Our Huskies take on the copycat Huskies this week as Northeastern looks to lock up the sixth seed in the Hockey East tournament*. The UConn Huskies have been terrible, while the Northeastern Huskies have been fantastic. But, let’s humor them and take a look at who’s across the ice.
So, first of all, let’s revisit last year’s series. Northeastern relegated UConn back to the worst conference in Division I men’s hockey (or at least they should have). I think we’re all lucky that Rob Nichols didn’t quit right on the spot. That would have been a truly tragic end to what was a promising young career. Roy and Aston-Reese danced on his grave, each a hat trick in the same game. Arguably even worse, they followed up that performance with a game in which they let Torin Snydeman and Adam Reid each score twice.
For all who were expecting anything more from UConn, I have bad news for you. The other Huskies’ only wins in the last two months have come against powerhouses Arizona State, Maine, and Brown. Not one of those teams is outside of the bottom ten in the country. Average rank? 55. But wait, it gets worse.
UConn ranks in the bottom five nationwide in close CF%. Their 41.1% is astonishingly bad. They’re 4.6% (a ton) behind next worst Hockey East team, New Hampshire. Last year’s only bright spot, Nichols (bless his soul), now has a middling .912 save percentage. The fact that UConn has only the third worst and fourth worst scoring offense and defense respectively doesn’t do justice to how bad they’ve been, and may say more about the depth of terribleness of the bottom of the conference than anything. Despite Max Letunov’s and Tage Thompson’s best efforts, the team is also in that same range on the powerplay, although they have been (slightly) better on the penalty kill.
Yes, UConn does have that weird thing that it seems to do where it beats far better teams, seemingly at random. They beat BU and swept Lowell this year. But that’s nothing to be scared of. This team is terrible. Northeastern is on fire right now. Will it be a repeat of last year’s massacre? Maybe not. Will it be worse? Only time will tell. #PrayForNichols
*Is the T in Hockey East (T)tournament capitalized? Asking for a friend.