Ice Chips …
The UConn Huskies open up December with a Hockey East match-up Friday night at UMass, live on NESN. The Huskies will host the Minutemen at XL Center on Tuesday night in a return match-up.
UConn closed out November with three-straight wins after knocking off the No. 12 ranked Northeastern Huskies at home on Tuesday night, 4-1. The Huskies are 4-6-1 in the league and sit tied for fifth with nine points.
Tuesday’s win marked the fourth-straight game and fifth time in the last six the Huskies have allowed just one goal. UConn is 5-1-1 this season in games where they allow one goal or fewer.
Sophomore Alexander Payusov returned to the UConn line-up after missing nine games with a knee injury. Payusov scored in the third period of Tuesday’s win, his team leading seventh goal of the season.
Senior defenseman Johnny Austin had a three-point night against Northeastern, setting a new career-high and marking his fifth multi-point game this season and eighth of his career.
Austin has a team-leading 13 points (2g/11a) on the season, tying him with Maxim Letunov (3g/10a) for the team-lead in scoring. Both are tied for seventh in Hockey East in scoring.
Senior Jesse Schwartz extended his point streak to a career-best three-straight games with a goal and an assist against NU. Schwartz finished the month of November with six goals and two assists. It was his third multi-point game this season and seventh of his career.
Junior Maxim Letunov scored on Tuesday night, ending a seven-game drought without a goal. Letunov’s two-points give him four multi-point games this year and 22 for his career.
Sophomore goaltender Adam Huska picked-up his sixth win on the season and now has a 2.59 goals against average and a .911 save percentage over 18 games this season.
Over the last six games, Huska owns a 1.65 goals against with a .935 save percentage and is 3-2-1. During the month of November, Huska owned a 1.86 goals against average with a .929 save percentage.
Last Season vs. Massachusetts ...
Game 1 (Nov. 4, 2016)
The Huskies and Minutemen skated to a 2-2 tie at the Mullins Center in their first meeting of the season. UConn got a power play just 30 seconds into the game and needed only 22 seconds to open the scoring. Tage Thompson fed Maxim Letunov in the slot who buried a wrister on the power play. The Huskies made it 2-0 at 3:10 as Miles Gendron finished off a feed from Evan Richardson on a two-on-one with a one-timer. The Minutemen flipped the script on the Huskies in the second period, outshooting UConn 14-4. UMass cut the Huskies’ lead in half at 7:56, converting on a power play and knotted the game at 6:25 in the third when Kurt Keats buried one. The Huskies held a 3-1 edge on shots in the overtime session but UMass goaltender Ryan Wischow kept the game tied. After Letunov’s opening power play goal, the Huskies went 0-for-5 the rest of the night with the extra skater.
Game 2 (Dec. 9, 2016)
In the rematch in Hartford, UConn came away with a 3-1 win heading into the December break. UConn potted the first goal of the night at 7:38 on a Benjamin Freeman rebound goal. Tage Thompson made it 2-0 UConn at 3:40 of the second. He blasted a shot from the high point that was blocked and then collected the loose puck and found some open space in the slot, ripping home a wrist shot. The Minutemen ended the shutout and cut the lead in half with just under three minutes to play in the third on a Steven Iacobellis goal. UMass pulled the goaltender with just over a minute left but Thompson collected a puck at center ice and was able to fire into the empty net with four ticks left to seal away the win. UConn goaltender Adam Huska walked away with 24 saves in earning the win.
Scouting the Minutemen ...
UMass is coming off of weekend series where they swept Quinnipiac at home, 2-1 and 6-3. The Minutemen are 7-6-0 overall, 2-3 in Hockey East and ninth in the standings. Freshman Oliver Chau is leading the team with 13 points overall (6g/7a). Senior Niko Rufo shares the team lead with Chau with six goals scored apiece. Goaltender Ryan Wischow is ninth among all Hockey East goaltenders with a 2.67 goals against average in six games. Freshman goaltender, Matthew Murray has played in eight games for the season and has made 216 saves leaving him with a .894 save percentage. Winschow sports a .920 save percentage.
Last Time Out ...
The UConn Huskies got another stellar defensive effort Tuesday night on the way to upsetting the No. 12 nationally ranked Northeastern Huskies, 4-1, at the XL Center. It was the fourth-straight game and fifth time in the last six the Huskies have allowed just one goal. Four different Huskies found the back of the net in the win while sophomore Adam Huska posted 26 saves to earn the victory, his sixth of the season. UConn used another hot start, piling up three goals in the first period to solidify a lead they would never relinquish. Junior Maxim Letunov and seniors Johnny Austin and Jesse Schwartz all found the back of the net in the opening frame. Austin finished the night with a goal and two assists while both Letunov and Schwartz had a goal and an assist. Northeastern cut it to 3-1 in the second period thanks to a Dylan Sikura power play goal but UConn sealed it in the third as sophomore Alexander Payusov, who returned after missing the last nine games with a knee injury, scored his seventh goal of the season. NU held a 27-18 edge on the shot chart while both teams scored power play goals on the night.