HAMDEN, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team fell behind 2-0 in the first and couldn’t recover as No. 4/3 nationally ranked Quinnipiac got goals from five different players on the road to a 5-2 win Wednesday night in front of a sold out 3,290 at High Point Solutions Arena. The Huskies suffer their first loss on the season and fall to 2-1-2 on the year. The Bobcats are now 3-1-1.
UConn’s freshman goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Sweden) got his second-straight start in goal and posted 38 saves in taking the loss. QU’s Chris Truehl stopped 29 shots for the Bobcats for his second win on the young season.
The Huskies got goals from junior Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) and sophomore Karl El-Mir (Montreal, Quebec) in the loss. Senior Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia) picked-up a pair of assists.
Quinnipiac’s Andrew Taverner scored the game’s first goal and added an assist. Connor Clifton and Brogan Rafferty each had goals and an assist as well for the Bobcats.
UConn finished 1-of-3 on the power play while Quinnipiac went 1-for-4 with the extra skater. The Bobcats finished with a 43-31 edge in the shot department in the win.
Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh – “Certainly wasn’t the result we wanted but I was proud of the fight in our guys. We had to face a little bit of adversity there and I thought we fought pretty hard. We didn’t execute some plays and that certainly cost us. I really do thing our guy competed and went hard. I think I can look at every one of our guys and know they left it on the ice and it just wasn’t good enough. Quinnipiac was better than we were tonight.”
Quinnipiac extended their lead to 17-11-2 in the all-time series between the two schools. The Huskies are now 16-53-10 all-time against teams from the ECAC.
Richardson had a pair of assists in the loss, marking his second multi-point game of the season and his career. The two assists matches his career-high, set at Providence back on Feb. 4, 2015.
The Huskies came into the game having killed off 20 of 21 penalties on the season, including 13-straight after the first period tonight. QU ended the streak with Clifton’s second period goal at 12:05 to make it 5-2. QU finished 1-of-4 on the power play Wednesday night.
Wednesday night’s line-up marked the first time classmates Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) and Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) have been on different lines since last November 24th match-up with Boston College, a span of 28 games.
Prior to the game, Quinnipiac asked fans for a moment of silence in honor of former UConn coach and player Bruce Marshall, who passed away last weekend. Both teams also gathered at center ice at the end of the game for a ceremonial “stick-tap” in honor of Marshall. UConn will wear Marshall’s initials “BM” on their helmets for the rest of the season.
QU opened the scoring at 7:54 as Andrew Taverner whipped a wrist shot from the high point that weaved its way through traffic and past a screened Huska for his third on the season.
Craig Martin made it 2-0 QU with just 25 seconds left with his second of the season. The Bobcats won a face-off in the zone and Martin came up with the puck curling in front of the net. He got off a wrist shot as he was falling to beat Huska bar down.
UConn’s Letunov was assessed a five-minute major and disqualification for boarding at 8:16. Letunov will have to no sit out Friday night’s game against AIC.
The Bobcats outshot UConn 19-8 in the first.
The Huskies twice cut the Quinnipiac lead to a goal but both times the Bobcats answered.
UConn’s Naas scored his third of the year, stuffing home a rebound of a Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) shot on the power play at 1:44. QU answered at 3:43 on a Thomas Aldworth wrap-around goal, his second of the season.
The Huskies cut it to 3-2 at 9:17 as Richardson fought his way up the right wing and shoveled a shot on goal that was stopped. El-Mir followed up the play and buried the rebound for his second on the year.
QU answered back with consecutive goals just 1:04 apart. Brogan Rafferty buried on five-hole on a break-away and Connor Clifton rifled a wrist shot top-shelf past Huska glove side on a power play to push the lead to 5-2.
QU held a 17-10 edge on shots in the second.
Neither team lit the lamp in the final period with UConn grabbing a 13-7 advantage on the shot chart.
UConn returns to the XL Center on Friday night to host former Atlantic Hockey foe American International. Opening face-off is at 7:05 pm.