By Mark Fraenkel
After splitting a series with the Michigan Wolverines, the Boston University men’s hockey team (2-1-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) returns to Agganis Arena to host the University of Connecticut Huskies (5-0-1, 2-0-0 HE) for their first two conference games of the year.
This weekend’s series will serve as a reunion of sorts, as former Terrier Ty Amonte returns to Commonwealth Avenue and associate head coach Joe Pereira faces his old team.
“Ty was very well-liked here,” head coach Jay Pandolfo said in his Thursday media call. “So I’m sure [the team is] excited about it.”
Pandolfo joked he wanted to utilize Pereira’s knowledge of the UConn roster to his advantage.
“I told Joe it’s on him–– he’s doing it all,” Pandolfo said. “Obviously [he] knows how they play. He’s just trying to help all with any local adjustments we can make against some of the things they do.”
Both BU and UConn enter Friday night off of wins over BIG 10 teams. The Terriers bounced back from a 9-2 loss to Michigan last Friday night by beating the Wolverines 3-2 on Sunday night. The Huskies beat Ohio State 6-1 at the XL Center on Saturday night. The night before, they tied the Buckeyes 0-0.
Pandolfo said what his group learned from the Michigan trip will help prepare them for the UConn game and beyond.
“I think it’s going to help our team moving forward here,” the head coach said. “UConn plays a very physical game, very structured game, so our guys will be ready for it. And I think it was a good test for our freshmen last week to see that, you know, it’s tough every weekend, every opponent, you know, has a different challenge”
After dealing with a hamstring problem from last weekend, junior goaltender Drew Commesso is unlikely to play in Friday’s game –– Pandolfo said he has yet to join the team for practice. Junior goaltender Vinny Duplessis is likely to start between the pipes.
The Huskies have two options in goal. Arsenii Sergeev and Logan Terness each played a game in the Ohio State series. With only one goal allowed all weekend, head coach Mike Cavanaugh might need some more time to decide how he plans to divide playing time going forward.
With their sweep of the University of Vermont during the first weekend of the season, UConn currently stands atop the Hockey East standings. BU has yet to play any Hockey East competition.
“Now getting into our Hockey East schedule, I think that we want to certainly get off on the right foot,” Pandolfo said. “Being at home right away, I think it’s gonna help us play a tough opponent who hasn’t lost a game yet.”
The puck will drop at 7:00pm on both Friday and Saturday night at Agganis Arena. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage of the series so make sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.