A weekend split is normally like a giant tie and no one likes ties. However, a massive comeback against American International College and a herculean game from Sacred Heart’s goaltender left the Huskies with more positives to take away from the weekend than not.
“Last night, we got off to a slow start. Tonight, fine start. This one will leave you stumped,” said captain Derek Pratt after the 3-1 loss to Sacred Heart on Saturday night.
The Huskies dug themselves a deep hole on the night before after letting up three goals in the first period against AIC. Adam Huska took over in net after Patrik Demel’s second goal of the net chased Tanner Creel to the bench.
Max Kalter put UConn on the comeback trail with his goal at the 12-minute mark and Payusov led them to finish line.
The sophomore scored two of his three goals in the second period to knot the game at 3-3 heading into the final period.
The Yellow Jackets wrestled the lead back after Daruis Davidson scored on with the man advantage. However, an AIC penalty at the 7-minute mark giftwrapped the Huskies opportunities to rally. Wyatt Newpower made sure the chance wasn’t wasted when he blasted a shot past AIC goalie Zackarias Skog.
UConn earned themselves another power play with less than five minutes to play and a tipped shot by Kal El- Mir ended up being the deciding goal.
Paysusov put a bow on the comeback when he scored an empty netter to give the sophomore his first career hat trick and his squad the 6-4 win.
“It felt awesome,” said Paysusov after the come-from-behind victory. “I got to give credit to my linemates, our power play and all the guys on the team. We came back after the 1st just focused and came back strong.”
Maybe the comeback win used all the magic the Huskies had for the weekend because they had no answer for Sacred Heart goaltender Brett Magnus on Saturday.
Playing less than 24 hours later, the Huskies managed to pelt Sacred Heart with 45 shots. Only one was able to beat Magnus and the Pioneers escaped with a 3-1 win.
Head coach Mike Cavanaugh praised the freshman after the game.
“Magnus, you’ve got to tip your hat to him, he played well,” said Cavanaugh. “In this sport, sometimes it happens that your goaltender plays really well.”
For the second time in as many days, UConn fell behind 3-0. Adam Karashik’s first collegiate goal put a dent in the deficit in the second period but there was no comeback in the cards on that night.
“In years past, we’ve lost to Sacred Heart and we’ve been outplayed. I don’t think that was the case tonight,” said Cavanaugh. “We won the faceoff game; we out chanced them at least 2-1 and outshot them 2-1. Their goalie played great and I tip my hat to him.”
UConn is back in action for a home game and home series against Boston University next weekend. The Huskies will head to Boston for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop on Friday before the Terriers return the favor and come to Hartford for UConn’s home opener.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.