The UConn men’s hockey team closed out their season-opening road trip with a win over RPI on Saturday after a rough loss to No. 5 Providence on Friday night. The Huskies finished the road trip with a 2-2-0 record overall and 0-1-0 in Hockey East play.
UConn had early scoring opportunities Friday night, even though the Friars held a 14-10 shot advantage in the first period, but the Huskies could not capitalize on their three power plays in the period. Providence went into the second period with a 1-0 lead after Michael Callahan went bar down for his first collegiate goal.
Providence really opened the scoring in the second period. The first of three goals came just four minutes into the period when Josh Wilkins found the back of the net for the first time this year. Karl El-Amin cut the PC lead in half when he scored four minutes later off a feed from freshman Jachym Kondelik.
The Friars scored again at the 10:48 mark, just before the power play ended to take a 3-1 lead. Providence tacked on one more before the second intermission when Kasper Bjorkqvist corralled a rebound and put it back for a goal.
Junior Alexander Payusov scored two minutes into the third by way of the power play. The Huskies were 2-for-8 on the man advantage against the Friars.
Providence (3-1-1, 1-0-0 Hockey East) wasn’t done scoring yet when Scott Conway buried a wrist shot for their third power play goal of the game. PC scored two empty-net goals to finish the 7-2 victory and securing their 1000th victory in program history.
Goaltender Adam Huska recorded 32 saves in the loss while PC out-shot UConn 39-26.
After 40 minutes of scoreless hockey, the Huskies were able to get back in the win column on Saturday. UConn held a 10-4 shot advantage in the first period and had two power plays but couldn’t find a way to score.
Philip Nyberg had the closest scoring chance in the second period when his shot hit post but nothing beyond that. The shots were even at 11-11 for the period.
The Huskies didn’t waste much of the final frame to get on the board when Payusov took the face-off and fired from the above the left circle just 37 seconds into the period. RPI (0-3) evened the game up four minutes later when Willy Reilly sent a rebounded puck back for a goal.
Senior Max Kalter scored the game-winning goal at the 9:26 mark for his first goal on the year. Ben Freeman made a nice pass to Kalter who drilled the shot from the left dot. Payusov scored his second goal of the game on an empty-netter, effectively putting the game out of reach.
UConn will play their first game of the season at home Friday, Oct. 26 when they welcome in Hockey East rival Maine for a two-game set. Friday’s action will start at 7:05 p.m. while game two will be Saturday, Oct. 27 at 3:05 p.m.
Kevin Arnold is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.