A day after snapping an eight-game losing streak with a win in Hartford, the UConn men’s hockey team (5-10-0, 3-7-0 Hockey East) began a winning streak of their own. The Huskies completed a home-and-home weekend sweep of No. 5 UMass-Lowell (10-3-4, 6-2-3) with a 2-1 victory on Sunday afternoon at the Tsongas Center.
For the second straight game, UConn freshman Tage Thompson provided late-game heroics on the man advantage. Thompson scored his NCAA-leading seventh power play goal of the season with 6:57 remaining in the game to give the Huskies a 2-1 advantage that would eventually stand as the final score. All seven of the goals that Thompson has scored this season have come on the power play.
No goals were scored in the game’s first period, as the River Hawks led the lopsided shooting tally 14-4. The best chance came when Evan Campbell gave UMass-Lowell the lead on a shorthanded breakaway, but UConn goaltender Rob Nichols made a big glove save to keep the game scoreless.
After a clean first period, the two teams traded penalties in the second period. The Huskies went 0-for-4 on the power play in the second period, as UMass-Lowell committed the first five penalties of the game. The River Hawks went 1-for-3 on the man advantage, including the game’s first goal.
After Joseph Masonius was called for hooking at 19:08, UMass-Lowell defenseman Dylan Zink found the rebound off his own shot attempt and pushed a pass past Nichols to Adam Chapie, who potted an easy goal to give his team a 1-0 lead with just five seconds remaining in the period. Both teams had 10 shot attempts in the second period.
The Huskies found the equalizing goal 8:34 into the final period. On a shot from the point by David Drake, Shawn Pauly was able to capitalize on a messy play in front of net and slip the puck past UMass-Lowell goaltender Kevin Boyle. Drake and Miles Gendron were credited with assists on Pauly’s goal.
This play was followed by a penalty shot opportunity for the River Hawks after Derek Pratt tripped up Ryan McGrath on a breakaway chance. Nichols easily made the save on the penalty shot to preserve the tie.
During UConn’s sixth power play chance of the game, Thompson delivered the winner off a nifty pass from freshman Maxim Letunov by beating Boyle top-shelf from the right side. Letunov and Pauly picked up assists on the goal. Letunov leads the team with eleven assists.
After being outshot 30-24 by the River Hawks on Saturday, the Huskies led the shot tally 33-31 in Sunday’s win. Nichols made 30 saves and picked up the win, while Boyle made 31 saves in defeat.
Next, UConn will take on another nationally-ranked Hockey East opponent when Merrimack travels to the XL Center on December 11. Puck drop between the Huskies and the Warriors is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.