Final from Schneider Arena:
Tough loss for the Huskies tonight. UConn battled but came up a goal short to No. 12 Providence.
— UConn Men’s Hockey (@UConnMHOC) January 12, 2020
Within every season, there are high points and low points, and this recent stretch for the UConn men’s hockey team would definitely qualify as the latter. Since returning from their three-week winter break, the Huskies are 0-4-1 and have lost each of their last four games.
The most recent of those came at the hands of No. 12 Providence on Saturday night. UConn (7-10-4, 4-7-2 Hockey East) lost a tough one to the Friars (13-5-5, 7-4-2 Hockey East) 2-1, despite outshooting them 28-26 in the game.
Both teams scored power-play goals in the first period. Patrick Moynihan found the back of the net for Providence about five-and-a-half minutes into the game. But just two minutes later, Ruslan Iskhakov tied the game with his sixth goal of the season on a one-timer from freshman Jake Flynn. Benjamin Freeman also picked up his team-leading 11th assist on the goal.
After that, neither team scored for the next 33 minutes of game time. 48 seconds into the third period, Max Crozier broke the 1-1 tie with the only non-power-play goal of the game.
Despite back-to-back power plays later in the third period, the Huskies couldn’t assemble much of an offensive attack and registered just one shot on goal in that entire four minute span. The rest of the period was much of the same, and when the final buzzer sounded, the scoreboard read 2-1 Providence. UConn ended just 1-for-4 on its power play opportunities.
The Huskies played well defensively, disrupting Providence possessions with 10 blocked shots as a team, but the offense couldn’t break through apart from Iskhakov’s goal. Tomas Vomacka played his best game in a while. After allowing 15 goals in the previous three games, he beared down and stopped 24 of the 26 shots he faced from the 12th best team in the country. Even though the result was still the same as the previous games, that is an encouraging sign moving forward.
With the loss, UConn dropped the season series to Providence, 0-2-1. The Friars now sit at the top of the Hockey East standings with 16 points, while the Huskies are tied for seventh with just 10. They will have a chance to pick up more with two key games against Maine and Northeastern this week.
On Wednesday, UConn and Maine will meet at a neutral site in Bridgeport at 7 p.m. before the Battle of the Huskies Part Two takes place in Boston on Saturday afternoon. This is a crucial week for UConn as they look to end their recent slump and pick up some big conference points.