The UConn Men’s Hockey team wrapped up their series against Hockey East opponent No. 9 Providence. They started the weekend off in Providence, Rhode Island to open the series with the Friars then came back home to play the final game.
In Friartown, UConn and Providence tied 1-1. Sophomore goaltender Logan Terness played a large defensive role in keeping the Friars to a single goal.
Right from the puck drop, Providence came out hot, outshooting the Huskies 13-3. Despite the pressure, Terness kept them scoreless. Connecticut had its chance to score on a power play but freshmen Matthew Wood’s shot just missed the net.
In the second period, there were limited scoring opportunities on both ends. Like the first period, the Friars outshot the Huskies, but Terness continued to block them out. Defense played a huge part in the Huskies’ play as they ended up on the penalty kill three times in this period. Providence also had tough defense with goaltender Philip Svedback holding UConn from scoring. He made two back to back saves against freshman Jake Percival and junior Ryan Tverberg on breakaway opportunities.
Early in the third period, a UConn turnover resulted in a shorthanded goal scored by Providence’s Chase Yoder. Svedback remained at the top of his game and held the Huskies offense late into the period. Despite this, UConn had to find a way to tie the game as time was ticking. On the power play, junior Andrew Lucas attempted and missed a shot against the Providence net, but graduate student Justin Pearson located the loose puck and found the back of the net, forcing overtime.
In overtime, neither team scored which led to a best of three shootout. During that, freshman Samu Salminen scored the lone goal which gave UConn the shootout victory 1-0.
The Huskies and the Friars had a quick turnaround traveling back to Connecticut to battle it out one last time.
Unlike the first game, this closing contest was filled with offense. Providence jumped to a quick start when Nick Poisson scored two minutes into the game. They added to their lead a few minutes later when Brett Berard found the back of the net. The last thing UConn needed was for the Friars to score again but they eventually took a three-goal lead by the end of the first period. A penalty from Providence gave UConn the man advantage and the power play. That’s when Tverberg fired a shot past the Svedback to get the Huskies started. At the end of the first period Providence led 3-1.
This second period would be full of offense as both teams combined for four goals. UConn got its fire back scoring two unanswered goals to tie the game. Junior John Spetz got the rally going with scoring a one timer goal. Wood followed up the goal scoring on a breakaway to tie up the game at three. Providence didn’t let the game stay tied for long as they bounced back, gaining their one goal lead back. The Huskies didn’t stop fighting as Spetz skated the puck to the net and found Pearson to score, equalizing the score at four once again.
Due to the five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct penalty on Pearson, the Friars started the third period with the man advantage. Providence took advantage of this opportunity, scoring two goals and gaining a 6-4 lead. The Huskies were running out of time to score so they pulled goaltender Arsenii Sergeev to get the extra skater, with under three minutes left in the game. This was a worthy move for the Huskies as Salminen made the pass to Spetz, and cut Providence’s lead to one. Connecticut made the same decision to pull Sergeev with a minute left on the clock to pressure the Friars defense for one last chance to tie the game. In a thriller, Tverberg was in the perfect position with five seconds left to fire the puck into the net, rebounding off of Lucas’s shot, tying the game at six at the buzzer. This last minute goal forced overtime against Providence for the second night in a row.
In overtime, both teams made enormous saves, sending the game into a shootout. In the shootout, Sergeev stopped five out of six Friar attempts. For the Huskies Salminen and Percival scored. Percival scored the shootout winning goal. In the end, Connecticut came from behind and won the shootout against their Big East foe.
In the two immensely competitive matches, UConn and Providence tied both games. The Huskies’ record is now 9-1-3. They will be back in action next weekend when they play UMass-Lowell in a two game series. The teams will open up in Lowell, MA on Friday Nov. 18 at 7:15 p.m. and will finish the series back in Hartford on Nov. 19 at 3:35 p.m.