Men’s Hockey: Huskies, back of the net remain strangers

Men’s hockey lost 1-2 against Sacred Heart University in the XL Center Tuesday night. UConn’s goal was scored by Karl El-Mir in the third period. Their next game is against Boston College Friday at 7:05 in the XL Center. (Photo by Nick/The Daily Campus)

The Huskies fell to the Sacred Heart Pioneers by the score of 2-1 on Tuesday night to wrap up their out of conference schedule.

As a result, the Huskies drop to 7-16-2 on the season and extend their winless streak to five games.

“It’s a goal scoring sport and right now we’re in a real tough patch, we haven’t scored goals,” said head coach Mike Cavanaugh. “You just gotta stay hungry.”

Over their winless streak the Huskies have been outscored 20-7 despite leading in shots on goal by 14. In fact, the one game they were outshot was the only game that they did not lose, the 2-2 tie vs. New Hampshire on Jan. 25.

This game was the epitome of the Huskies struggles, outshooting the Pioneers 34-26 and obliterating them in total shots attempted 59-36, including a 26-8 advantage in the third period.

The Huskies lone goal came courtesy of Karl El-Mir and was assisted by Jachym Kondelik and Alexander Payusov. It was El-Mir’s 12th goal of the season, putting him just one behind Payusov. Kondelik leads the team with 19 assists, and his three goals make him tied for the team lead in points with El-Mir.

The big story of the game was the Huskies ineptitude on special teams once again, going 0-6 on power plays and even giving up a shorthanded goal on their first powerplay of the game.

This was also the six-straight matchup between the two schools that ended with a Pioneers victory.

“Last year was a crazy game too where I thought we completely dominated the game and didn’t win it,” Cavanaugh said. “Tonight we didn’t completely dominate the game but I thought for the better portion of the game we controlled play.”

Sacred Heart head coach CJ Marottolo echoed Cavanaugh, admitting that the Huskies had the upper hand for the majority of the game.

“For the most part of this game I thought that UConn really had us on our heels,” Marottolo said. “They outplayed us.”

The Pioneers were blessed with a outstanding performance by goalkeeper Josh Benson, recording 33 saves while only allowing the one deflection to slide past him. Numerous times throughout the game the Huskies looked like they had a surefire goal, only to have Benson stop it sometimes inches from the net.

“He’s a young man that didn’t play until maybe the eighth or ninth game of the year,” Marottolo said”. “He works hard in practice, he prepares well, and he got his chance and he hasn’t let go of the net.”

If the Huskies, who at 2-11-2 in the conference sit in last place in the Hockey East, want to make a run down the final stretch of the season, they will need to find a way to shake out of their goal scoring funk.

Their next game is just days away, as they host Boston College at the XL Center on Friday.


Jorge Eckardt is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at jorge.eckardt@uconn.edu.