The Huskies come back home to the XL Center Friday night to face former Atlantic Hockey foe AIC. The Huskies have not faced the Yellow Jackets since UConn’s last season in the AHA in 2013-14.
UConn is unbeaten in its last 18 match-ups with AIC (15-0-3) and hasn’t lost to the Yellow Jackets since the 2007-08 season. This will mark the first game between the two old rivals at the XL Center in downtown Hartford. UConn has not lost a home game to AIC since the 2005-06 season.
The Huskies dropped their first game of the season on Wednesday night, losing at No. 4/3 ranked Quinnipiac, 5-2. Junior Spencer Naas scored his third goal on the season and sophomore Karl El-Mir his second in the loss.
Freshman goaltender Adam Huska earned his second start and made 38 saves in the loss. Huska posted 37 saves in his collegiate debut, helping the Huskies to a 1-1 tie at RIT last Saturday night.
Sophomore Maxim Letunov was assessed a five-minute major and game disqualification for boarding in the first period of Wednesday’s game. By NCAA rule, Letunov will not be eligible to play in Friday’s game vs. AIC.
For the second-straight week, the Huskies received votes in the USCHO.com Top-20 coaches’ poll. The Huskies had 10 points in this week’s poll.
Defensively, the Huskies are allowing 2.00 goals per game, tops in Hockey East and ranked seventh nationally, and own a pair of early season shutouts.
The UConn penalty killing unit has allowed just two power play goals (23/25) and rank second in the league and 12th nationally killing at a .920 percentage.
Senior goaltender Rob Nichols has a 1.30 goals against, a .944 save percentage and a pair of shutouts over three games this season.
Sophomore Tage Thompson leads the team with six points on four goals and two assists. Three of Thompson’s four goals this season have come at even strength. Last season, he finished with 14 goals, 13 coming on the power play, a number that led the nation.
LAST MEETING WITH AIC
The Huskies last faced AIC in a home-and-home Atlantic Hockey series in January, 2014. In game one, UConn went to West Springfield and came away with a 3-2 win as freshman Rob Nichols got the start in goal and turned 34 saves to earn the victory. After trailing 1-0, power play goals by Jordan Sims and Jacob Poe and a goal by Brent Norris capped a three-goal rally to fuel the UConn offense. Both Poe and Norris also picked up assists on the night while the Huskies got off a season-high 41 shots in the win. In game two, the Huskies fell behind 1-0 again in the opening period but Sims and Poe once again delivered. The duo scored their second goals of the weekend just 43 seconds apart to take a 2-1 lead. Senior Matt Grogan was back in goal and turned away 20 shots to help fuel a strong defensive effort by the Huskies.
SCOUTING THE YELLOW JACKETS
The AIC Yellow Jackets are taking the ice for just the second time this season, coming into Friday’s game off a 5-4 loss at home to Union last Friday night. Freshman forward Dominik Florian scored a pair of goals in the loss. Junior Alex Murray got the start in goal and made 28 saves. AIC was tabbed 11th in the preseason coaches’ and media polls in Atlantic Hockey coming into the season. The Yellow Jackets returned nine of its top-10 scorers from a year ago. Senior Austin Orszulak led the team in scoring last year with 27 points on 12 goals and 15 assists.
UCONN VS. ATLANTIC HOCKEY
- UConn was one of the inaugural members of the Atlantic Hockey Association and played in the conference for 11 seasons (2003-2014).
- Since leaving the league and joining Hockey East, the Huskies are 1-3-1 against their former conference.
- Last season, UConn lost to Army, 2-0, and Sacred Heart, 7-4, both at home.
- The Huskies have three Atlantic Hockey opponents on this year’s schedule in RIT, Sacred Heart and AIC
- The Huskies best-ever finish in the league came in 2012-13 when they posted a 19-14-4 mark.
- UConn advanced to the AHA semifinals four times but never appeared in a league championship game.