UConn men's hockey to play Niagara twice
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 1, 2012 23:11
The UConn men’s hockey team travels to upstate New York for a two-game series today and tomorrow with Atlantic Hockey Association foe Niagara.
The last time the Huskies took the ice, they shocked many college hockey spectators by controlling play and having a larger physical presence on the ice than No. 8 Union, a 2012 Frozen Four participant, as UConn managed a 2-2 tie at the Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies had the lead with less than 10 minutes to go, but Union was able to equalize on a rocket of a shot from the blue line, forcing the game to an overtime in which UConn held off the Dutchmen.
The tie against Union was UConn’s first positive result of the season. The Huskies first two games were losses to UMass-Amherst and Holy Cross, UConn’s first AHA game of the year.
Now into November, the Huskies are entering into a schedule dominated by AHA play. With five months of hockey remaining in the 2012-13 season, only five of UConn’s upcoming games are against teams from outside the AHA.
UConn will be looking to improve on last year’s conference campaign, during which the Huskies finished 8th in the conference and were eliminated in the conference tournament quarterfinals. Their opponents for the weekend, Niagara, finished second in the conference standings last year, but were eliminated by Rochester Institute of Technology in the tournament semifinals.
One thing that UConn will be looking to improve going into this weekend is special teams, particularly the power play. Against Union, the Huskies failed to get off a shot on any of their three attempts with a man advantage. However, head coach Bruce Marshall is not particularly concerned.
“Those things are streaky,” Marshall said after Saturday’s game against Union. “You could get three [power play goals] one night and all of a sudden your power play percentage goes from nine to 18 [percent]. A good power play is like 25 percent or 20 percent and that’s 1-5. So that’s still four times you got snuffed on it during the night. It’ll come. I thought they moved the puck well. I thought we contained it in there well and they created some stuff and if you do that you’re making teams a little nervous, so I thought we got better on that than as opposed to last night.”
In last season’s two-game series between the two teams in Storrs, the Huskies swept the Purple Eagles, winning the two games by a combined total score of 6-2.
Niagara is 2-2-3 on the season. Their only AHA game so far was a 2-1 win over Mercyhurst.
Both games begin at 7 p.m. and can be heard live on WHUS 91.7 FM.