with a .900 save percentage.
Last Time Out... Senior Jacob Poe provided the game-winning goal and sophomore Rob Nichols stopped all 21 shots he faced to lead the UConn Huskies to a 2-0 win over No. 6/5 nationally ranked UMass Lowell last Saturday night at the XL Center. For the fourth time this season the Huskies knocked-off a nationally ranked opponent as they even their Hockey East record at 4-4-1 on the season. The Huskies dealt the River Hawks their first Hockey East loss of the season and snap their six-game winning streak. Saturday night's 2-0 loss marks the first shutout loss for UML since falling 3-0 at Boston College last February 21st. UConn put together a solid defensive performance in front of Nichols, limiting the River Hawks to just 21 shots while coming up with 23 blocked shots and killing off all three UMass Lowell power plays in the win. Nichols made 10 of his 21 saves in the third period to earn his fourth career shutout victory. The Huskies outshot UML 27-21 on the night. The Husky power play struggled to get started, being held without a shot on net during a five-minute man-advantage in the first period. The two teams would close out a scoreless first period with UConn limiting UML to just four shots. The River Hawks gave UConn its second power play chance at the 9:18 mark of the second period and the Huskies capitalized. Junior Shawn Pauly cycled the puck to Poe in the high slot and the senior defensemen got his shot through traffic and a screen by classmate Trevor Gerling to beat Kevin Boyle for a 1-0 lead at 10:40. UMass Lowell cranked up the offensive pressure in the third period but couldn't crack the Husky netminder. UConn pushed the action late in the period and looking to maintain possession came-up with an insurance goal. Gerling shot the puck up to freshman Spencer Naas on the left half boards and the rookie threw the puck on net. Naas whipped a shot that deflected off a UML defender and sneaked past Boyle for a 2-0 lead at 18:16. The River Hawks used a time-out off the Naas goal and were able to pull Boyle for the final 1:22 looking to get on the scoreboard. The UConn defense was up to the task in the final minute, getting a pair of clears while holding the puck in the UML zone as the horn sounded on another upset win.
UConn Beating Ranked Teams...
- Four of UConn's seven wins this season have come over a nationally ranked opponent and the Huskies now own six wins over ranked teams in program history, five coming in the last two seasons.
- The Huskies have three home wins at the XL Center over ranked teams: #5 UMass Lowell, 2-0; #11 Vermont, 2-1; #3 Boston College, 1-0
- The Huskies beat No. 15 ranked Quinnipiac, 4-1, at Webster Bank Arena.
- The 1-0 win over #3 BC marks the highest ranked team the Huskies have every beaten and the first win over a top-five program.
- Last season, UConn registered the program's first-ever win over a top-10 team when they beat No. 9 Providence, 3-2.
- The Huskies first-ever win over a ranked school came during the 2012 Atlantic Hockey Playoffs, beating No. 19 ranked Air Force, 3-1.
- UConn is 5-6-1 against ranked teams in two seasons under head coach Mike Cavanaugh.