In their first weekend being at home in over a month, the No. 16 University of Connecticut men’s hockey team thrived, winning against Alaska Anchorage and New Hampshire.
The weekend started off on Friday with the first ever student-only game at Toscano Family Ice Forum. UConn did not disappoint, defeating Alaska Anchorage 4-3 in overtime.
Junior Hudson Schandor got the Huskies started with the one-timer goal after graduate student Justin Pearson and freshman Matthew Wood found him cross-ice. Sophomore goaltender Logan Terness kept the competitive Seawolves scoreless in the first period, having 10 saves.
UConn’s offensive surge continued in the second period as they were constantly pressuring the Seawolves’ net. After continuous looks for redirections and loose pucks, freshman Tristan Fraser rebounded a shot from senior Harrison Rees to extend the Huskies lead to 2-0. Despite UConn’s lead, Alaska Anchorage did not back down as they cut the lead in half with a goal scored by Matt Allen.
Entering the third period with a 2-1 lead, UConn continued to battle to protect their lead. On the power play, junior Nick Capone added for Huskies, firing a one timer goal to the back of the Seawolves’ net to gain the 3-1 lead. However, the game was far from over when Alaska Anchorage came back, scoring two unanswered goals to tie the game at three in the final frame. Neither team was able to get the winning goal on the board, sending the game into a sudden death 3 vs. 3 overtime.
In overtime, UConn got off on the right foot, attacking the defense of Alaska Anchorage and keeping the puck out of their defensive zone as Terness did not make a single save. With just over two minutes left in overtime, junior Ryan Tverberg sped past a defender to pass the puck to Schandor cross-ice. In that time Schandor received the pass and fell down while shooting the puck towards the net, which eventually found its way over the goaltenders shoulder for the 4-3 win.
“I would’ve liked to win that in regulation, but if you’re not going to win it in regulation on a student-only night, to win it in overtime is awesome,” said Coach Mike Cavanaugh on the win.
“That was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life, the energy that they brought for us was huge at the start of the game which I think was a huge reason why we came out so hot,” said Schandor in the student-only crowd. “So, we will need that moving forward for sure.”
With this win, Connecticut improved to a 18-10-3 overall record and Terness improved to 10-5-2 on the season. The Huskies had a day in between games as they got right back on the ice to face Hockey East opponent, New Hampshire. Coming off of last weekend where UConn was handed two losses in Durham, this game was very significant for it to turn around their performances from the previous weekend.
They did just that, getting the win over New Hampshire behind a six goal performance.
From the puck drop, the Huskies took control as Tverberg got them started with a goal just 38 seconds into the game. Tverberg’s speed did not stop there as he challenged the New Hampshire defense once again to score his second goal of the night. The Huskies kept the Wildcats scoreless in the first period, limiting their chances to get to the net. With eight seconds left on the clock in the first frame, freshman Tabor Heaslip passed the puck to Fraser for the one timer goal to put the Huskies up 3-0 into the break.
The second period was all defense, with freshman goaltender Arsenii Sergeev behind it all. The Huskies shut out the Wildcats offense for a second period in a row to keep them scoreless. Sergeev finished the second frame with 12 saves as the score remained 3-0 UConn.
New Hampshire’s scoreless run would end in the third period with a goal scored by Liam Devlin. However, from that point on, the Huskies would not give up another goal. They then added three unanswered goals scored by senior Jake Fylnn, freshman Samu Salminen and sophomore Jake Veilleux. UConn closed out the game, sealing the 6-1 victory over New Hampshire.
As the regular season is winding down, the Huskies will continue to monitor the Hockey East standings as they currently hold the fourth seed. UConn sits two points above UMass Lowell and five points behind Northeastern who holds the third seed.
Connecticut will finish up the regular season with a home-and-home series against Boston College next weekend. They will travel to Chestnut Hill for a match on Friday night, then return home to Storrs for their last game of the regular season with a senior night celebration on March 4.