Men's Hockey: Slow start dooms UConn against BU

Goalie Adam Huska and the UConn defense gave up two quick goals to BU in their Saturday home-opener and never recovered (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

After tying No. 7 Boston University in their own building on Friday night, the Huskies were unable to protect home ice on Saturday. The Terriers spoiled UConn’s home opener, using a three-goal first period to propel themselves to a 6-3 win at the XL Center in Hartford.

The Huskies had to go on the penalty kill just 17 seconds into the game after Spencer Naas was called for high-sticking. BU took advantage when Bobo Carpenter received a pass in front of the net that he lifted with a backhand shot.

John MacLeod lit the lamp for the second time in 90 seconds when he navigated a shot from the blue line past UConn goaltender Adam Huska to make it 2-0.

“In the last four games we’ve lost three first periods,” said head coach Mike Cavanaugh. “You can’t keep playing from behind. We’ve got to be better and more focused in the first period and a lot of that falls to our staff and me, and we’ll work on it this week.”

UConn did their best to mount a comeback. Alexander Payusov and Naas breathed some life back into the XL Center by providing two goals in the second period to cut the deficit to one.

After falling behind early, it was the exact sort of response Cavanaugh was looking for.

“The response we got tonight was great. That’s never going to be an issue here,” Cavanaugh said. “We’ll always play for 60 minutes. We might not always play well but we’ll always play.”

BU stuck a fork in the comeback late in the second period. Corey Ronan was whistled for a holding call and, once again, Bobo Carpenter was there for a Terrier’s power play goal.

With the XL Center rocking and a comeback within reach, it was a costly, momentum-killing penalty that sealed the Huskies fate.

At the start of the third period, BU once again came out of the locker room and scored in a hurry, extending their lead to 5-2. Kasperi Ojantakanen added UConn’s third goal of the night but Bobo Carpenter’s third power-play goal ultimately put the Huskies to bed.

Power Play Success

When I get the puck up top I try to shoot it and good things have been happening
— Senior defenseman Johnny Austin

One of the few bright spots for the Huskies on Saturday night was the continued success of their power play.

The Huskies had six opportunities with the man advantage, totaling nine shots and one goal.

The Huskies have now scored nine power play goals on the season and have scored at least one in five of their six games.

Senior defenseman Johnny Austin says that the Huskies aren’t doing anything fancy with their power play strategy and that keeping it uncomplicated has been the goal.

“We came into this year just trying to keep things simple,” Austin said. “When I get the puck up top I try to shoot it and good things have been happening.”

Behind the Enemy Bench

After Friday’s tie, Boston University head coach David Quinn said his team approached the following day with a sense of urgency.

“I think we were going to learn a lot about ourselves tonight,” Quinn said. “You could tell we’re just not feeling great about ourselves. Tonight was definitely a swing game.”

Quinn said that the early scoring rush changed the attitude of his team.

“You could feel it on the bench,” Quinn said. “A dark cloud was lifted on our bench.”

UConn will have a chance for redemption when these two teams meet again in Hartford on Feb. 16.


Bryan Lambert is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus.  He can be reached via email at bryan.lambert@uconn.edu.