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UConn Win Streak Ends with 3-2 Loss to UMass

Feb. 22, 2018

Final Stats

HARTFORD, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team tied the game late in the third period but UMass’s Cale Makar scored the game winner with 1:08 left to end the Huskies’ seven-game winning streak in a 3-2 loss at the XL Center on Thursday night.

UConn ends the regular season at 15-17-2 overall and 11-12-1 in Hockey East, finishing with 23 points.  The Huskies are tied for fifth in the Hockey East standings and will await the results of this weekend’s games to see how playoff seeding shakes out.  The Huskies can finish fifth, sixth or seventh in the final standings.

Senior Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) finished the night with a goal and an assist while classmate Jesse Schwartz (Toronto, Ontario) had the game-tying goal in the third period, his 10th of the season.

UMass’ George Mika and Austin Albrecht each had a goal and an assist in the win, giving the Minute men a 2-1 lead after the first. Makar scored the game-winner for the Minutemen who improved to 14-17-2 overall and 8-13-2 in Hockey East.

Neither team got a power play chance on Thursday with the only penalties called were matching minors in the first period.

UConn senior goaltender Tanner Creel (Arlingon Heights, Ill.) made 19 saves in the loss.  UMass goaltender Matt Murray made 24 stops to earn the win.


 

 

1st:
The Huskies struck first, taking a 1-0 lead at 12:06 of the first period on Naas’ 12th goal of the season.  Freshman Brian Rigali (Libertyville, Ill.) took a feed from senior David Drake (Naperville, Ill.) and broke up the middle of the ice.  Rigali left the puck for Naas on the left wing and he beat Murray to the short side with a wrist shot from inside the circle.

The Minutemen answered with a pair of goals at 14:48 and 16:19 to take the lead.  Mika tied the game at 1-1 with a one-timer off a feed from Hildenbrand from the left circle, his ninth on the season.  UMass made it 2-1 just under two minutes later as Hildenbrand help setup another goal.  Off a face-off win in the UConn zone, Hildenbrand threw the puck on net from the right half boards and Albrect was right in front to get a tip past Creel for his second on the season. 

2nd:
Both teams skated to a scoreless second period with UConn holding an 8-7 edge on shots. 

3rd:
The Huskies put 12 shots on the board in the third to five for UMass and finally found the back of the net late in the period with the goaltender pulled.

Keeping the puck in the zone, junior Karl El-Mir (Montreal, Quebec) circled around the point and fed Naas on the left wing.  Naas drove the net and was tripped up but the puck found Schwartz who on his second try was able to bang it in at the right post off Murray to tie the game at 2-2 at 18:40.

The Minutemen need just 12 seconds to find the game-winner.  Albrecht got the puck to Makar on the blue line along the right boards.  Makar fired on net and got the puck through traffic in front of Creel, his fourth goal on the season, producing the 3-2 final. 

Notes:
The Huskies drop the season series to UMass, 2-1-0.  The Minutemen led the all-time series 28-13-3 and since joining Hockey East in 2014-15, UConn is 4-4-1 against UMass.

Naas extended his point streak to a career-best eight-straight games with his goal and assist.  During his streak, he has 12 points (6g/6a).  It was his sixth multi-point game this season and 14th of his career.  On the season, he has 23 points (12g/11a), a new career-high mark.

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