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Ice Chips …
The Huskies return to Hockey East play with a weekend home-and-home series against the No. 7/8 ranked Boston University Terriers. The Huskies are off to a 1-1-0 start to conference play while this will be the league opener for the Terriers.
Saturday’s match-up serves as the Huskies’ home-opener at the XL Center and starts a stretch of 10 of 17 on their home ice through the rest of the fall semester.
UConn is coming off a weekend road split with a pair of Atlantic Hockey teams last weekend, posting a 6-4 comeback win at AIC and falling 3-1 at Sacred Heart.
Sophomore Alexander Payusov is off to a blazing start to the season with five points on four goals and an assist. He recorded his first career hat-trick in the win at AIC and is riding a three-game point streak into the weekend. His three goals marked his first career multi-goal and multi-point game and it was the first UConn hat-trick since Tage Thompson potted three 5-2 win over Boston University on Oct. 27, 2015.
Junior Karl El-Mir is tied with Payusov for the team lead in scoring with five points on two goals and three assists. He had at least a point in the first three games this season.
Payusov and El-Mir join center Maxim Letunov on the Huskies top-line and have produced 14 points through four games on seven goals and seven assists.
Senior defensemen Johnny Austin leads the team and is second in the league and fourth in nationally with five assists on the season. Classmate Derek Pratt has a three-game point streak going heading into the weekend, producing a goal and two assists in that span.
The UConn power play is currently tops in Hockey East and ranks fourth in the NCAA. The Huskies have scored six times in 18 chances, a .333 clip.
The UConn offense is scoring at a 3.8 goals per game clip with 11 different Huskies finding the back of the net through four games this season.
Last Season vs. BU ...
Game 1 (Nov. 18, 2016)
Boston University goaltender Connor LaCouvee made his first start of the season and turned in 28 saves to lead the No. 5/4 Terriers past UConn, 2-1, at the XL Center. The Huskies got a third period power play goal from Spencer Naas in the loss. BU jumped out to a 2-0 first period lead and LaCouvee made it hold up, stopping 21 shots in the second and third period while allowing just the Naas goal on the way to his first win on the season. Senior Rob Nichols was in net for the Huskies and made 24 saves. Sophomore Jordan Greenway opened the scoring at 3:28 in the first, and the Terriers struck again at 16:01 to make it 2-0 as freshman Gabriel Chabot notched his first collegiate goal, proving to be the game-winner.
Game 2 (Nov. 19, 2016)
UConn got four goals from four different players and freshman Adam Huska turned in 37 saves to lead the Huskies to a 4-0 win over No. 5/4 Boston University at Agganis Arena. For Huska it was the rookie’s first career shutout, coming in his sixth collegiate game. BU freshman goaltender Jake Oettinger made 16 saves in taking the loss. UConn’s Karl El-Mir provided the game-winner, scoring in the second period. Kasperi Ojantakanen and David Drake both scored their second goals of the season while classmate Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) picked up his first of the season in the win. The Terriers finished with a 37-20 edge on shots on the night. The Huskies picked up their first win in Agganis Arena in four tries and are now 1-2-1 at BU. The two teams split the season series for the second-straight year.
Scouting the Terriers... The Boston University Terriers enter this weekend ranked No. 7 in the USCHO.com Top-20 poll and No. 8 in the USA Today Top-15 media poll. After beating Union and Quinnipiac to open the season, the Terriers were swept at home last weekend by Minnesota State, falling 6-3 and 3-0. Sophomore Patrick Harper is off to a strong start with four goals and a pair of assists. Freshman Shane Bowers has also found the back of the net four times in the early going. Sophomore goaltender Jake Oettinger has played exclusively for BU, posting a 2.71 goals against and a .914 save percentage through four games.
Last Time Out ... Sacred Heart goaltender Brett Magnus stopped 44 shots to backstop the Pioneers to a 3-1 victory over UConn on Saturday night from the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. The Huskies held a 45-22 shot advantage but came up empty on four power play chances in taking the loss. UConn’s lone goal came off the stick of freshman Adam Karashik, his first collegiate tally. UConn fell behind 3-0 just past the mid-point of the second period before Karashik put the Huskies on the board. The Pioneers got first period goals from sophomore Austin MIlmurray and freshman Matt Tugnutt, his first collegiate goal. They made it 3-0 in the second on rookie Alex Bates first career goal. Magnus was masterful in net, and after the Karashik goal kept the Huskies in check including 16 stops in the third period. UConn’s Adam Huska made 19 saves in the loss.