Men’s Hockey: UConn crushed at home 5-2, special teams execution lacking

UMass-Lowell takes advantage of some UConn mistakes and escapes the XL Center with a 5-2 victory. (Bryan Lambert/ The Daily Campus)

UConn dropped a Hockey East game against the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) Friday night 5-2, and struggling to score with a man advantage is what did the Huskies in.

Though UConn (5-5-1) put 40 shots (eight more than UML) up on the River Hawks (5-5-1), they could only get two to count as goals.

“It was a disappointing loss, the result was very disappointing. At times, I thought we played some of our best hockey. We haven’t put 40 shots on a goaltender yet this year,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “But you can’t confuse effort with results. Even though I thought we played pretty well, we didn’t get the results that we were looking for.”

(Bryan Lambert/ The Daily Campus)

(Bryan Lambert/ The Daily Campus)

While it’s no secret that the more shots you take, the better off you should be, there are many more factors that contribute to the final result, such as power play success.

The game was even in regards to power plays 4-4, but UML was able to capitalize on one of theirs. Granted UConn scored one of their two goals short-handed on a breakaway, they still failed to score on their four occasions of having the advantage.

“I think it’ll come. We had four guys on one of our power plays that have never played on the power play,” Cavanaugh said. “We’ll get there, I’m not concerned about it. Power plays are funny, you can be 0-10 and then all of a sudden go 5-6.”

UConn was 2-40 on goals versus shots Friday, and sure would’ve liked to have changed that by taking advantage on special teams. This isn’t the first time we’ve seen UConn struggle on special teams recently.

In their last game at No. 15 Northeastern, UConn gave up seven power plays and only had one for themselves. While UConn failed to score on their lone chance, Northeastern capitalized on two of theirs and won the game 3-2.

The game before that, UConn lost at the University of Vermont (UVM) going 0-5 on their power play opportunities.

The game before that, however, was a 1-0 win against UVM in which the lone goal of the game came on one of the Huskies’ five power play attempts. When the Huskies execute in the power play, good things happen for them.

They can have these game where they go 2-40, but it’s the high-quality looks that you have to take advantage of. And high-quality looks don’t come around any more often than they do with an advantage on special teams.

With UConn working so many freshmen into their rotations, there’s bound to be a learning curve for them learning to play special teams against skilled competition. But coach Cavanaugh is confident in their ability to gather experience, learn from it and improve.

UConn will get another chance against UML Saturday, this time on the road. The game will start at 5 p.m.


Sean Janos is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at sean.janos@uconn.edu.