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Terriers set to meet UConn in clash of Hockey East’s hottest

Senior forward Patrick Curry, shown in the Feb. 10 Beanpot Final against Northeastern University, leads the Terriers with 16 goals on the season as they head into a home-and-home series against the University of Connecticut Huskies. JENNA VANSICKLE/ DFP FILE

The Boston University men’s hockey team has won four of its last six conference games. Only two other teams in Hockey East have had a better run of results, and BU will take on one of them this weekend: the University of Connecticut.

The Huskies (12-13-4, 9-8-2 Hockey East) won five conference contests in a row from mid-January to last weekend before the University of Maine fought back for a 1-0 overtime win Saturday. The Terriers (12-9-8, 9-5-5 Hockey East) had a hiccup of their own against Merrimack College two weeks back but then rebounded with a two-game sweep of the University of New Hampshire this past weekend, victorious by scores of 4-1 and 3-1.

These hot streaks have helped both teams climb up the Hockey East table, which remains as close as ever — nine of the conference’s 11 teams are separated by just five points. BU currently sits in third place and is a single point off of a current two-way tie for first between the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Boston College, while UConn is holding on to the last playoff spot, just one point ahead of ninth-place UNH.

BU head coach Albie O’Connell said he likes where his team is with just five games left on the regular season schedule, but knows his Terriers must finish strong.

“We’re happy to be where we are, we’ve got not too many games left, so every point counts,” O’Connell said. “Things can change quickly so we’re just worried about going down to UConn and playing a good game.”

Graduate goaltender Sam Tucker won back the BU crease last weekend with 56 saves on 58 shots in his first consecutive pair of starts since the first two games of 2020. His 2.55 goals-against average and .915 save percentage outduel the numbers of his likely counterpart this weekend, as UConn sophomore goaltender Tomas Vomacka has a 3.26 GAA and .897 save percentage.

Freshman forward Vladislav Firstov leads the Huskies with 11 goals and 22 points this season, while sophomore forward Carter Turnbull is close behind with ten goals. BU, on the other hand, has been led by its veterans. Senior forward Patrick Curry leads the team with 16 goals and junior defenseman David Farrance has a BU-best 37 points.

BU hasn’t played UConn yet this season, but from what O’Connell has seen from afar, he said the Huskies could present a challenge.

“Watching them on video, they’re pretty scary up front,” he said. “We’re going to have to bring our ‘A’ game to win.”

BU and UConn will kick off the weekend at Hartford’s XL Center Friday at 7 p.m. before the series will be settled at Agganis Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m. The Boston Hockey Blog will have coverage of both games online at hockey.dailyfreepress.com and on Twitter at @BOShockeyblog.

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