UConn heads to Burlington, Vt. Friday night for their first meeting this season with the Vermont Catamounts in a game broadcast live on American Sports Network and NESNplus. After a trip to No. 10 Boston College on Tuesday night, the Huskies will play host to the Catamounts at the XL Center in Hartford next Friday night to close out January.
The Huskies have lost four-straight to Vermont, including a sweep in the first round of last season Hockey East playoffs at home in the XL Center. Since joining Hockey East, the Huskies are 1-5-0 against the Catamounts.
UConn is coming off a split with Maine last week, winning 6-3 in their meeting in Bridgeport's Webster Bank Arena, and getting shutout, 4-0, at Frozen Fenway on Saturday. The Huskies were shutout for the first time since Feb. 12, 2016 at then No. 5 Providence, falling 4-0, a span of 29 games.
Freshman Adam Huska made his 13th start of the season in Saturday's loss to Maine. His 40 save effort was the second time this season he has posted 40 or more saves in a game. He had a career-high 47 in a 4-2 win at Notre Dame back in October.
Huska ranks fourth in Hockey East with a .922 save percentage. In nine Hockey East games this season, Huska is 5-2-2 with a 2.19 goals against and a .934 save percentage.
In last Thursday's win over Maine, Tage Thompson's two-goal night marked his fifth multi-goal game this season and the eighth of his career. UConn has never lost (7-0-1) when Thompson scores two or more. It also marked his seventh multi-point game this year, and 15th of his career.
Junior Spencer Naas saw his goal-scoring streak come to an end at four-straight games, in Saturday's shutout loss. During the four-game streak he had five goals and an assist. Over his last nine games, he as eight points (7g/1a). He is second on the team with 12 goals.
Sophomore Max Kalter is third on the team in scoring with 16 points (3g/13a). He has posted eight points (2g/6a) over his last seven games.
SCOUTING THE CATAMOUNTS
The Vermont Catamounts come into Friday's match-up ranked 12th in the USCHO.com poll and 13th in the USA Today/USA Hockey poll this week. The Catamounts are currently tied for third in the Hockey East standings with a 7-4-1 record and 15 points after splitting a pair of league games at Providence last weekend. UVM won the opener, 4-3, but fell on Saturday, 4-1, ending a season-long five-game winning streak. The Catamounts have a balanced offensive attack with 10 players posting double-digit points on the season. Freshman Ross Colton is at the top of the scoring column with 18 points on a team-best nine goals with nine assists. Classmate Derek Lodermeier is the team's top playmaker with 11 assists on the year. Another rookie has been the backbone of the defense all season in goaltender Stefanos Lekkas who has a 2.26 goals against and a .919 save percentage in 19 games this season. The Catamounts are in the top-half of the league in scoring averaging 3.33 goals per game.
LAST SEASON VS. VERMONT
UConn and Vermont played four closely contested games last season, all four games going the Catamounts' way by a combined five goals. The Huskies fell 2-1 in Burlington and 4-2 at home in Hartford during the regular season followed by a sweep at home, 2-1 and 4-3, in the Hockey East opening round of the playoffs. In game one of their playoff match-up, UConn's Rob Nichols made 34 saves but Vermont's Mike Santaguida was equally impressive with 32 stops in a 2-1 UVM win. Vermont's Rob Darrar provided the game-winner midway through the second period to break-up a 1-1 tie. Spencer Naas scored the Huskies lone goal. In game two, Vermont rallied for a pair of goals in the third period to come away with a 4-3 series-deciding win. UConn's Karl El-Mir scored twice and Tage Thompson added his nation-leading 13th power play goal to stake the Huskies to a 3-2 lead heading into the third period. UVM's Yvan Pattyn knotted the game at 3-3 at 9:45 and Brian Bowan provided the game-winner with just 1:19 left to end the Huskies' season.