BOSTON, Mass. – The UConn men’s hockey team fired 31 shots on Maine Rob McGovern and the sophomore goaltender stopped every one as the Huskies were shutout 4-0 Saturday afternoon at the 2017 Capitol One Frozen Fenway at Boston’s historic Fenway Park.
The Huskies and Black Bears split their Hockey East season series as UConn falls to 9-8-6 overall and 5-4-2 in the league. Maine is now 8-11-3 and 2-7-1 in Hockey East.
Maine senior Cam Brown led all players with a goal and two assists, providing the game-winner with his first period tally. Classmate Blaine Byron scored and assisted on another as Maine’s top-line of Brown, Byron and Brendan Robbins finished with seven points (2g/5a) in the win.
Sophomore defenseman Rob Michel scored and added an assist. Maine finished with a 44-31 edge on shots while both teams went 0-for-3 on the power play.
For UConn, freshman goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) made 40 saves in taking the loss.
Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh – “We are clearly disappointed in the result. We thought with the exception of the first 10 minutes of the second period we played a good hockey game, we just didn’t score. Maine played well and capitalized on their opportunities and we didn’t. We had a couple of break-away chances to kind of energize our team but McGovern played well. My hats off to him, I thought he did a great job.”
The Huskies were shutout for the first time since Feb. 12, 2016 at then No. 5 Providence, falling 4-0.
Maine evened the all-time series back up at 3-3-3 and snapped the Huskies six-game unbeaten streak (3-0-3) in the series that dated back to 2010-11. This marks Maine first win over UConn since the Huskies became members of Hockey East in 2014-15. The previous Maine win over UConn came in 1978-79 (10-4; 11/29/78).
Huska’s 40 save effort was the second time this season he has posted 40 or more saves in a game. He had a career-high 47 in a 4-2 win at Notre Dame back in October.
The Black Bears struck first and the posted the only goal of the first period just 2:33 into the game. Blaine Byron picked up a loose puck deep in the Husky zone and shuffled a pass behind the net to Brown who circled in front and stuffed the puck in far side for his fourth of the year.
Maine extended their lead to 2-0 midway through the second period. UConn’s Huska came far out of his net for a poke check but the puck found the stick of a trailing Rob Michel who quickly found a streaking Byron headed to goal. With Huska far out of position, Byron was able to just shovel the feed into the empty net for his 10th on the season and a 2-0 lead at 10:53.
The Black Bears made it a 3-0 game at 6:55, scoring with the extra attacker on the ice thanks to a delayed penalty call. Brown fed the puck to the point where Michel wound-up and blasted a one-timer through traffic to beat Huska. It was Michel’s sixth on the season.
Maine’s Nolan Vesey put the finishing touches on the shutout win with an empty net goal at 18:03, his sixth goal on the season.
The Huskies head to the University of Vermont for a Hockey East match-up live on the American Sports Network and NESN on Friday, January 20th. Opening face-off is at 6:00 pm.
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