A monster third period on Saturday helped propel the University of Connecticut men’s ice hockey team to a 1-1 showing against the University of Vermont Catamounts over the weekend.
The two programs clashed for the first game of the weekend at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vermont on Friday evening. It was all Catamounts straight from the opening puck drop as the home team scored three goals in the first period alone. The first came in the sixth minute when UVM’s Xavier Henry took advantage of a mishap by Connecticut goalie Arsenii Sergeev and struck a short goal to begin the scoring. Vermont extended the lead to two in the 13th minute after a series of slick passes led to a score off the stick of Philip Törnqvist. The Mounts weren’t finished as with just under a minute remaining in the period, Will Zapernick exited the penalty box to recover the loose puck which led to a breakaway and score. The Huskies had two power play chances in the period but came up empty on both.
The second period saw both teams go scoreless. UVM had four power play chances in the frame but could not convert another goal. Over the course of the entire match, UConn managed six power play kills, one of the only bright spots in what was an otherwise disappointing showing.
The Catamounts took a four-score lead with another goal in the third, notched by Isak Walther in the seventh minute of the period. Connecticut continued to apply pressure and was finally awarded with a goal in the 17th minute of the period, managed by Andrew Lucas on the power play to put the Huskies on the board at 4-1. That score was finalized when the game-ending buzzer sounded three minutes later.
During the match, the Ice Bus went 1/3 when on the power play advantage, while the Mounts were 0/6. Sergeev managed 30 saves for the Huskies while UVM goalkeeper Gabe Carriere totaled 33 saves.
UConn responded in a major way when the teams returned for game two on Saturday. This time, it was the Huskies who mustered a big lead when the offense exploded for four scores in the third period.
After a scoreless first period, Vermont jumped out to a 2-0 lead with two goals in the second frame. Jens Richards sank the first and Ryan Miotto got the second in the seventh and 13th minutes of the period, respectively. Connecticut responded in the 16th minute on the power play as Samu Salminen found the back of the net to make the score 2-1.
The Ice Bus tied the game and took a two-score lead in the span of less than 40 seconds once the third period commenced. It was Tristan Fraser who scored the game-tying goal in the fifth minute of the period. In the same minute, Matthew Wood gave the away team their first lead of the weekend on a putback score. Immediately after, UConn went on the power play and on the ensuing faceoff managed yet another score. It was Wood again who sliced between defenders to sink his second score of the game and give the Huskies a 4-2 lead. With just over a minute remaining after UVM had pulled their goalie, Jake Percival scored the Huskies’ fifth goal of the contest. The 5-2 explosion was exactly what Connecticut needed after a lackluster showing to begin the weekend.
UConn went 2/4 on the power play in the match while the Catamounts were 0/4. Ethan Haider secured 27 saves in the goal for the Huskies in just under a full-game’s worth of time. Vermont’s Carriere also had 27 saves.
Connecticut is now 4-5-1 on the campaign and holds a 2-2 record against Hockey East opponents. Meanwhile, UVM moves to 2-3-1 overall this season and 1-2-1 in the Hockey East conference. With five points apiece, the two teams are tied for fifth place in the conference standings.
The Huskies’ next challenge lies ahead in a home-and-home against Merrimack next weekend. The two will meet on Friday at Toscano Family Ice Forum in Storrs, Connecticut at 7 p.m. Game two is set for Saturday at Lawler Arena in North Andover, Massachusetts, also at 7 p.m. Fans can catch the Huskies live on ESPN+.