With the XL Center new or transformed arena plans still fresh in everyones mind, 6,887 entered the arena for what was probably UConns biggest game, standings wise, of the 11 they play at the XL Center this season.
The Huskies are in a Red Sox like season especially when it comes to their set of games at the XL Center. Much like the Red Sox have done in their history, they start off red hot and play above expectations but by the time the playoff talk arrives; injuries, bumps, bruises and the grind of a long season take their toll on a team. UConn is headed down that direction now, evidenced by some critical losses recently home at the XL Center. Last night UConn fell to the University of New Hampshire 4-1 in what felt like a repeat performance of the Northeastern game, UConn lost 5-1.
Earlier in the season UConn shocked big programs like Boston College and UMass-Lowell but lately they have struggled as the season comes to a close against Northeastern and the University of New Hampshire. Hockey East games are never an easy match, especially for UConn, this is their first year in the league and they have about half as many scholarship players as other Hockey East programs. Still it wasn’t crazy to think that UConn would be able to handle the University of New Hampshire and possible Northeastern as well. UConn appears to have lost a step or two in their hustle, muscle and overall intense defense. Goalie Rob Nichols is in situations where too many quality opportunities are developing allowing for other teams to put UConn’s offensive abilities far out of reach. The one ugly stat for UConn at the XL Center is they have never scored three goals. Once an opposing team scores 3 goals it puts UConn’s comeback hopes at a minimum.
UConn has one game left at the XL Center unless they secure that 8th spot in the Hockey East. An 8th spot in Hockey East guarantees them three home playoff games at the XL Center on March 6,7,8. UConn can thank Northeastern for beating Maine. Maine is tied with UConn for that final 8th home playoff spot.
There is still hope UConn can get it done but they sue could use help. UConn plays New Hampshire tonight and then closes out the season at the XL Center against UMass-Amhearst. They most likely will need to win both to keep that 8th spot. In order to win both games they are going to have to play the end of their season more like the more recent Red Sox teams. If UConn can reenergize they have a chance to make a little Hockey East playoff noise in our Capital City and if you are a Hartford Hockey fan there is nothing better than that.
Wolf Pack ground Falcons….again
The Pack have been able to shift on the fly, adjusting fairly well to the new goaltending battery of Yann Danis and Jeff Malcolm. The Pack are 3-4-1 since Mackenzie Skapski was called up to the New York Rangers. Jeff Malcolm has played well, earning three victories in a row, his third was last night. The Pack have stacked two wins against Albany recently and last nights win put them one point above Springfield for fourth place overall in the Eastern Conference. They haven’t lost to Springfield since the day after Christmas.
They play at home tomorrow against Wilkes Barre Scranton at 3p.m. but they are on the road playing the Leehigh Valley Phantoms tonight.
You can listen to the voice of the Wolf Pack, Bob Crawford, call the game on FOX SPORTS RADIO 1410AM.
UConn has been outscored 9-2 in their last two games at the XL Center.
In ten games at the XL Center UConn is 4-3-3
Mackenzie Skapski earned a win in his NHL debut against the Buffalo Sabres. Skapski has won his first NHL game and his first AHL game, a 3-0 win against Norfolk on October 26, in the same season.