UConn Hockey 2014 Preview: Huskies vs the Providence College Friars
The ice may be cold, but the Huskies are heating up as UConn prepares for their first season in the highly-competitive Hockey East Association with their debut coming this fall. The hockey team may be in a new league, but there are plenty of familiar programs that the University of Connecticut will face. Among those familiar programs is Providence College.
A mere 50 miles separates UConn from the Providence Friars.
UConn and Providence have met three times and the all-time series is tied at 1-1-1. The Huskies made history last season when they notched the programs first-ever win over a nationally ranked top-10 opponent thanks to a 3-2 win at #9 ranked Providence. UConn got a career-high 58 saves from senior Matt Grogan to fuel the upset victory over their future Hockey East opponent. The Friars outshot the Huskies 60-26 but Grogan proved up to the task, setting a new UConn Division I record for saves in a game. Down 1-0 in the first, UConn tied the game just before the end of the period as Ryan Tyson scored on a rebound for his fourth of the season. Patrick Kirtland scored just 1:33 in to the second to give UConn a lead they would never lose. Senior Billy Latta extended the lead to two-goals, creating a turnover and scoring on a break-away at 12:44 in the third period. Providence's two-goals came off the stick of Ross Mauermann.
The two teams also met in 2004-05, a Providence 4-3 win at home, and their first meeting took place in 2001-02, a 2-2 tie also at Schneider Arena.
Providence College Hockey Notes:
- Providence College is one of the founding members of Hockey East, entering their 31st season in 2014-15. The Friars have yet to win a Hockey East regular season championship but have twice captured Hockey East tournament titles. Providence won the first-ever Hockey East Tournament in 1985, beating regular season champ Boston College, 2-1 in overtime. The Friars won the tournament again in 1996, beating top-seed Boston University in the semifinal and the three-seed Maine in the championship game.
- Head Coach Nate Leaman will begin his fourth season at the helm of the Providence men's hockey program. Leaman guided the Friars back to the NCAA Tournament last season for the first time since 2001. In each of his first three years on the bench, Leaman has led Providence to the semifinals of the Hockey East Tournament. Prior to becoming the Friars head coach, Leaman spent eight seasons as the head man at Union. His 2010-11 Union squad captured the program's first-ever Cleary Cup as the ECAC regular season champion and first-ever trip to the NCAA Tournament. Leaman was named the 2011 Spencer Penrose Award winner, given to the Division I Men's Coach of the Year. He also served as the US World Junior Team assistant coach in 2007 and 2009.
- The Friars have made 10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, returning to the championship field in 2014 for the first time since 2001. The Friars have made six appearances in the NCAA Tournament since joining Hockey East in 1984-85. Providence was the #3 seed in the East Regional at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport last season. The Friars dealt #2 seed Quinnipiac a 4-0 defeat but fell to eventual national champion Union, 3-1, in the East Regional Final. Providence's best finish in an NCAA Tournament came in 1985 when they lost to RPI in the title game, 2-1.
- Providence plays their home games on campus at Schneider Arena. The arena opened in 1973 but recently underwent a renovation project that culminated with a re-opening last September.
- Providence finished the 2013-14 season 22-11-6 overall and 11-7-2 in Hockey East. The Friars were third in the final Hockey East standings and for the third-straight year advanced the semifinals of the league's tournament. The Friars swept Maine in a three-game series at home to advance to TD Garden and a semifinal match-up with New Hampshire. The Wildcats posted a 3-1 win but Providence's post-season run would continue with a NCAA Tournament berth.
- The Friars finished the season ranked ninth in the final USA Today/USA Magazine poll and 10th in the final USCHO.com poll.
- Forward Ross Mauermann led the Friars in scoring last season with 36 points coming on 19 goals with 17 assists. He was named the Hockey East Co-Defensive Forward of the Year as well as an honorable mention Hockey East All-Star. Mauermann was also named the winner of the Len Ceglarski Individual Sportsmanship Award.
- Providence incoming freshman defenseman Jake Walman (Toronto, Ontario) was selected in the third round, 82nd overall, by the St. Louis Blues in the NHL Entry Draft held this past June. Future Friar Hayden Hawkey (Parker, Colo.), a goaltender, was drafted by the Montreal Canadians in the sixth round, 177th overall. Hayden will join Providence for the 2015-16 season.
- Senior forward Ross Mauermann and r-junior forward Noel Acciari were named team captains for the Friars for the 2014-15 season.
Providence College Facts:
- Feb. 4th – vs. Providence – XL Center
- Feb. 7th – at Providence – Schneider Arena
- All-Time Series – Tied, 1-1-1
- First Meeting – Jan. 18, 2002 at Providence (Schneider Arena), UConn 2 – PC 2
- Last Meeting – Feb. 11, 2014 at Providence (Schneider Arena), UConn 3 - #9 PC 2
- Joined Hockey East – 1984-85 (30 seasons)
- Hockey East Titles – 0
- 2013-14 Record/Finish – 11-7-2 / 3rd place
Portions of this article may contain materials or information provided courtesy of Hockey East and the UConn Huskies athletic department.