The Huskies got on the icebus to travel up to Amherst, Mass. to face No. 10 UMass for a third time this season. The last time UConn played at the Mullins Center, they faced a harsh season opening defeat of 5-1; but made things square when they hosted the Minutemen at the Freitas Ice Forum and won in the team’s first shootout. However, Christmas came early for the Minutemen as they won 6-2 against the visitors.
In the first period, UConn (1-4-1) went down a player early on as forward Brian Rigali was sent off the ice for tripping. Not too long after, UMass (5-3-1) slapped in the first goal of the match by defenseman Zac Jones with the assist off the stick of forward Oliver Chau. Following the first goal, UConn were awarded various power play chances; all of which saw little to no result in an equalizer.
Nearly a minute into the second period, the Minutemen put the puck in the back of UConn’s net again, this time by defenseman Matthew Kessel on a one-timer with forwards Carson Gicewicz and Bobby Trivigno involved in the play. Granted, UMass was on the power play after a UConn interference almost immediately after the start of the second period.
UConn almost had its chance to score at the 10:22 mark. Forwards Nick Capone and Carter Turnbull had a great two-on-none chance in the buildup of the play. Turnbull took his shot at the net but was ultimately denied by the Minutemen goaltender Matt Murray.
With less than five minutes left in the second period, the hosts managed to bag another goal of the evening. Trivigno got the puck in the back of the net, his third of the season, after a pass by defenseman Aaron Bohlinger from distance brought the goal deficit by three.
Entering the final period of the match, UConn made sure they wouldn’t leave Mullins Center without a goal. In the third minute, Hudson Schandor scored his first collegiate goal with Jake Flynn finding the freshman upon receiving a rogue puck from Marc Gatcomb. Soon after, the Huskies brought the goal deficit to a one-goal difference after Jonny Evans secured his second goal of the season. Right after a faceoff, Evans positioned himself in the slot; and when the puck came to him it was nothing but an easy slap into the back of the net.
UMass wouldn’t accept this close match, however, and proceeded to score another three goals. Gicewicz got the fourth goal of the match with a power play after a pass from Jones saw him redirect the puck towards the goal. A few minutes passed by, and Garrett Wait scored UMass’ fifth on the night. Trivigno found the Minnesota transfer at the right time, and without hesitation slotted the puck right in. UMass’ final goal of the match came at the 12:11 mark, after Gicewicz went on the attack alone, getting his third point in the game.
“I think the story of this game was special teams, plain and simple,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said after the game. “I thought five-on-five was a pretty even game, I thought we had a lot of chances … I liked our fight in the third period, coming out with those two quick goals … They were much better than we were in special teams.”
The Huskies’ next matchup comes against Providence on Monday at 3 p.m., where UConn will host the Friars at Freitas.