The Set-Up... The UConn Huskies make their first-ever trip to Kelley Rink on Saturday night to take on the No. 19 nationally ranked Boston College Eagles. UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh returns to BC for the first time as a head coach after spending 18 seasons as a member of Jerry York’s coaching staff. The Huskies got a point in their series with Notre Dame last weekend, skating to a 3-3 tie on Friday but losing 6-1 in Sunday’s rematch. The Eagles are coming off a 2-1 win at home over No. 14 ranked Merrimack on Wednesday night. UConn enters the weekend tied with Northeastern for seventh place in the Hockey East standings with 10 points. BC comes into Saturday night’s tilt in third place, two points behind league leaders Boston University and UMass Lowell.
UConn vs. BC All-Time Series... The Huskies lead the all-time series 1-0-0 after shutting out BC, 1-0, in the first-ever meeting between the two schools back in November. The victory marked UConn’s first Hockey East win.
- Naas saw a streak of five-straight games with a goal end last time out vs. Notre Dame. Naas has scored a goal in six of the last eight games. He leads the team with 10 goals and ranks second with Merrimack’s Brett Seney behind BU’s Jack Eichel (11) for the lead in both Hockey East and the nation in goals scored by a freshman.
- Ojantakanen has recorded a point in five of the last six games and six-of-the last eight since returning from the break.
- Sophomore Rob Nichols matched his career-high with 41 saves in last Friday’s 3-3 tie with Notre Dame. Nichols has posted 40 or more saves twice this season and 30 or more saves 12 times. He has had 30 or more saves in six of his last seven games.
- The UConn penalty killing unit has allowed a power play goal in five of the last six games and ranks ninth in Hockey East killing at an .802 percentage (69-86).
Scouting the Eagles... The Boston College Eagles opened the week ranked No. 19 in the latest USCHO.com Top-20 poll. The Eagles are coming off 2-1 win over #14 Merrimack Wednesday night at home. BC is in the middle of a three-game homestand with Providence coming to town next Friday before the start of the Beanpot tournament. The Eagles are one of three teams in the league averaging three goals or better per game (3.00 gpg) and are right in the middle of the pack defensively. Sophomore Adam Gilmour has five of the Eagles’ 12 power play goals this season and leads the team with 19 points. Classmate Chris Calnan is the team’s top goal scorer with 11 including four game-winners this season. Defensively, junior Teddy Doherty and freshman Noah Hanifin are among the league’s top-scoring defensemen. Doherty has 16 points (5g-11a) while Hanifin is also among the top scoring rookies with 14 points (3g-11a).
Last Meeting with BC... The Huskies played host to Boston College in their home opener November 4th and came away with the program’s first-ever win over a nationally ranked top-five opponent in shutting out the #3 Eagles, 1-0. Sophomore Evan Richardson provided all the offense the Huskies would need, scoring the game’s only goal midway through the first period. Sophomore Rob Nichols made it stand up, stopping all 35 shots he faced in recording his third career shutout win. At 11:32 of the first period, Richardson scored his second and the team’s second power play goal of the season, burying a wrist shot top-shelf off a feed from freshman Johnny Austin. From there Nichols and the Husky defense went to work, keeping the Eagles in check the rest of the way. UConn fought off 16 shots on goal in the second period while killing off a pair of power plays including a five-on-three chance for BC. The Eagles outshot the Huskies 10-3 in the third period but couldn’t solve Nichols. The Huskies blocked 15 shots on the night and killed off all six BC power play opportunities in the win.
Last Time Out... Notre Dame senior defenseman Robbie Russo recorded a hat-trick to lead the Fighting Irish past the UConn Huskies 3-1 Sunday afternoon in a Hockey East match-up from Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The Huskies got their lone goal from freshman Kasperi Ojantakanen in the loss. UConn grabbed a 1-0 lead at 16:16 in the first period as Ojantakanen gave the Huskies the lead with a power play goal. The Irish were able to answer before the first period ended as Russo struck for his first of three goals to start a run of six-unanswered goals. Notre Dame tacked on two more goals in the second and Russo gave his team a 4-1 lead with his second goal at the 2:55 mark of the third. UConn looked as if they might cut it to 4-2 just seconds later but an apparent tip-in goal by Evan Richardson was waved off for a high stick. The play was reviewed and the call stood. The Huskies pulled Rob Nichols after a cross check call at 12:56 looking to get a spark with a 6-on-4 power play. The Irish refused to allow a momentum shift as Russo completed the hat-trick but firing into the empty net at 13:09 to give his team a commanding 5-1 lead. Notre Dame outshot the Huskies 41-29 in the win while both teams finished 1-of-5 on the power play.