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Ice Chips …
The Huskies return home on Tuesday night for the first of two games to close out the first semester as they play host to the Massachusetts Minutemen in a Hockey East match-up.
UConn and UMass face-off on Friday night from the Mullins Center with the Minutemen erasing a 2-1 first period lead for the Huskies with three in the second on the way to a 4-2 win. The Huskies and Minutemen will face each other once more this season in the regular season finale, a February 22 match-up at the XL Center.
UConn took a 2-1 lead into the locker room on Friday night thanks to a pair of power play goals by sophomores Alexander Payusov and Benjamin Freeman. UMass answered with a big second period, outshooting the Huskies 18-5 and scoring three unanswered over the final 1:57.
The Husky power play has scored in four-straight games and is six-for-19 during that span (.316). On the season, the UConn power play is ranked fourth in Hockey East operating at a .207 clip (17/82).
Payusov has scored five times on the power play, tied for second in Hockey East. Payusov’s team-leading eight goals puts him sixth among the leagues goal scorers. He has scored in back-to-back games after returning from a nine-game absence (inj.).
Senior Jesse Schwartz had an assist in Friday’s loss, making it a career-best four-straight games with a point. Schwartz has six goals and three assists over his last eight games. He was named the runner-up for Hockey East Player of the Month for November.
Junior Maxim Letunov made it three-straight games with a point with an assist on Payusov’s first period goal on Friday. Letunov leads the Huskies in scoring with 14 points (3g/11a) and shares the team lead with senior Johnny Austin with 11 assists apiece.
Sophomore Benjamin Freeman registered his second goal of the season, getting a tip on Joseph Masonius shot against UMass. He snapped a 16-game drought without a goal dating back to the season opener at Maine.
The Huskies will host No. 16 nationally ranked Colgate on Friday night before breaking for exams and the holidays. The Huskies skated to a 4-4 (ot) tie last season at Colgate.
Scouting the Minutemen ...
After a weekend sweep of Quinnipiac, UMass made it three-straight with a 4-2 comeback win over UConn on Friday night. The Minutement have won four of their last five and are currently ninth in the Hockey East stadnings with a 3-3 league mark. Freshman Oliver Chau is leading the team with 14 points overall (6g/8a). Senior Niko Rufo shares the team lead with Chau with six goals scored apiece. Rufo has 11 points on the season (6g/5a). Defensively, goaltender Ryan Wischow is sixth among all Hockey East goaltenders with a 2.57 goals against average in seven games. Freshman goaltender, Matthew Murray has played in eight games for the season and has made 216 saves leaving him with a .894 save percentage. Wischow sports a .921 save percentage, fourth among league goaltenders.
Last Time Out ...
The University of Massachusetts used a late three-goal rally in the second period to erase a UConn first period lead and deal the Huskies a 4-2 Hockey East loss Friday night at the Mullins Center. UConn got a pair of first period power play goals from sophomores Alexander Payusov and Benjamin Freeman to lead 2-1 after the first period. UMass’ lone first period goal came off the stick of Josh Couoturier. The Minutemen titled the ice in the second period with an 18-5 edge on shots and took control late in the period putting together a three-goal run over a span of 1:18 to go up 4-2. Goals by George Mika, Jack Suter and Mitchell Chaffee fueled the second period charge for the Minutemen. The Huskies held the shot edge in the third, 11-6, and pulled goaltender Adam Huska with just over three minutes to play in the period but couldn’t crack sophomore Ryan Wischow who finished with 25 saves. Huska stopped 27 shots in taking the loss.