Men's Hockey: UConn splits weekend series with Vermont

UConn hit the ice to face Vermont on Saturday Nov. 4 at the XL Center. Although starting with an early lead, the Huskies fell apart, ending up with a 4-2 loss (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

In their first game since their disastrous trip to Miami, Ohio, the Huskies looked like a different team during Friday’s game against Vermont. UConn put their first period woes behind them on an early goal by Max Kalter and received goals from four different players in their 5-1 victory.

After the game, head coach Mike Cavanaugh expressed hope that the blowout win could be one of the defining moments of the season. Instead, the Huskies were left scratching their heads after blowing a two-goal lead and surrendering four unanswered goals in a 4-2 loss less than a 24 hours later.

In a moment of clairvoyance, Cavanaugh said that the team they played on Friday wasn’t the one they were expecting to see on Saturday.

“We probably caught them on an off night because I know that team’s going to be a lot better tomorrow,” said Cavanaugh.

The Huskies were given room to do whatever they wanted on Friday night. The offense was given plenty of room to move the puck and the defense helped limit the Catamount’s scoring chances.

The difference in the game was a wild second period, the highlight of which was a goal by senior Spencer Naas.

After whiffing on a loose puck near the crease and skirting the goal line a couple seconds earlier, Naas more than redeemed himself a couple seconds later. Naas was able to get his stick on an airborne puck and hit a line drive into the net.

“It was a good play by Max [Letunov] to get the puck to the net and then it popped up,” said Naas. I missed an empty netter like 10 seconds before that so I didn’t want to miss that one.”

Justin Howell and Jeff Wight both lit the lamp in the second period as well and Naas notched another goal in the third period in the 5-1 win.

“Last weekend was a tough weekend for us where we really weren’t in either game,” said Cavanaugh. “I think our team responded really well tonight and didn’t hang their heads.”

It looked like the good times were going to keep rolling on Saturday after UConn went up 2-0 on goals by Miles Gendron and Letunov. But the Catamounts wrestled back momentum and never gave it back in the second period.

I think our team responded really well tonight and didn’t hang their heads
— head coach Mike Cavanaugh

The Huskies were in the midst of a five-minute power play when Joseph Masonius was called for a hook on Vermont’s Ross Colton. Colton was awarded a penalty shot, which the sophomore buried to cut the deficit in half.

“That deflated us a little bit,” said Cavanaugh. “We lost a lot of momentum on that five minute major.”

Vermont added two more goals in the second period and another in the third to put UConn away and escape Hartford with a series-split.

The short handed- Penalty Shot goal typified UConn’s struggle on special teams recently.

UConn’s power play has gone bone dry the past few weeks. The Huskies went scoreless in their six opportunities this weekend and haven’t scored since their home opener against Boston University on Oct. 21.  

“We were leading 2-0, I think we should have just put more pucks on net instead of just trying to make a cute play,” said Letunov.

UConn has another quick turnaround this week. The Huskies will travel to Chestnut Hill this Tuesday to take on Boston College in a rare away game this month. The Huskies and Eagles will drop the puck at 7:00 p.m.


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