By Mark Fraenkel
After splitting series with Boston College and bottom of the league University of Maine, the Boston University men’s hockey team (19-12-3, 13-8-3 Hockey East) is set to travel to Hartford, Connecticut on Saturday to face the University of Connecticut Huskies (18-15-0, 14-10-0 HE).
The two teams have met three times this season. Back in October, the Terriers split their home-and-home series with the Huskies. BU won the Friday night game against UConn with goals from junior forward Sam Stevens and junior forward Robert Mastrosimone.
However, on the next night, UConn beat BU at Agganis Arena. Sophomore forward Ryan Tverberg scored two goals for the Huskies in a 5-1 win that served as the first loss in the beginning of the season characterized by less than ideal play by the Terriers. In their final meeting in the regular season in January, the Terriers beat the Huskies 2-1 in overtime.
The Terriers have struggled since their no regulation loss streak, which began in December, ended. BU fell to BC at Conte Forum on Feb. 3. Then, the Terriers suffered their worst loss of the season in the final weekend of the season. BU fell to the worst team in Hockey East, Maine, by the largest margin all year.
The Huskies have not looked much better down the stretch, having dropped three of their last four games. UConn lost both of their games in the penultimate series of the season to the nationally ranked Northeastern team. In the final weekend of the series, the Huskies split the weekend with the University of Vermont Catamounts.
In the Saturday win, UConn was powered by goals from sophomore defenseman John Spetz, sophomore forward Artem Shlaine, senior forward Carter Turnbulll, and freshman defenseman Jake Veilleux. Graduate student Darion Hanson made 12 saves in the win.
Both the Huskies and the Terriers score 3.1 goals per game on average. Similarly, UConn only allows 0.1 more goals per game on average, as Mike Cavanaugh’s team lets in 2.6 goals per game on average compared with the 2.5 goals per game allowed by Albie O’Connell’s team.
The winner of Saturday’s game will play in the Hockey East semifinals at the T.D. Garden on Friday, March 8. The winner of that game will head to the Hockey East championship which will also be played at the T.D. Garden on Saturday, March 19. The NCAA will announce the 16 team field for the national tournament on Sunday, March 20.
The puck will drop at 4:30 at UConn on Saturday afternoon. We’ll have full coverage of the competition on the blog as well as on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.