By Gillian McMahon
After a dominating weekend sweep versus Arizona State University, the Boston University Terriers (9-9-3, 5-5-3 HE) look to extend their win streak this Friday in an important Hockey East matchup as they face the University of Connecticut Huskies (9-8-0, 6-4-0 HE) on the road.
Following a combined 12 goals over the two-game series, notably including freshman forward Tristan Amonte’s first career goal, and two goals in 65 seconds by sophomore forward Luke Tuch, the Terriers expect to continue that strong effort into their final game of winter break.
Friday’s game marks the third matchup between the Terriers and the Huskies of the 2021-2022 season. BU played a home-and-home series with UConn to mark the start of the year in early October that resulted in a 2-1 victory in Hartford, and then a disappointing 5-1 home opener loss at Agganis. The Terriers are certainly in a very different place than they were in October.
The first half of the Terriers’ season was marked by ups and downs and inconsistent play but as players have been returning to the lineup healthy and focused, the outlook of the team is looking up.
Most recently, before the holiday break, the Terriers tied Comm Ave rival Boston College in front of an electric crowd at Agganis (3-3, OT SOL) and then lost an exhibition matchup against the US Under-18 Team which included many future Terriers (3-4).
Since then, the Terriers have put together a string of three solid victories including a New Year’s Eve win at Brown University (5-1), and two strong performances against Arizona State last Friday (7-1) and Saturday night (5-2). The Terriers will face a UConn team also dealing with consistency issues after coming off a 5-4 victory over the then-ranked No. 18 Boston College on January 8th and then following up with a 1-3 loss against American International College on Tuesday night.
As both teams are putting up high scoring numbers as of late, a few key playmakers to look out for include sophomore forward Ryan Tverberg and senior forward Jachym Kondelik for the Huskies, and junior forward Robert Mastrosimone and junior defensemen Dominick Fensore for the Terriers. Tverberg leads the Huskies with 17 points (9g, 8a) on the year while Kondelik has 15 (5g, 10a). For the Terriers, Fensore has a team high 17 points (3g, 14a) whereas Mastrosimone trails close behind with 15 (6g, 9a).
Another key Terrier to watch is freshman defenseman Ty Gallagher who was awarded Hockey East Rookie of the Week for the second time this season. He scored on the second period power play Friday night against ASU as well as opening up the scoring in the first period of Saturday night’s game.
Friday’s matchup is an important point in the season for both BU and UConn with the start of the second academic semester nearing, thoughts of the postseason push, and many key Hockey East matchups are left to play for both teams.
The Huskies have put up some positive wins against notable teams this season, and are currently tied with BU, each with 17 points in the Hockey East standings. If the Terriers keep up their improved aggressive play and teamwork that has proven successful over the past few weeks, they should be prepared to put up a strong road effort against a solid UConn team.
The puck is set to drop at 7:05 p.m. on Friday from the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Coverage and updates can be found live on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog. There will be a post game recap here on the blog following the game.