NORTH ANDOVER, Mass. – The UConn Huskies produced a season-low 16 shots on goal as they suffered a 3-0 Hockey East loss Friday night at Merrimack College. The Warriors sweep the season series from UConn and send the Huskies to their fourth-straight loss.
The Huskies, now 8-15-2 overall and 5-10-1 in Hockey East, were shutout for the third time in the last four games since starting the second half of the season on December 30th. Sophomore Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) made 35 saves in taking the loss.
Merrimack junior goaltender Craig Pantano stopped all 16 shots he saw in recording the first shutout of his career. After two scoreless periods, Merrimack’s Ludvig Larsson ended the drought and produced the game-winner with a power play goal just 1:52 into the third period.
MC sophomore Tyler Drevitch followed with his first career goal and classmate Cole McBride added an empty net goal late for close out the scoring. The Warriors held the Huskies to just one shot in the first period and finished the night with a 38-16 advantage on the shot chart.
Merrimack was all over the Huskies in the first period and did everything but put a goal on the board. The Warriors had a 15-1 advantage on the shot chart, and had 22 shot attempts to UConn’s 11. The Warriors got a 2-on-1 chance midway through the period, and drew a penalty for the only power play of the first.
Both goaltenders kept it scoreless again in the second but UConn’s Huska again had to do plenty of heavy lifting, stopping another 15 shots. The Huskies found a little more offense in the second, but were still outshot 15-7. Merrimack came up empty on the only power play of the period, just 2:32 into the second.
The Warriors got another 2-on-1 chance just under midway through the period but Huska turned away the initial shot and the rebound attempt. He put the period to bed with 1:23 left, snagging a Jace Hennig shot from under the left dot to keep it tied going to the third.
Merrimack finally cracked Huska just 1:52 into the final stanza, picking-up a power play goal on their third chance of the night. Larsson picked-up a pass from Brett Seney in the lower right circle, and curled to the face-off dot, snapping a shot through traffic and past Huska glove side for a 1-0 lead.
The Warriors wasted little time in extending their lead, making it 2-0 just 47 seconds later. Freshman Laine McKay forced a turnover deep in the UConn zone and fed an oncoming Drevitch in the slot who buried one top-shelf for his first career goal and a two-goal advantage.
The Huskies pulled Huska with 3:27 left to try and claw back in the game but Merrimack put the stamp on the win with a McBride empty net goal at 17:28 to seal it.
The Warriors snapped a streak of four-straight ties in the series with last Friday’s win and made it a series sweep tonight. Merrimack is now up 26-3-5 in the all-time series and since UConn joined Hockey East in 2014-15, lead the series is 3-1-5. This season sweep is the first in the series over the last four years.
This is the fifth time this season UConn has been held scoreless, marking the most shutout losses in a season since 2009-10 when they were blanked seven times.