Men’s Hockey: UConn sweeps Alabama-Huntsville

Kasperi Ojantakanen (#23) celebrates in front of the net after Spencer Naas (#8) scores a goal on UAH goaltender Matt Larose (#30) at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. on Saturday Oct. 8, 2016. (Amar Batra/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s hockey team posted back-to-back shutouts for just the second time in school history as the Huskies swept their weekend series with Alabama-Huntsville.

The Huskies (2-0) opened up their season Friday night at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn. with a blowout win over the Alabama-Huntsville Chargers.

Freshman Wyatt Newpower got the scoring started in the first period with his first collegiate goal, and the Huskies never looked back. UConn finished the first period 3-0 over the Chargers en route to their 6-0 victory.

Sophomore Tage Thompson and senior Evan Richardson netted two goals each in Friday’s victory, and sophomore Karl El-Mir found the back of the net for an even six goals on the night for the Huskies. Senior goaltender Rob Nichols made 21 saves in his shutout victory.

“I think the boys were ready to go today,” Thompson said. “We were fired up. We had a great week of practice and I think it carried over.”

Alabama-Huntsville came rolling into Hartford off a sweep of No. 20 Ferris State last weekend. Following the 6-0 win on Friday, UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said he expected Saturday’s game to be a little tighter.

“I think we caught them in the first period with ‘bus legs’ maybe,” Cavanaugh said. “I don’t think [tonight’s game] is indicative of the team they are. That’ll be a different team we see tomorrow.”

Fortunately for Cavanaugh and the Huskies, Saturday’s game was more of the same.

Thompson scored his third of the season just four minutes into the first period as the Huskies finished the weekend sweep with a 4-0 victory.

I think the boys were ready to go today. We were fired up.
— Tage Thompson (#29)

Junior Spencer Naas scored twice and Richardson also netted his third of the season. Nichols made 23 saves on the night.

“We wanted to focus on repeating the effort we had last night,” Cavanaugh said. “I thought our penalty killing was outstanding, it probably won us the game. I’m happy with the weekend sweep.”

Heading into their second game in 24 hours against the same opponent, junior defenseman David Drake said the team wasn’t worried about any adjustments the Chargers might make.

“Going into the game you don’t really think too much about how they’re going to come out,” Drake said. “We’re focused on what we do well. At the end of the day we got the two points, and four points on the weekend. That was our goal.”

Connor Donahue is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at He tweets @conn_donahue.