Men’s ice hockey trounces UConn 6-2

Men's ice hockey trounces UConn 6-2

Max Molski

The UConn Huskies have played some of their best hockey against Quinnipiac. In last year’s lone matchup, the Huskies beat then No. 15 Bobcats 4-1 at the Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

UConn asserted similar dominance early in the game against Quinnipiac at the XL Center in Hartford on Tuesday. It only took 1:10 for UConn to get on the board as Joseph Masonius slid the puck past Quinnipiac’s starting goaltender, Sean Lawrence, on a power play. Max Kalter fired a shot past Lawrence from the right side midway through the period to propel the Huskies to a 2-0 lead.

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After 15 minutes, UConn, a team that lost six straight going into Tuesday’s matchup, looked like it might upend Quinnipiac, a team that won all 10 games to start its season, for the second straight time.

And then the 2015 Quinnipiac Bobcats showed up.

“They came out and jumped us,” head coach Rand Pecknold said,” And we were struggling a little bit. It’s a resilient group and I’m really proud of the guys in the way they battled back.”

The Bobcats got one goal before the first intermission on a power play. Travis St. Denis, Landon Smith, and Sam Anas completed a tic-tac-toe play in front of UConn goalie Rob Nichols.

Although the Bobcats crept back into the game with the first period goal, it began an onslaught in the second period.

Anas score again as he flipped a backhand rebound in on another Quinnipiac power play just 51 seconds into the period for his eighth goal of the year and his fourth in his last three games. 15 seconds later, Connor Clifton gave the Bobcats a 3-2 edge as he took the puck up the right side and fired it over Nichols’ left shoulder.

“I think just doing the little things the right way and getting rewarded,” Anas said. “It was just guys in front crashing, making plays, and getting rewarded for playing a hard game.”

UConn’s Evan Richardson put the Huskies at a man disadvantage for seven minutes following a penalty and ensuing game misconduct for cross-checking after the officials blew the whistle.

“I don’t really have a gripe with the referees,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “Evan cross-checked the kid after he had the penalty. It was clear as day. I’m not upset at the referee. I’m upset that we lost our composure.”

Quinnipiac scored twice on the extended power play to increase the Quinnipiac lead to 5-2. St. Denis scored his eighth goal of the year on a rip from the right side and Tim Clifton got a goal off his skate to extend his scoring streak to all seven of the games he has played in this season.

“I think our power play has been good,” St. Denis said. “Last weekend we kind of struggled a little bit, so that was one of our key points coming into tonight’s game.”

Michael Garteig, who relieved Sean Lawrence at the start of the second period, only faced three shots in the period and seven shots all together.

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Graphic by Justin Cait

“The change did us well,” Pecknold said. “I would have preferred to have [Garteig] have the night off but we also needed to win the game today.”

The lone goal of the third period came of the stick of Luke Shiplo. The freshman lifted the puck over Nichols’ far shoulder for his first collegiate goal and cemented a 6-2 win.

The victory improved the No. 3 Bobcats’ record to 11-0-0 on the season. The team returns to High Points Solutions arena on Friday to face-off against Clarkson before playing St. Lawrence on Saturday.

“We just had a nice big win,” Pecknold said. “Right now it’s just let’s get a good stretch, get in the shower, we get out of here, we get home, and we’ll start reloading tomorrow.”

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