Ice Chips …
The UConn Huskies make their fourth appearance in the Hockey East postseason as the No. 5 seed and will face-off with No. 4 seeded Boston University in a best-of-three quarterfinals match-up.
The Huskies and Terriers split their season series, 1-1-1. UConn tied BU 2-2 in Boston and lost 6-3 at home back in October. The two teams recently met on February 16 with the Huskies twice erasing two-goal deficits to capture a 5-4 overtime win at home in the XL Center.
UConn finished the regular season with 11 conference wins and 23 points good for fifth in the final standings, all program best marks since joining the league in 2014-15. This also marks the Huskies first-ever appearance in the Hockey East quarterfinal round.
The Huskies finished the regular season winning seven of their last eight including a program record tying seven-game winning streak. The Huskies knocked off four ranked opponents (No. 20 BU, No. 11 Northeastern, No. 16 Boston College, No. 10 Providence) during the streak.
Senior Spencer Naas will carry a career best eight-game point streak into the post season. During that stretch, Naas has six goals and six assists. On the season, he is second on the club with 23 points (12g/11a) and his 49 career goals is ranked third in the UConn Division I record book.
The Huskies have used balanced offense all season and have four players with double digit goals in Naas (12), Alexander Payusov (12), Maxim Letunov (11) and Jesse Schwartz (10). It is the first time under head coach Mike Cavanaugh and first time since 2012-13 that four Huskies have potted double digit goals in a season.
Nine Huskies are in the midst of posting career-best offensive numbers this season: Spencer Naas (12g/11a), Alexander Payusov (12g/8a), Benjamin Freeman (7g/13a), Johnny Austin (4g/14a), Jesse Schwartz (10g/5a), Karl El-Mir (2g/13a), Derek Pratt (1g/9a), Jeff Wight (5g/2a), Wyatt Newpower (3g/3a).
Junior Maxim Letunov is the team’s top-scorer with 27 points on 11 goals and 16 assists. Letunov has had a team-best seven multi-point games this year. He has 94 career points in 102 career games.
Senior goaltender Tanner Creel has started the last nine games and is 7-2 over that stretch with a .909 save percentage and a 2.67 goal against average. Sophomore Adam Huska appeared in 25 games before going down with a wrist injury. He is sixth in Hockey East with a 2.52 goals against and a .914 save percentage.
UConn’s power play has scored 28 goals and ranks third in Hockey East at .203 percent (28-138). The penalty kill is third in Hockey East, killing at a .830 percentage (117-141) and has scored six shorthanded goals, tied for the most in the league.
This Season vs. BU ...
October 20, 2017
The Huskies took on then No. 7 ranked Boston University in a home-and-home series back in October, coming away with a 2-2 tie on the road in Agganis Arena in the series opener in Boston. UConn sophomore Alexander Payusov scored a power play goal and assisted on another as the Huskies finished 2-for-3 on the power play but gave up a pair of shorthanded scores. Senior defenseman Johnny Austin scored the Huskies first goal of the night and added an assist on Payusov’s third period tying goal. BU’s Bobo Carpenter scored both shorthanded goals for the Terriers. UConn goaltender Adam Huska made 33 saves while his counterpart, Jake Oettinger stopped 31 for BU. The Terriers held a 35-33 edge on shots.
October 21, 2017
In the weekend series finale, BU’s Carpenter scored three power play goals to lead the Terriers to a 6-3 win and three of four points on the weekend. Carpenter scored a power play goal in each period and tacked on an assist for a four-point night. Patrick Curry tacked on a two goals, both in the first and Brandon Hickey tacked on the other BU tally. UConn got a power play goal from Payusov while senior Spencer Naas scored his first on the year and classmate Kasperi Ojantakanen had a third period score. Oettinger made 27 stops to record the win. The Terriers held a 32-30 edge on shots, including a 14-6 advantage in the first as they built a 3-0 lead. The Huskies finished just 1-for-6 on the power play.
February 16, 2018
UConn junior Maxim Letunov scored the game-winner 2:51 into overtime to cap a furious third period comeback to beat BU, 5-4, in front of 7,372 at the XL Center. UConn twice battle back from being down a pair of goals, 3-1 in the second period and 4-2 in the third, to earn their first overtime victory at the XL Center and also their second win this season when trailing heading into the final period. Letunov finished the night with a goal and two assists while senior Spencer Naas scored twice in the win. Trailing 4-2 in the third, senior Kasperi Ojantakanen scored to get the comeback started followed by a power play goal by sophomore Alexander Payusov to tie the game, setting up Letunov’s game-winner..
Scouting the Terriers ...
The Boston University Terriers enter the post season as the No. 4 seed in the tournament after posting a 12-8-4 league mark. The Terriers were ranked No. 20 in this week’s USCHO.com Top-20 poll. BU closed out their regular season with a 2-0 win and 1-1 tie at home against Vermont to lock up the four-seed. Junior Bobo Carpenter enters the postseason as the team’s top-scorer with 30 points on 18 goals and 12 assists. Freshmen Shane Bowers and Brady Tkachuk are among the league’s top-rookie scorers with 27 and 26 points, respectively. BU junior Jordan Greenway returned to the line-up on the last weekend after playing for Team USA at the Olympics. Greenway has 27 points on the year. In goal, sophomore Jake Oettinger has a 2.50 goals against average with a .912 save percentage.
Husky Hockey East Playoff History ...
The Huskies enter the Hockey East postseason for the fourth time and this season, earned its highest seed in their breif history in the league by grabbing the No. 5 seed. The Huskies are still in search of their first post season win in Hockey East and under head coach Mike Cavanaugh.
2017 HEA Playoffs Opening Round - #9 seed at #8 seed Northeastern
Game 1 - L, 3-1 Game 2 - L, 6-2
2016 HEA Playoffs Opening Round - #8 seed vs. #9 seed Vermont
Game 1 - L, 2-1 Game 2 - L, 4-3
2015 HEA Playoffs Opening Round - #9 seed at #8 seed New Hampshire
Game 1 - L, 5-2 Game 2 - L, 2-0
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