Central Connecticut and Providence among UConn Club Hockey opponents
The UConn men's club ice hockey team has a pair of end of the week games on its docket, the first tonight against Central Connecticut State University (CCSU), and the second tomorrow evening against Providence College. The Huskies, who currently hold a record of 17-6 under the leadership of first year head coach Chris Myers, have five games remaining on their 2012 regular season schedule.
"We've played CCSU twice this year, so we know what to expect," Myers said. "They play physical and with a lot of energy, so we need to match them and capitalize on our opportunities. This will be our first time playing Providence, but as long as we are ready and focused on defense, we should put up a good game and hopefully get the win."
In the most recent American College Hockey Association (ACHA) Division 2 power ranking, the Huskies ranked fifth in the Northeast region. The top two ranked teams from each region at the end of the season earn an automatic bid to the ACHA National Tournament, while the teams ranked third through tenth earn a trip to the Regional Playoffs in late February. The first place and runner-up teams at the regional playoffs fill the final two spots in the national tournament, which takes place in mid-March.
"Including this weekend, we have five games left," Myers said. "Next weekend will be a big test for us. We play three games, one at Boston College on Friday night, one at NYU on Saturday night and one on Sunday against UMass. If we finish [the season] strong, we should make Regionals."
The team returned from the winter break and embarked on a series of "tune-up" games in early January, squaring off against Sacred Heart, Army and Eastern Connecticut. Myers' squad is coming off hard-fought weekend double-header in Fort Myers, Fla., during which UConn dropped a pair of contests against Florida Gulf Coast University.
"We had a tough weekend last week in Fort Myers. We lost both games, Friday in overtime," Myers said. "I think it was a long trip for the boys, and they did battle hard so I'm not too concerned with the outcomes. We just need to move on and focus on the rest of the season."
The Huskies are in prime position to make a run at a National Tournament berth, as even the worst-case scenario places UConn squarely in the mix to qualify for the Regional Playoffs. Boston College and NYU each pose a challenge, as both were ranked inside the top ten in the most recent Northeast region power poll. But Myers is confident that his team will reach the light at the end of the tunnel.
"We've definitely grown as a team and we play for one another. We understand that every night we need to bring energy to the rink and win battles if we want to stay on top," Myers said. "All of the boys have improved over the course of the season, and I'm hoping we can peak for Regionals and hopefully make a run to the National Tournament."
The puck for the CCSU game drops tonight at 9 p.m. in the Freitas Ice Forum, while tomorrow night's matchup will get underway at 8 p.m. in Providence.
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