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Ice Chips ...
The UConn Huskies return home to host the Vermont Catamounts in a weekend Hockey East series. The Huskies are coming off a trip to Miami University where the fell 3-0 and 7-1 to the RedHawks last weekend. The Catamounts make their first league road trip of the season and are coming off a 4-4 tie with nationally ranked New Hampshire last weekend.
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.
UConn is looking to snap a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) heading into the weekend. The Huskies are also looking to kick-start their offense, especially in the first period of play. UConn has been outscored 15-3 in the first period this season. The Huskies have fallen behind 3-0 in all four losses on their current winless streak.
UConn’s lone goal last weekend came shorthanded by freshman defenseman Adam Karashik. Senior Corey Ronan was credited with the assist after chasing a puck deep into the Miami end and getting an initial shot on Miami’s goaltender with Karashik cleaning up the rebound.
The Huskies finished the weekend 0-for-7 on the power play and are now tied for third in Hockey East converting at .265 percent (9/34) for the season. On the penalty kill, the Huskies gave up four goals in 11 attempts at Miami.
Senior defenseman Johnny Austin leads the Huskies in scoring with nine points coming on a goal and eight assists. Sophomore Alexander Payusov has eight points on six goals and two assists. Payusov has four power play goals.
Sophomore Benjamin Freeman is leading the team and ranks fifth in the conference in face-off percentage, winning draws at a .598 clip (73-49).
Karashik leads UConn’s defenseman with two goals on the season and is also leading the team in blocked shots. Karashik has blocked 20 shots, a 2.86 per game clip, ranking third in Hockey East and seventh nationally.
Last Season vs. Vermont
Game 1 (Jan. 20, 2017)
Despite a pair of goals from Tage Thompson the Huskies came up short falling 5-4 to the Catamounts on the road. The Catamounts built a 3-0 early in the second period with goals from Mario Puskarich, Ross Colton and Liam Coughlin. Following the third goal, the Huskies went to Rob Nichols in net in relief of Adam Huska. UConn tacked two quick goals on the board, just 46 seconds apart in the second to get back in the game. Thompson crashed the net and chipped home a shot by Miles Gendron and just 12 seconds later the Huskies went on the power play and Karl El-Mir made it 3-2 at 4:48. Vermont pushed their lead back to two goals with a power play goal of their own at 9:53. After another goal from Thompson, UVM again had an answer making it 5-3 with just over five minutes to play. UConn pulled Nichols with under two minutes left for the extra attacker and it payed off with 1:17 left as Maxim Letunov buried one in front to pull within 5-4.
Game 2 (Jan. 27, 2017)
UConn goaltender Adam Huska made 34 saves to back the Huskies to a 3-1 win over Vermont. After a scoreless first period with UConn holding an 11-7 edge on shots in the first, Karl El-Mir ended the scoreless drought just 1:43 into the second period. The Huskies pushed their lead to 3-0 with goals by Johnny Austin and Kasperi Ojantakanen. Austin caught the Catamounts in a line change, grabbing a loose puck in the neutral zone and firing past Vermont goaltender Stefanos Lekkas from the point at 5:37. Ojantakanen shot a rebound from Spencer Naas to the far post at 16:28 to snatch the 3-0 lead. Vermont was able to put one past Huska on the power play at 17:32. The Catamounts ended the night with a 35-26 edge on shots but were 0-for-3 on the power play while Lekkas made 23 saves in taking the loss.
Scouting the Catamounts ...
The Catamounts picked up a 4-4 tie at home against New Hampshire on Saturday night, after losing a pair to Michigan the weekend prior. The Catamounts were picked to finish sixth in the Hockey East preseason poll. Last season, Vermont’s goaltender Stefanos Lekkas was ranked 10th in save percentage and fifth in winning percentage. His 2.56 goals against average was sixth among Hockey East goaltenders. Currently, Lekkas is sixth with a 2.83 goals against average among all Hockey East goaltenders. One of the top-returning scorers from last season is junior forward Brian Bowen who posted 27 points overall (12g/15a) last season. Also returning for the Catamounts is sophomore forward Ross Colton who also finished the season with 27 points (12g/15a).
Last Time Out ...
UConn was swept in their weekend series at Miami, falling 3-0 and 7-1 to the RedHawks in the first ever meetings between the two school. On Friday, the RedHawks built a 3-0 lead in the first period and then needed just 19 saves from goaltender Ryan Larkin to grab the shutout win. Miami senior defenseman Scott Dornbrock finished with a goal and an assist on the night. Sophomore Carson Meyer scored what proved to be the game-winner, just 3:52 into the game. Classmate Gordie Green capped the scoring at 9:07 in the first. On Saturday, the Huskies fell behind 2-0 after the first period but a late second period shorthanded goal from freshman Adam Karashik cut the lead in half heading into the third. Miami wasted little time taking control in the third, scoring the first of five goals in the period just 1:25 in. The RedHawks got two goals and an assist from senior defenseman Louie Belpedio while Green chipped in a goal and two helpers. Miami outshot the Huskies 44-18 in the win and finished the night 4-of-7 on the power play. Junior Kiefer Sherwood tacked on a power play goal and added an assist. In goal, Larkin stopped 17 shots to earn the win for the second-straight night. UConn’s Adam Huska made 28 saves before being pulled in the third. Senior Tanner Creel made nine saves in relief.