Come Get a Glimpse of what Hockey East will be Like

You can see a vivid on-ice representation of UConn’s march toward Hockey East membership this Saturday, as the Men’s Hockey Huskies skate against Air Force prior to the Whale’s get-together with the defending Calder Cup-champion Norfolk Admirals.

It will be two years before the Men’s Huskies officially join Hockey East, but it’s never too early to start getting excited about a big move like this, and it will be cool to get a taste of what the college hockey atmosphere will be like inside the XL Center, with the band and cheerleaders, etc. being added to the natural excitement of the game itself.

Even though Saturday’s game will not be a Hockey East contest, if you haven’t seen a lot of college hockey, it will be a good indication of how high the level of play is in Division I, and I think you will be presently surprised by how fast and entertaining the play is.  And Hockey East will be an even higher level.

Hockey East has always been a good league, but it has really risen to preeminence recently in the college hockey world, producing four of the last five men’s national champions.  One look at the Whale roster will give you a good idea of the caliber of players currently coming out of Hockey East, with Boston College product Chris Kreider, a 2009 Rangers first-rounder, skating the wing and Matt Gilroy, who won a national title at B.U. before going straight to the NHL, patrolling the blue line.  Also, in the current NCAA Men’s Hockey rankings, two of the top three teams, #1 B.C. and #3 University of New Hampshire, are Hockey East squads, and B.U. checks in at #10.

Hockey East will be a huge step up for UConn, but the Huskies have picked up their record the past two years, and have won two of their last three games this season coming into this weekend, including a road win over a Hockey East foe, Merrimack.  And they will get a good test Saturday at the XL Center (and Friday night in Storrs) from the Falcons, who are 2-1-1 in Atlantic Hockey play and whose junior goaltender, Jason Torf, has the third-best goals-against average (2.36) and fourth-best save percentage (92.2) among Atlantic Hockey backstops.

UConn’s top threat is senior forward Sean Ambrosie, who had three goals and two assists for five points in the first eight games, and fellow senior Garrett Bartus has played every minute in the Husky net, compiling a 2.73 GAA and a 91.8% save percentage.

UConn forward Sean Ambrosie

If you’re looking to get a head start on following Hockey East, it looks like, even with losing Kreider and second-leading goal-scorer Barry Almeida, who was just sent to the ECHL by Springfield, off of last year’s NCAA title team, the B.C. Eagles are the powerhouse again.  UNH is a bit of a surprise, after a rare losing season last year and the departure of leading scorer Steve Moses, who joined the Whale after the end of the Wildcats’ campaign. Goaltending, though, clearly has been a key, with Casey DeSmith, only a sophomore, sporting the second-best goals-against average (1.19) and save percentage (96.1) in the entire nation.  B.C.’s Johnny Gaudreau, a 5-7, 150-pound sophomore dynamo, leads the league in goals with seven, and is tied for tops in points (14) with Merrimack’s Mike Collins, an undrafted Junior whom UConn held off the scoresheet, and limited to one shot on goal, in their win over the Warriors.

 

 

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One Response to “Come Get a Glimpse of what Hockey East will be Like”

  1. chris Says:

    kolorik with the hatty last night. and mabey people wont think or realize this. but it was a natural hatty

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