Ice Chips …
The UConn Huskies are back on the road for a non-conference series at Miami University this weekend. This will be the first meeting between the Huskies and the RedHawks.
UConn is 1-1-0 when facing teams from the NCHC, having knocked off St. Cloud State last season and falling to Colorado College in a game at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. in 2014-15.
The Huskies are coming off a weekend Hockey East set with Boston University last weekend, earning a 2-2 tie up in Boston and falling in their home opener, 6-3. UConn is off to a 1-2-1 start to Hockey East play.
Senior defenseman Johnny Austin finished with four points over the two game series with BU (1g/3a), including his first goal of the season in Friday’s tie. He recorded his third and fourth multi-point efforts in six games this season.
Austin is tied for first in Hockey East with nine points (1g/8a) and leads the conference in assists. On the power play, he has six points on a goal and five assists, leading Hockey East and tied for first in the nation.
Sophomore Alexander Payusov had three points against BU last weekend, pushing his point streak to five games with two goals and an assist. He leads the Huskies with six goals and four power- play strikes, tying him for first among conference leaders.
The Huskies’ top-two forward lines have had fast starts to the season, producing 13 of UConn’s 20 goals scored and a combined 30 of 55 points on the season.
UConn’s top-line of junior Maxim Letunov with left winger Karl El-Mir and right winger Payusov have combined for 20 points (9g/11a) on the season. The line of seniors Spencer Naas and Kasperi Ojantakanen and sophomore Benjamin Freeman have posted 10 points (4g/6a).
November is the Huskies’ busiest month of the season with 10 games on the slate, seven of which will be played at home in the XL Center.
Scouting the RedHawks... The Miami RedHawks are off to a 1-3-0 start to their season and coming off a split at Maine last weekend, winning the opener, 7-5, and losing the finale, 6-3. Miami was picked fifth in the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Preseason Poll after a seventh place finish last year. The RedHawks open their season with three weekend sets against Hockey East competition. The dropped their season opening series at home to No. 11 Providence. Miami has scored plenty in the early going, averaging 3.25 goals per game and has had success with their power play, converting at .333 percent (8-24). Defensively, the RedHawks have struggled, allowing 4.25 goals per contest. Junior defenseman Grant Hutton has produced five goals through five games, all coming on the power play, a number that leads the nation. Sophomore Gordie Green has two goals and five assists, tying him with Hutton for the team lead in scoring. In net, sophomore Ryan Larkin has started all four games and has a 4.29 goals against and a .840 save percentage.
UConn vs. the NCHC ... The Huskies are 1-1-0 when facing teams from the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which began play in 2013-14. Last season, the Huskies knocked off then No. 18 St. Cloud State in the opening game of the Desert Hockey Classic in Prescott Valley, Ariz. UConn first faced the conference during the 2014-15 season, losing to Colorado College, 4-1, at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport, Conn. UConn previously faced Omaha when they were a member of the former CCHA, a 4-1 loss in the 2004-05 season opener. The Huskies have never met Denver, Miami, Minnesota Duluth, North Dakota, or Western Michigan.
Last Time Out ... The Huskies took on No. 7 ranked Boston University last weekend and came away with a 2-2 tie in Boston on Friday night but dropped a 6-3 decision on their home ice at the XL Center on Saturday. On Friday, 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. On Saturday afternoon, 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, his team-leading sixth goal on the season. Senior Spencer Naas scored his first on the year while 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.