BURLINGTON, Vt. – The UConn men’s hockey team lost a tough 2-1 defensive battle with the No. 17 nationally ranked Vermont Catamounts in front of 4,007 fans at Gutterson Field House Saturday night. The Huskies fell to 1-3-1 overall and 0-2-0 in Hockey East with the loss.
The Catamounts remained unbeaten at 4-0-0 and 2-0-0 in league play with the win. UVM came in to Saturday’s game having allowed just three goals through their first three games and continued to play solid defense in front of junior goaltender Brody Hoffman who made 21 saves in the win. The Huskies outshot an opponent for the first time this season, finishing with a 22-21 edge on shots.
The Huskies and Catamounts played a tight first period, with UConn holding a 5-4 edge on shots. The Huskies got their best scoring chance after a Vermont turnover deep in the zone. During a line change, senior Ryan Tyson (Harleysville, Pa.) collected a loose puck in the right circle and centered a pass to a streaking Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) who just missed wide left on an empty net.
Vermont got their first power play opportunity in the closing seconds of the first as Tyson was called for tripping at 19:09. The Catamounts opened the second period scoring with the extra skater as Alexx Privitera made it 1-0 just 53 seconds in. Brendan Bradley set up Privitera at the point, who took a stride in and whipped a shot past Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) top-shelf, glove side. The goal, Privitera’s first of the season, was the first power play goal allowed by the Huskies this season.
UConn got 10 shots through in the second but couldn’t crack Hoffman while also going 0-2 on the power play during the period.
Looking for a tying goal just under five minutes into the third, sophomore Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) carried up the right wing and tried a tough angle back-hand shot but Hoffman came up with the stop, controlling the rebound.
UVM made it 2-0 at the 6:20 mark as Colin Markison fired a shot from the left circle that was deflected. The puck trickled behind Nichols where Mike Stenerson charged in to clean it up the loose puck for his second of the year and a 2-0 Catamount lead.
The Huskies cut the lead in half at 12:54 as senior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) buried a one-timer from the left circle off a feed from Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia. It was Gerling’s second goal on the year and second in as many games.
UConn pulled Nichols with 1:09 for the extra skater, looking for the tying goal. Freshman Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) got a shot on net but that was all the Huskies could muster before the final horn.
The Catamounts killed off all three Husky power plays Saturday night and went 1-for-4 with the extra skater.
The Huskies will close out their season-opening seven-game road trip next weekend with a pair of games in the Liberty Hockey Invitational at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. UConn will play Merrimack in a non-conference match-up Friday, October 31st at 4:30 pm. The Huskies will then take on either Yale or Princeton on Sunday, November 2nd, time to be announced.
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