NEWARK, N.J. – The UConn Huskies fell to instate rival Yale University, 2-1, in the championship game of the Liberty Hockey Invitational Sunday afternoon from the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Freshman Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) picked up his first collegiate goal in the loss.
Yale goaltender Alex Lyon turned in 32 saves, 17 coming in the third period, to deliver the Bulldogs their first win of the season. UConn’s Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 22 saves for the Huskies who fall to 1-4-2 overall with the loss.
The Bulldogs jumped in front 1-0 at 4:27 of the first period on an odd man rush. The Huskies lost the puck at the blue line where Yale’s John Hayden picked it up through the neutral zone for a two-on-one break-out. Hayden carried up the right wing and slid a perfect pass to a hard charging Frankie DiChiara who buried it at the left post for his first on the year.
UConn junior Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) nearly tied it eight minutes in after splitting the defense to go one-on-one with Yale netminder Alex Lyon who made a blocker save on the shot. The Bulldogs made it a 2-0 lead at 14:14 with Cody Learned scoring just as he went head first into Nichols and the net. Senior Nicholas Weberg fired a shot from the left circle with Nichols making the stop. The rebound came out front where Learned was just able to touch up in before being pushed from behind into Nichols and the net.
The Huskies cut into the Yale lead midway through the second period thanks to a pair of rookies. Ronan dug the puck of the right boards and fed a pass to classmate Johnny Austin (St. Louis Park, Minn.) at the high point. Austin ripped a shot through traffic off the pads of Lyon. The rebound came right to the stick of Ronan who fired it home at the right post to pull the Huskies to within 2-1 at 11:07.
UConn got off to a fast start to the third period, getting four quick shots on goal in the opening minutes but couldn’t solve Lyon. The Huskies outshot the Bulldogs 17-7 over the final 20 minutes and were able to pull Nichols in the closing minutes for the extra skater but could not get the equalizing goal past tournament MVP Lyon.
The Huskies finished the night with a 33-24 edge on shots and failed to score on their one power play opportunity.
Freshman Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) was named to the all-tournament team and was joined by Yale’s Ryan Hitchcock and John Hayden and Merrimack’s Dan Kolomatis and Brian Christie.
UConn will play their home opener on Wednesday night, November 5th, hosting the No. 5 nationally ranked Boston College Eagles at the XL Center. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7:05 pm.