For the first time ever, Connecticut had its own college hockey tournament, and for the first time ever, UConn men’s hockey placed last in the tournament – losing both games.
“It feels like this has happened to us a lot of times, where we dominate, play extremely well and we’re not getting [the result],” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said post-game Sunday.
“The effort is there. I am really happy with the way our team competes and comes out to play, and we’re just not getting the results. To say it’s frustrating is an understatement, but the only thing we can do is keep putting forth that type of effort. That’s all I can keep focusing on, we’re playing the game the right way, we’re playing hard, we’re competing and we gotta find a way to find the back of the net.”
UConn (9-12-4, 6-7-2 Hockey East) put their best effort forth, pressing hard on offense in both contests, but were unable to bring a win back to Storrs. In the first game of Connecticut Ice, UConn took a rough loss 3-2 against Quinnipiac before falling to Yale just 24 hours later by the same score.
Looking at the shots in the first period, you may think it was all UConn, which ended up being true for both games they played. They dominated the shot game 16-7 in the first, but the score was level 2-2.
UConn came out hard, throwing five pucks on net before Ruslan Iskhakov flew down toward goal and picked up a shot from Wyatt Newpower after it rattled off the post to put it in the back of net.
The lead was short-lived as Quinnipiac jumped back on top with two goals in the six minutes after the Huskies’ first goal. UConn tied it up with two minutes to go in the period, however, as sophomore Carter Turnbull picked off a puck deep in the Bobcats’ zone and scored, continuing his solid season.
Unfortunately for Connecticut’s flagship school, Quinnipiac scored eight minutes into the second period and never looked back. UConn’s offense died out after the first period. After registering 16 shots in the first period, they combined to throw just 12 on target the rest of the game.
Then in game two, UConn looked dangerous out of the gate as they took 17 shots at Yale’s goalie Corbin Kaczperski, who let in four goals against Sacred Heart before getting pulled on Saturday in the first period. Kaczperski locked down shot after shot for the rest of the game, allowing just two goals to Turnbull and Marc Gatcomb. Turnbull is now tied for the team lead in scoring with Valdislav Firstov, scoring nine a piece on the year.
UConn took that fire and carried it throughout the game – the Huskies finished the game with 44 shots on the game. However, they were unable to find the net enough times in game two to come away with anything from the tournament.
“I thought we played for three periods tonight, I did,” Cavanaugh said.
Cavanaugh is right, they played hard and they played fast, but effort won’t always equal a result – something that UConn has learned over and over again this season. The moniker “will before skill” has echoed in the locker room all season long, but on Sunday neither gave UConn what they needed.
“I’m pleased with how the team is playing, period,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s just really frustrating that we’re not getting the results for how we’re playing.”
Ben Freeman also received stitches and returned to the game, according to Cavanaugh.
UConn’s next game is Friday in Durham, N.H. as they will take on New Hampshire in a home-and-home series in their return to Hockey East action.
Mike Mavredakis is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He tweets @mmavredakis.