The No. 20 University of Connecticut men’s hockey team has swept the Union Dutchmen in its two-game weekend series, advancing to 4-0, the program’s best start since the 1975-76 campaign.
The Huskies began their weekend with a strong performance in their Home Opener on Friday. In front of the XL crowd, Connecticut forward Ryan Tverberg got his offense off to a hot start in the first period when he zipped past the Union defense, curling back around the goal and dumping the puck off to Hudson Schandor who was there for the score. The Husky defense, led by goaltender Logan Terness, allowed the Dustmen to manage only six shots in the period to advance to the second period up 1-0.
Connecticut continued to pressure the Union defense to begin the second period. The Huskies managed their second score of the night when a shot by Chase Bradley was deflected in the air by Nick Capone and into the net. Later in the period, the Dutchmen stole the puck on the Connecticut side of the rink where Nick Young recorded the first goal of his college career, cutting UConn’s lead down to 2-1. The Huskies extended their lead when freshman Jake Percival managed a steal in Union’s half of the rink and fired his shot into the back of the net, advancing the score to 3-1.
Connecticut added a fourth score in the third period on an open net shot by Bradley, securing the 4-1 victory. UConn outshot the Dutchmen 37-16 and finished the evening 2-2 on the penalty kill.
The follow-up matchup between the two teams on Saturday proved to have a few more fireworks. Union’s Liam Roberston opened the scoring in the first period after intercepting a pass and flicking the puck through the Husky defense. At the end of the first period of action, the Dutchmen had secured a 1-0 advantage.
Connecticut found themselves in the penalty kill to start the second period. Down one man, defensemen Jake Flynn made a great play to steal the puck in the Huskies’ defensive zone to lead a fastbreak. Flynn would find Tverberg who brought the puck back up the ice before passing back to Flynn in front of the Union net for the equalizing score. Later in the second, Bradley secured the puck in front of the Dutchmen goal and found Nick Capone across the crease for another score. Union responded when defensemen Cullen Ferguson fired a shot that was redirected by Call Mell for the score. Through two periods, the score was tied 2-2.
Union began the third period with authority, scoring just 48 seconds into the new frame. Defensemen John Prokop brought the puck up the ice before dropping off a backhand pass to Ben Tupker, who drilled his shot from the crease to put the Dutchmen ahead 3-2. Connecticut answered back when a John Spetz shot was deflected off of the Union goalkeeper to UConn’s Jake Percival, who tipped the puck in and tie the contest at 3-3. Neither team could secure a go-ahead goal, sending the game to an overtime period.
The Huskies had an opportunity to end the contest early in the overtime period, but an attack from Tverberg was denied on a kick-save by the Dutchmen goalkeeper. Later in the period, Matthew Wood circled the puck and dropped it off to Bradley who fired in the game-winning shot, pushing the Huskies to a hard-earned 4-3 victory.
With the win, Connecticut advances to 4-0 through the season’s first four games, their best start since the 1975-76 season. The Huskies have now scored three or more goals in all of their games this season.
UConn will look forward to their next matchup, a two-game set against Ohio State at the XL Center in Hartford, CT from Oct. 14-15. The two games can be streamed on ESPN+.