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The Huskies open a three-game home stand at the XL Center this week starting Tuesday night against the Rensselaer Engineers in a non-conference match-up. UConn is looking to rebound from a 2-0 loss to in-state rival Sacred Heart last time out, their first time being shutout this season. The RPI Engineers come to downtown Hartford after falling to ECAC foe Quinnipiac, 3-1, on Saturday to close four-straight at home. Tuesday's game is the second of four against Hockey East teams this season for RPI. The Engineers knocked of Notre Dame, 3-2, to open their season.
UConn vs. Rensselaer All-Time Series... The RPI Engineers have never lost in the all-times series, posting a 2-0-2 mark. The two teams last met in the RPI Holiday Tournament in 2010, a 6-5 Engineer win. The Huskies skated to a 4-4 tie at RPI in the first ever-meeting during the 2003-04 season. Tuesday's game will be the first home game for UConn in the series.
- With a 2-0 loss to Sacred Heart, the Huskies are 1-2-0 against their fellow Nutmeg State schools this season. UConn and SHU could face each other again this season as part of the Frozen Holiday Classic at Webster Bank Arena in late December.
- The penalty killing unit is third in the Hockey East and 12th in the nation, killing at a .900 percentage (36-40). The Huskies enter the week having killed off 15-straight power plays.
- UConn will play their first return match-ups as member of Hockey East this weekend. The Huskies fell at Vermont 2-1 back in October and will host the #11/10 Catamounts Friday at 5:35 pm. UConn skated to a 4-4 tie at Boston University two weeks ago and welcome the #3/2 Terriers to the XL Center Saturday afternoon for a 3:35 pm matinee.
- The Huskies are tops in the country at blocking shots, averaging 18.3 per game. Senior Jacob Poe has a team-high 23 blocks (2.56 pg), first in Hockey East and 13th in the nation.
- Sophomore goaltender Rob Nichols is ranked third in Hockey East and 13th nationally in save percentage (.934). His 2.14 goals against average puts him sixth among league leaders and 23rd in the country.
- The line of freshman Spencer Naas, junior Shawn Pauly and senior Trevor Gerling has been together for five games and has produced a team best 11 points (5g-6a-11p). The trio had nine points (4g-5a-9p) the 4-4 tie at Boston University.
Scouting the Engineers... The Rensselaer Engineers come into Tuesday's match-up at 5-7-0 and 4-2-0 in the ECAC. After knocking off Notre Dame, 3-2, in their season opener, the Engineers dropped five-straight but are 4-2-0 in their last six. RPI started their run with a weekend sweep over then No. 2 ranked Union, winning 6-1 at home and beating the defending national champions 2-1 in overtime on the road. The Engineers are coming off a 3-1 win over Princeton on Friday and a 3-1 loss to No. 20 ranked Quinnipiac on Saturday. Freshman Lou Nanne and junior Mark Miller lead the team with seven points apiece on the season. Nanne is tops on the team with four goals. The Engineers have struggled killing penalties so far this season, coming in at .759 (44/58) and allowing 14 power play goals. In net RPI is led by junior Jason Kasdorf who has started 11 of the 12 games and posted 2.31 goals against average with a .922 save percentage.
Last Meeting with Rensselaer... The UConn Huskies built a 4-2 third period but couldn't hold on as the No. 17 ranked RPI Engineers stormed back for a 6-5 win in opening round of the 2010 RPI Holiday Tournament. The Huskies got a pair of goals from sophomore Sean Ambrosie while classmate Garrett Bartus stopped 35 shots in net for UConn. Ambrosie scored the only goal of the first period and then made it 2-0 UConn with his second at 9:13 of the second period. The Engineers closed out the second with goals by Alex Angers-Goulet and Bryan Brutlag to send the game into the final stanza, tied 2-2. The Huskies grabbed the lead back at 2:37 of the third on an Andrew Olson goal and pushed their lead back to two goals on a Daniel Naurato tally at 6:34. The Engineer offense erupted for three goals in a 3:13 stretch to erase the Husky lead and take the lead back. Tyler Helfrich started the rally at 9:47 and Chase Polacek followed just 1:34 later to tie the game. Angers-Goulet completed the run with his second of the day, coming unassisted at 11:25. The Huskies rallied once again as rookie Billy Latta scored his first collegiate goal at the 15:57 mark from Naurato and Stevie Bergin to knot the game at 5-5. The momentum was short lived however as UConn's Marcello Ranallo was called for interference at 16:11 and RPI took advantage as Polacek buried his second of the night at 16:33 on the power play for the game-winner.
Last Time Out... Sacred Heart senior goaltender Andrew Bodnarchuk made 29 saves to deal the UConn Huskies their first shutout loss of the season, 2-0, from The Taft School in Watertown, Conn. The Pioneers jumped out in front in the early minutes of the first period and produced the only goal they would need on the night. Senior Ben Lake fed a pass out front to classmate Drew George who shoveled his shot past UConn goaltender Rob Nichols at the left post for a 1-0 lead at 3:26. The Sacred Heart defense put the clamps on from there in front of Bodnarchuk, limiting the Huskies chances and getting sticks and bodies in front of plenty of shots. The Huskies finished the first period with a 14-9 edge on shots but came up empty. In the second period, the Huskies had three power play opportunities but could not get the puck past Bodnarchuk as Nichols turned in 10 saves in the period to keep it a one-goal game. The Huskies couldn't find the equalizer in the third and pulled Nichols with just over a minute to play for the extra attacker. SHU's Erlich Doerksen broke up a pass and Justin Danforth fed Luczyk up the left boards into the neutral zone where he was able to glide up the wing lifting a shot in to the empty net for the clincher at 19:18, 2-0. The shutout loss was the first for the Huskies this season and the first since falling to Robert Morris in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals last season, 3-0. UConn was shutout three times last season; one came at the hands of the Pioneers, 3-0, in the UConn Holiday Tournament at the XL Center. UConn's Nichols made 27 saves in taking the loss.
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