The University of Connecticut men’s hockey team traveled to Columbus, Ohio this weekend to play a two-game series against Ohio State University.
The Buckeyes swept the Huskies, winning on both Friday night and Saturday afternoon.
Head coach Mike Cavanaugh was disappointed with the weekend’s outcome, though he did note that he believed the team had played relatively well over the weekend.
“I’m not saying we should have swept both games, but at the very least we played well enough to win one of them,” Cavanaugh said.
Ultimately, UConn couldn’t wait to say O“bye”o regardless of the potential this weekend had for them.
When gameplay opened on Friday, the Huskies came out swinging, holding a 3-0 lead on the Buckeyes for the first half of the game. The first period indicated how tough of a matchup this would be, as both teams had 13 shots on-goal.
UConn junior defenseman Roman Kinal scored first at 11:20 to start the momentum for the Huskies in the early period. This was also Kinal’s first goal of the season, firing up the team.
Quickly into the second, fellow defenseman John Spetz, a sophomore, also earned his first goal of the season at 2:15.
The game peaked for the Huskies when they dominated their first power play of the night and senior forward Jachym Kondelik drove the lead to 3-0, scoring his second goal of the season.
Ohio State junior Ryan Snowden, who had been in-goal for the Buckeyes up until this point, was replaced immediately after Kondelik’s goal by freshman Jakub Dobes.
It was exactly at 9:12 when the Buckeyes decided that they were not going to be shutout by UConn on their home ice in Value City Arena during the opening game. Ohio State took advantage of their power play and senior forward Quinn Preston put the team on the board.
During a UConn turnover at 17:27, freshman forward Cam Thiesing broke away and netted his first career goal. At the end of the second period, the score was 3-2 with UConn still leading, but this would be the last time the Huskies would do so.
A little more than halfway through the final period, freshman forward Georgii Merkulov tied the score 3-3 at 13:37 to send the game into overtime.
Despite the Huskies’ outshooting Ohio State 6-2 in overtime, Ohio State graduate defenseman Will Riedell won the game for the Buckeyes with 3.6 seconds left.
Graduate student Darion Hanson was in UConn’s goal for the entire game, making 31 saves. Ohio State’s goalies combined for a team-high of 36 saves en route to their 4-3 victory.
UConn was unable to repeat this close game on Saturday, when they played the second half of the series.
Ohio State head coach Steve Rohlik, presumably pleased with the freshman who had allowed no goals on Friday, had Dobes tending the Buckeyes’ goal for his first career shutout. He had 32 saves in his third appearance for Ohio State, stopping a total of 55 throughout the weekend.
After a scoreless first period, Ohio State sophomore forward Patrick Guzzo won the face-off and the Buckeyes utilized their puck possession. Junior forward Matt Cassidy set up an opportunity for Guzzo to establish a lead to finish out the second.
The Buckeyes outshot the Huskies 12-10 during the middle period, and both teams were 0-for-1 on their respective power plays.
In what would have put the Huskies on the board, sophomore forward Nick Capone seemed to have snuck the puck past Dobes but, under official review, the no goal ruling on the ice stood.
In the third period, the Buckeyes were able to keep and increase their lead while skating 4-on-4 to set sophomore forward Travis Treloar up to net the puck at 12:10.
About five minutes later, UConn pulled Hanson from the net with less than three minutes remaining in the game, opting for the additional skater instead.
Not even six skaters could keep Ohio State’s lead at bay, as junior forward Tate Singleton scored on the empty net with ease to finally put the game away for the Buckeyes.
Darion Hanson had a season-low of 22 saves on Saturday’s game, despite the Huskies having 32 shots to the Buckeyes’ 25. UConn’s shots held little weight as the Buckeyes coasted to a 2-0 weekend off a score of 3-0.
“It’s so hard to win at this level on any given night. It’s so competitive across the board. Any time you get one win, it’s huge, but when you can put two in a row and sweep on the weekend it’s something to hang your hat on,” head coach Steve Rohlik said after the series.
The Huskies have over a week to hit the practice ice and gear up for their next game on Tuesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. They’ll travel to Boston to face off against Northeastern University in a Huskies vs. Huskies game, which will be broadcasted live on NESN for their return to Hockey East play.