Officially, Saturday’s game goes down as a 2-2 tie between the UConn Huskies and the St. Lawrence Saints.
— UConn Men’s Hockey (@UConnMHOC) December 28, 2019
Unofficially, it might be the steal of the season after a last-second goal set UConn (7-6-4) up for a shootout victory in the first game of the 2019 Ledyard Classic at Dartmouth College.
UConn got a tough break when goaltender Tomas Vomacka, who had started all previous 16 games in net this season, was ruled out before the game with an illness. As a result, junior Bradley Stone had to step up and make his first career start.
The London native had only appeared in one previous game in his collegiate career. On December 5, 2017, he closed out the final minutes of a blowout win over UMass. Since then, he hadn’t touched the ice in a meaningful game until Saturday.
Stone was able to lock down the crease very well in Vomacka’s absence, making 21 saves on 23 shots. The goals he let in weren’t cheap either. Both were rebounds on which he made the initial save but had no chance to stop the follow-up.
For as good as Stone played, Emil Zetterquist of St. Lawrence (3-12-3) was even better. The Huskies dominated in shots, but St. Lawrence held the lead on the scoreboard for the majority of the game because Zetterquist was lights out. He finished with 39 saves, but it was one he didn’t make that will leave the Saints with nightmares.
With time ticking down in regulation, UConn trailed 2-1 and pulled the goalie for an extra attacker. It looked like a valiant effort was for not after Carter Berger’s shot from the point was blocked with only a couple of seconds left, but Jonny Evans put the deflection on net and Zetterquist stopped it for what seemed like the final play. But with 0.3 seconds remaining, Alexander Payusov found the back of the net with the rebound to tie the game at two.
It was a miraculous series of events that sent the game to overtime, where UConn dominated but couldn’t score again. So the game ended in a tie, but it felt like a win for the Huskies. And it became a win of sorts after the shootout to determine the winner for the tournament.
That was where Stone really shined. He allowed just one goal in the nine rounds of the shootout. He and Zetterquist each allowed a goal in the third round, but then continued to trade saves until Carter Turnbull netted the game-winner for the Huskies in the ninth round, enabling them to play for the title on Sunday against Dartmouth.
Stone stepped up in a huge way for the Huskies with his performance in Hanover. Coach Mike Cavanaugh has been stressing the need for good depth all season, and UConn proved they even have depth at the goalie position by notching a positive result without their starter.
Thumbnail Image by Eric Wang/The Daily Campus