The UConn Huskies open a weekend Hockey East series with the University of Maine on Friday night from Alfond Arena. The Huskies and Black Bears along with Merrimack are all tied for eighth place in the Hockey East standings with 10 points heading into this weekend. UConn saw their Tuesday night game with Merrimack postponed to February 10th due to the snow storm. The Huskies are coming off a 3-2 loss at Boston College last Saturday night. Maine is riding a three-game winning streak into the weekend after sweeping HEA rival New Hampshire.
UConn vs. Maine All-Time Series... The University of Maine leads the all-time series, 2-0-1. The two teams have met just once since UConn made the jump to Division I in 1998-99. The Huskies and Black Bears skated to a 3-3 tie in Alfond Arena in UConn’s 2010-11 season opener. The two teams met in 1977-78 and 1978-79 seasons, both Maine home wins by a combined score of 20-8.
- Sophomores Ryan Segalla and Joona Kunnas provided the UConn scoring in last Saturday’s 3-2 loss at Boston College. For Segalla, it was his second goal this season and third of his career. It was also Segalla’s first career power play goal. Kunnas, a defenseman, scored his second of the season, both coming in games where he played left wing this year.
- Sophomore Rob Nichols had 34 saves at BC and has now made 30 or more saves 13 times this season. He has had 30 or more saves in seven of his last eight games.
- The UConn penalty killing unit has allowed a power play goal in six of the last seven games and for the first time this season dipped below .800 killing penalties. The Huskies rank ninth in Hockey East killing at an .789 percentage (71/90). UConn is -10 on the year in special teams net, 12th in the league.
Scouting the Black Bears... The Maine Black Bears are coming off a weekend sweep with Hockey East rival New Hampshire and have won three-straight and four of their last five. The Black Bears opened their weekend series with a 6-4 win at home over the Wildcats and finished the sweep with a road shutout win, 4-0. Sophomore goaltender Matt Morris put the finishing touches on the weekend by matching his career-high with 40 saves to blank UNH. Junior forward Steven Swavely was named Warrior Hockey Co-Player of the Week after scoring three goals with a pair of assists on the weekend. Junior Devin Shore and sophomore Cam Brown are the team’s top-point producers, notching 23 (8g/15a) and 22 (6g/16a), respectively. Morris and freshman Sean Romeo have split time in goal this season. Morris sports a 2.64 goal against and a .918 save percentage while Romeo has played to a 2.98 goals against with a .906 save percentage.
Last Meeting with Maine... UConn sophomore goaltender Garrett Bartus made 40 saves and classmate Sean Ambrosie provided the tying goal late in the third period as the Huskies earned a 3-3 tie at then No. 7 nationally ranked Maine to open the 2010-11 season. The UConn penalty kill led the way killing off all eight Maine power play attempts including a 5-on-3 for over a minute at the start of overtime. The Huskies led 1-0 after the first period on a Miles Winter power play goal. Maine answered with two goals in the first two minutes of the second period to grab the lead before UConn would tie it on an Alex Gerke goal with 1:12 left in the second. Maine’s Spencer Abbot put his team up 3-2 just over two minutes in to the third but the Huskies responded again late in the period as Ambrosie buried one at 13:04 to knot the game. Bartus stood tall in the third period and overtime, making 18 of his 40 saves during that stretch.
Last Time Out... Boston College’s Ryan Fitzgerald recorded a hat-trick to lead the #19 Eagles past UConn, 3-2, Saturday night at Kelley Rink. The Huskies got goals from sophomores Ryan Segalla and Joona Kunnas and a 37 save effort from sophomore Rob Nichols in net in the loss. Fitzgerald provided all the scoring for BC Saturday night including a pair of power play goals as the Eagles finished 2-for-4 with the extra skater. UConn went 1-for-4 on the power play on the night. The Huskies jumped in front 1-0 midway through the opening period, converting on their first power play opportunity of the night. Freshman Johnny Austin cycled the puck to Segalla in the high slot who ripped a wrist shot on net that beat goaltender Thatcher Demko top-shelf for a 1-0 lead. Fitzgerald scored his first at 16:40 of the second to knot the game at 1-1 but UConn responded just 23 seconds later as Kunnas buried a rebound off a Brent Norris shot. Fitzgerald tied the game at 2-2 with 54 seconds left in the second, banging in a loose puck in a scrum in front of Nichols. BC got the game-winner on the power play as Fitzgerald buried a shot from the right circle just under the bar to complete the hat-trick and give his team a 3-2 lead. The Huskies were able to pull Nichols with 1:20 left in the period for an extra skater and got a great chance with just under a minute to play. The puck found the stick of Kunnas right in front of the net and he ripped a shot point blank that Demko made an outstanding glove save on to keep the Huskies off the board and preserve the win. UConn freshman Johnny Austin finished with a career-high two points on two assist for the Huskies.