Men's Hockey: Comeback bid falls short in home loss to No. 5 Boston University

Members of the UConn men's hockey team surround Spencer Naas (8) after his goal in the Huskies' 2-1 loss to Boston College on Nov. 18, 2016 at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut.

HARTFORD— In a difficult matchup with No. 5/4 Boston University, the UConn men’s hockey team played a hard-fought game but came up short in a 2-1 loss. The Huskies (3-4-5, 1-2-1 Hockey East) were competitive throughout the game with a top Hockey East opponent, as UConn even outshot the Terriers 29-26.

“I was certainly pleased with the effort and how hard I thought our team played today,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We just didn’t get the bounce that we needed tonight. I think our team showed a lot of character, I think we prepared well this week and I think we performed well, we just didn’t get the result we wanted.”

BU (5-3-1, 2-0-1 Hockey East) came out strong, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after the first period. Three minutes into the game, Jordon Greenway put the Terriers ahead on a shot that was deflected off a UConn skate and over the shoulder of UConn goaltender Rob Nichols. Nichols lost the puck on the deflection and BU players watched it drop into the net for Greenway’s sixth goal of the season.

Later in the period, right after a UConn delayed penalty was called, Gabriel Chabot skated into the slot and fired a shot past Nichols over his stick side shoulder. The Terriers would outshoot the Huskies 11-8 in the first period, putting UConn in a two-goal deficit at the break.

The second period saw a flurry of offense from UConn as they got off 12 shots, but the Huskies couldn’t break through BU goaltender Connor LaCouvee. Junior forward Spencer Naas led the team with five shots in the first two periods.

UConn had three power play chances in the second period, firing five shots at LaCouvee, but the Huskies couldn’t convert.

“One stretch there we were able to roll out four lines and really hem them in their own zone for a long time,” Cavanaugh said. “That was encouraging to watch, because that’s an area we’ve been working on, trying to sustain more offensive zone play because when you’re doing that you don’t have to play defense… Our power play didn’t score, but we got a lot of momentum off it and that carried over into some five-on-five play,” Cavanaugh said.

The Huskies would take that momentum into the third period. Seven minutes into the final period, Naas finally broke through on the power play with his fifth goal of the season. Benjamin Freeman fed a great pass across the goal to a diving Naas, who put the puck into the open net.

“[The goal] was a great play by everyone on the ice,” Naas said. “I think I was the last guy on the ice to touch the puck, they all made great plays to make it all happen.”

UConn kept pressing for the remainder of the game but could not find the equalizing goal. In his first start of the season, LaCouvee made 28 saves and held the Huskies to one goal.

“I think playing in front of the home crowd, that was our best crowd that we’ve had all season long,” Cavanaugh said. “They certainly gave us a lot of energy tonight and I’m hoping to see more and more crowds like that because I think our players gave them an effort that’s worthy of watching.”

The Huskies head to Boston for game two of the series with BU tomorrow. They will be back in front of the home crowd at the XL Center on Tuesday evening for a matchup with another opponent at the top of Hockey East, Boston College.


Josh Buser is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at joshua.buser@uconn.edu.