The Forecheck: UConn men's hockey has to learn not to lose

The Huskies' habit of falling behind early and making back-breaking mistakes will limit their ceiling even if the offense turns things around.

Photo: Ian Bethune

Welcome to the UConn Hockey Hub newsletter, which catches you up on all the stories, trends, and anything else you might have missed, along with some quick takes and leftover notes from the weekend.

UConn men's hockey has to learn not to lose

On Saturday, UConn men’s hockey suffered a familiar feeling: It played well against No. 4 Boston College but couldn’t score and lost, 3-0. It’s easy to blame the Huskies’ struggles on an offense that disappears on a routine basis, but their problems go deeper than that. Namely, they have a few bad habits that have cost them in nearly every loss.

UConn has almost exclusively started from behind. The Huskies have allowed the opening goal in eight straight games and in 12 of 14 contests. They’ve committed the first penalty all but four times.

Almost every time out, the Huskies dig themselves a hole and then try to climb out of it. There’s a reason they’re 2-0-0 when they light the lamp first and just 3-8-1 when they don’t.

That impacts the offense — especially when it’s as fickle as this one. When trailing, the goals are a lot harder to come by and there’s more pressure on every shot. If UConn played from ahead, it wouldn’t be pressing to tie the game or cut into a deficit.

On the other end of the ice, the Huskies have generally been a stout defensive team but commits back-breaking turnovers with regularity. In a 1-0 loss to Holy Cross, the lone goal came off a brutal giveaway from Jake Percival in the defensive zone. At Union, UConn fought back to tie the game in the third period, then promptly gave up a power play goal and a breakaway goal en route to a 4-1 loss. In the win against Vermont, the Catamounts’ two scores came courtesy of turnovers by the Huskies’ defensemen.

Then this weekend against the Eagles, UConn lost in overtime on Friday because Chase Bradley sent an errant puck towards goal that bounced off Ethan Haider and went in then on Saturday, the Eagles scored their first goal on a 2v0 that started because Jake Flynn fired a shot into a skate on the blue line.

For as bad as the Huskies’ offense is, they still need to learn how to win. And before they can get there, they have to learn how not to lose. Until that happens, it won’t matter if UConn starts scoring goals. Those self-inflicted mistakes will put a cap on the team’s ceiling.

Week in review


Game coverage


  • Tage Thompson is expected to miss at least a month with wrist injury.

Three stars

First star: Megan Warrener

The net-minder started both games this past weekend against Holy Cross and allowed just a single goal on 32 shots. In five starts, Warrener owns a ridiculous 0.41 GAA and .980 save percentage.

Second star: Jada Habisch

After hitting the post twice on Friday night, Habisch finally broke through with the game-tying goal on Saturday. She then added an assist on Camryn Wong’s eventual game-winner and is up to eight goals and 11 points on the year — both of which lead the team.

Third star: Chris MacKenzie

UConn women’s hockey has won eight straight games and vaulted atop the Hockey East standings after a six-point weekend against Holy Cross. The Huskies are rolling.

Play of the Week

Ice-cold capture

Photo: Ian Bethune

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The week ahead

UConn women’s hockey will head to New Haven for the Nutmeg Classic at Yale. The Huskies will open with Quinnipiac on Friday at 6 p.m. ET.

UConn men’s hockey has just one game this weekend: A home contest vs. Dartmouth at the XL Center on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.