Men’s Hockey: Ice Bus suffers shutout loss in Frozen Apple, prepares to bounce back against Merrimack  

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UConn men’s hockey suffer a 6-0 shutout loss against Cornell at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. The Huskies traveled out of state for this non-conference Frozen Apple matchup, and will return to the ice this coming Tuesday at 7pm against Merrimack College at their home turf in North Andover, MA. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk/Daily Campus.

In a highly anticipated matchup at Madison Square Garden, the No. 8 UConn men’s hockey team was shut out by Cornell 6-0.  

This game was the 27th time that the Big Red has played at the Garden and they hold an all-time record of 16-8-2 in this arena. Cornell’s dominance over the Huskies showed that they are comfortable playing on this ice and in front of their home crowd in the Big Apple.  

From the puck drop, Cornell overpowered the Huskies. They set the tone early, scoring a goal 32 seconds into the game. Cornell’s Dalton Bancroft found the loose puck next to the net and shot it past UConn goaltender Logan Terness. The team wasted no time after and found the net for a second time, making the score 2-0 early in the first period. They continued to pressure UConn’s defense, scoring yet another goal while the net was unattended to finish the period with a 3-0 lead.  

The game was at a standstill for a bit in the second period until the Big Red struck again. Bancroft was on fire for Cornell scoring his second and third goals of the game to extend its lead to 5-0 over the Huskies. Connecticut continued to struggle on offense and never got momentum going. Cornell goaltender Ian Shane silenced the Huskies, making 13 saves in the first two periods.  

Going into the third period, UConn continued to be shut out by the Big Red. Cornell added another goal in the final minutes of the game, extending the lead to 6-0.  

In between play, the Garden roared with Red as most of the crowd was filled with Cornell fans. The environment was immaculate from the start and the energy created from the crowd bolstered Cornell’s confidence. The fans definitely had an effect on the game as they erupted when Cornell scored its first two goals.  

In Midtown Manhattan, the Huskies were defeated by Cornell making their record fall to 10-3-3. They were 0-2 on the power play and got outshot by Cornell 22-16.  

Overall, this was a disappointing and shocking loss for the Huskies. They struggled from the start and never got into a rhythm. This type of play is different from the patterns that UConn has been showcasing this season. There have been games against teams like Providence, Boston College and Boston University where the Huskies have trailed but they overcame their weaknesses to fight their way to a comeback win. That was not the case in this game with Cornell’s powerful defense giving the Huskies very limited chances to do any damage at all.  

UConn men’s hockey suffer a 6-0 shutout loss against Cornell at Madison Square Garden in New York City on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. The Huskies traveled out of state for this non-conference Frozen Apple matchup, and will return to the ice this coming Tuesday at 7pm against Merrimack College at their home turf in North Andover, MA. Photo by Sofia Sawchuk/Daily Campus.

“It’s a long season, one game does not define the season,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said on the team’s performance. “Tonight they [Cornell] were much better than we were.” 

The Huskies look to rebound on Tuesday when they travel to North Andover, Mass. to face No. 12 Merrimack at seven p.m. Although this is an opportunity for Connecticut to bounce back after a harsh outing at the Garden, they are facing a top 25 opponent in Merrimack. 

The Warriors will come into this matchup with a 10-3-0 record. They are on a roll in their most recent stretch of play as they have a seven-game winning streak. A strength for Merrimack has been their tough defense. Two weeks ago, graduate student Slava Demin was awarded with Hockey East Defender of the Week after this performance against the University of Maine. He has had a lot of success with passing in their most recent games. 

“Sometimes I think that’s the best thing to be able to play right again so we don’t have to wait a week,” Coach Cavanaugh on UConn’s quick turnaround against Merrimack. “Another very good, quality opponent who’s been playing great hockey.” 

After this game the Huskies fell two spots on the NCAA rankings and now sit at No. 8. UConn looks to get back on their feet as they prepare for No. 12 Merrimack. The time frame between their upcoming game and the Frozen Apple is shorter than the Huskies are used to but they could definitely use it as an advantage. Instead of dwelling on the brutal loss against Cornell, UConn is forced to get back on the ice and get back into the groove, which might benefit its play. 

After the Huskies play in North Andover on Tuesday, they will return home to Storrs to get ready for another game against the Warriors. Connecticut will have a few days off but will be back in action on Friday, Dec. 2 to play Merrimack at home. Puck drop is set for 7:05 p.m. at the XL Center in Hartford.   

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