The UConn Huskies head to Columbus, Ohio for their first-ever meeting with the Ohio State Buckeyes. This will be the third-straight season the Huskies will be squaring off against a team from the Big Ten, going 0-1-1 at Penn State in 2014-15 and losing at Minnesota last year.
The Huskies have lost just twice this season but are coming off their fourth tie on the year, a 2-2 effort in a Hockey East match-up at UMass last Friday night.
UConn scored twice in the first three minutes against the Minutemen but were held off the scoreboard the rest of the way en route to grabbing a point against UMass.
Sophomore Maxim Letunov scored his third goal on the season, his second on the power play. Classmate Miles Gendron notched his first goal of the season at UMass and is the 12th different Husky to score a goal this season.
Defensively, UConn is fourth in Hockey East allowing 2.44 goals per game. The penalty killing unit is second in the league, killing at a 89.1 percentage (41-46) and ranks 11th in the nation.
The Huskies are coming off a game where they committed a season-high eight penalties but are still one of the fewest penalized teams in Hockey East. UConn is averaging 12.33 penalty minutes per game, second fewest in the league.
UConn is second in the league in blocking shots, averaging 14.89 per game. Junior Johnny Austin leads the way with 22 blocked shots, tied for second in the league averaging 2.44 per game.
Freshman goaltender Adam Huska is off to a strong start to his collegiate career. After stopping 47 saves to beat Notre Dame on the road, 4-2, Huska made 23 stops to preserve a 2-2 tie at UMass. Huska has played in four games and owns a 2.40 goals against average and a .935 save percentage. He ranks second in Hockey East and ninth nationally in save percentage.
Sophomore Karl El-Mir has had at least a point in six of the eight games this season and has seven points on four goals and three assists. El-Mir shares the team leads in goals scored with Tage Thompson, Spencer Naas and Evan Richardson.
SCOUTING THE BUCKEYES
The Ohio State Buckeyes come into the weekend ranked No. 14 in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey polls with a 5-1-3 overall record. The Buckeyes are coming off a 0-1-1 weekend with Robert Morris where they lost to the Colonials at home, 6-2, and tied on the road in Pittsburgh, 4-4. The loss to RMU ended a four-game winning streak and a seven-game unbeaten streak that kicked-off their season. The Buckeyes have the top-scoring offense in the Big Ten at 4.44 goals per game, ranking third nationally. Freshman Tanner Laczynski leads the team and is second in the conference in scoring with 12 points on three goals and nine assists. Junior Matthew Weis is right on his heels with 11 points (5g/6a) while senior Nick Schilkey has eight goals to lead the league. Senior Matt Tomkins has a 2.64 goals against average, a .900 save percentage and a 4-1-3 record in eight games played this year.
UCONN VS THE BIG TEN
The Huskies are 2-4-1 all-time versus teams that play in the Big Ten Conference.
UConn has faced teams from the Big Ten in each of the last two seasons. The Huskies split a two-game series at Penn State to open the 2014-15 season, skating to a 2-2 tie and losing 7-1, and loss at Minnesota, 3-2, in last season’s Mariucci Classic.
The Huskies have faced the Nittany Lions more than any other Big Ten team, posting a 2-1-1 mark.
In other match-ups, UConn lost to then #5 ranked Michigan, 7-5, during the 2006-07 season and fell to Wisconsin, 8-1, at home way back in the 1966-67 season.
After this weekend’s two-game series with the Buckeyes, Michigan State will be the only team left the Huskies have never faced from the league.