The UConn men’s hockey team (3-9-0) lost their seventh-straight game on Tuesday night in Hartford, as the Huskies fell to No. 3 Quinnipiac by a 6-2 score. The Bobcats scored four times within the first five minutes of the second period to grab a commanding lead that they would not relinquish.
“The entire game came down to the start of the second period. We had to kill 13 straight minutes in penalties,” UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh said after the game. “When you look at it, that was the game.”
The Huskies began the game strong, converting on a power play chance after Connor Clifton was sent to the box just 16 seconds into the game. Joseph Masonius was the goal scorer on the man advantage, as he fired a wrist shot past Quinnipiac goaltender Sean Lawrence to grab a 1-0 lead at 1:10. Maxim Lentunov and Spencer Naas were credited with assists on Masonius’ goal.
The Bobcats began to assert themselves after the first goal, increasing the level of physicality as the two teams traded penalties. There were 47 penalty minutes combined between the two teams Tuesday, and 16 of those minutes came in the first period.
UConn doubled their lead at 11:39 when Max Kalter took an excellent feed from Johnny Austin and beat Lawrence to the near post with a shot.
“It’s a pretty good rivalry, and I think that we got out to a great start. We got under their skin a little bit. We upset them,” Cavanaugh said.
Quinnipiac’s slow start did little to stymie their relentless offensive attack, as they finished the first period with a 15-8 advantage in shots. The Bobcats cut their deficit to 2-1 with 3:13 remaining in the period on a beautiful passing play, with Sam Anas putting the puck past UConn goaltender Rob Nichols. Landon Smith and Travis St. Denis received assists on Anas’ goal, which came on the power play.
Quinnipiac came out for the second period with a vengeance, scoring four times over a 3:35 stretch of play to grab a 5-2 lead.
Three of those four goals came on the man advantage, as UConn logged an incredible 23 penalty minutes in the second period. The most egregious offender was Evan Richardson, who was hit with a cross-checking call and a game misconduct call on one play. Richardson was ejected from the game, and the Bobcats scored twice on his five-minute major penalty.
“The calls were there. I’m not upset with the referees’ calls, I’m upset with the lack of discipline, and the fact that we let our emotions take over,” Cavanaugh said. “There’s a reason that special teams are so important when you play games.”
Quinnipiac’s second period goal scorers were Anas, Clifton, St. Denis and Tim Clifton. The Bobcats led the shot tally 15-3 in the second period, in which goaltender Michael Garteig replaced Lawrence and made three saves. Garteig finished with seven saves in two periods of relief.
The third period was uneventful by comparison, as UConn was only outshot 8-4, and the two teams combined for only three penalties. Quinnipiac did tack on another goal with 10:41 remaining on a laser of a wrist shot from Luke Shiplo.
For the Huskies, they have now lost seven straight games, and the upcoming schedule remains brutal. Next Tuesday, No. 2 Boston College will come to Hartford, and a doubleheader with No. 5 UMass-Lowell looms after that.
“It doesn’t get any easier, we just have to get better. We’ll do that tomorrow in practice,” Cavanaugh said.