Men’s Hockey: Strong start not enough as UConn settles for tie

Despite an early lead against UMass, UConn went on to tie the game. Above player is defenseman Johnny Austin. (Zhelun Lang/The Daily Campus)

The UConn men’s hockey team got off to an incredible start Friday night at UMass, scoring two goals in the first three minutes of the game. The Huskies (3-2-4, 1-1-1 Hockey East) looked ready for their third conference matchup of the season after splitting a series with Notre Dame last weekend.

The Huskies’ quick 2-0 lead was built by goals from sophomores Maxim Letunov and Miles Gendron. Letunov’s third goal of the season was scored 55 seconds into the game on a power-play feed from fellow sophomore Tage Thompson. A few minutes later, Gendron scored his first goal of the year on a one-timer from senior Evan Richardson and sophomore Karl El-Mir.

Thompson, Letunov, Richardson and El-Mir each tallied a point to remain the top four of the team in scoring, with nine, eight, eight and seven points, respectively. The early assist for Thompson was his team-leading fifth of the season, while Richardson’s assist was his fourth.

UConn dominated the entire first period, getting off 12 shots while holding UMass to just two. Letunov’s goal extended the Huskies’ streak to five consecutive games with a power-play goal.

However, UMass flipped the script for the next two periods. The Minutemen (2-4-1, 0-2-1 Hockey East) outshot the Huskies 22-7 through the final two periods.

UMass pulled within one point after a power-play goal in the middle of the second period. The Minutemen went 1-8 with the extra man on the night, as the Huskies were assessed a season-high eight penalties. UConn came into the game as the least penalized team in Hockey East, averaging only 11.9 penalty minutes per game, but the Huskies struggled to keep their discipline Friday night.

Kurt Keats leveled the score at two for the Minutemen with his second goal of the season in the third period. UConn was only able to get off three shots in the final frame, going 0-2 on the power play. In overtime, the Huskies held a 3-1 advantage in shots but neither team could find the back of the net and each went away with one point and a tie.

Freshman Adam Huska got the start in goal for UConn, his fourth start of the season. Huska made 23 saves on the night while allowing two goals to bring his save percentage to .935 on the season.

Up next for the Huskies is a break from Hockey East play, as they travel to Ohio State for a weekend series with the Buckeyes.


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