BRIDGEPORT, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team knocked off the No. 15 nationally ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats Tuesday night at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport. Four different Huskies found the back of the net and sophomore goaltender Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 36 saves to help deliver the program’s third win all-time over a ranked opponent.
UConn struck first and never looked back Tuesday night, getting goals from sophomore Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia), senior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.), junior Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) and freshman Jesse Schwartz (Toronto, Ontario).
The Huskies picked-up their first power play goal of the season, scoring on their only chance with the extra skater when Quinnipiac's Canon Pieper was called for a cross-check at 13:32 of the first.
Sophomore Ryan Segalla (Rockland, Mass.) picked a puck off the left boards and fed senior Jacob Poe (Arlington, Texas) at the point. Poe let go a slap shot and sophomore Richardson was able to get a deflection in front, redirecting past Michael Garteig for his first goal of the season and a 1-0 lead.
For the second-straight game, the Huskies found the back of the net in the final seconds of the first period. Freshman Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) won a puck battle behind the QU net, getting a pass to junior Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) at the left post. Garteig made a pad save on Pauly’s point blank shot but the rebound found Gerling’s stick right in front and he poked it home for his first on the year and 2-0 Husky lead into the locker room.
The Bobcats went to their back-up goaltender to start the second in Sean Lawrence then needed just 43 seconds to get on the scoreboard. Quinnipiac got the puck out of a scrum in front of the net and Sam Anas was just able to push a shot off a UConn stick and inside the left post to pull within 2-1. The Huskies answered with their third goal at 12:08 as Quinnipiac would go back to Garteig in net after the Kirtland goal.
Freshman Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass) collected the puck in the defensive zone and was able to split a pair of QU defenders and carry the puck in. Ronan lost the puck in the corner but battled to get possession back, firing a pass to Kirtland waiting in the high slot for a one-timer past Lawrence. UConn nearly tacked on a fourth goal to end the second as Gerling and Naas both rang the pipe in the closing seconds.
The Husky defense stood tall in front of Nichols in the second and third periods, killing off all-four Quinnipiac power plays. Nichols stopped 11 shots in the second and 16 in the third to grab the win. The Huskies tacked on an empty net goal with 39 seconds left as Schwartz collected a rebounded shot near the blue line, took a few strides and lofted a shot on net for his first career goal. Nichols was credited with an assist on the play, the first of his career.
Tuesday’s win marks the second win over a ranked opponent under head coach Mike Cavanaugh. The Huskies beat nationally ranked No. 9 Providence, 3-2, last season. Their first ever win over a ranked team came during the 2011-12 season, UConn defeated then No. 19 ranked Air Force, 3-1, in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic Hockey Playoffs.
The Bobcats got 37 shots on Tuesday night while UConn scored four times off their 19 total shots.
The Huskies return to Hockey East action this Saturday with a trip to the University of Vermont. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm from Gutterson Field House