HARTFORD, Conn. – UConn senior Jesse Schwartz (Toronto, Ontario) scored a pair of goals but the Huskies dropped their weekend series opener to the No. 17 nationally ranked Ohio State Buckeyes, 5-4, Friday night at the XL Center. The two teams will close the weekend set on Saturday afternoon at 3:35 pm in Hartford.
The Huskies dropped to 3-8-1 overall while the Buckeyes improved to 6-3-2 with the win. IN addition to Schwartz’s two-goal night, classmate Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) scored and added a pair of assists. Junior Max Kalter (Highland Park, Ill.) had the Huskies’ other goal.
Ohio State built a 2-0 lead after the first and made it 3-0 early in the second period before the Huskies began to mount a comeback. The Buckeyes never gave up their lead however as freshman goaltender Tommy Nappier, making his first career start, made 35 saves to earn the win.
OSU senior Matthew Weis scored the game’s first two goals and would later add an assist. Junior Mason Jobst chipped in a goal and an assist as did classmate Dakota Joshua. Senior Christian Lampasso scored what proved to be the game-winner in the third. The Buckeyes finished the night 2-for-4 on the power play.
The Huskies started senior Tanner Creel (Arlington Heights, Ill.) in goal and he made 14 saves before giving way to sophomore Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) midway through the third. The Huskies held a 39-21 shot edge, dominating the second and third periods by a 32-9 count.
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The Buckeyes got two in the first period thanks to the combo of Weis and Laczynski. Ohio State struck just 40 seconds into the period as Laczynski carried into the zone and fired on Creel from the right circle. Creel couldn’t corral the rebound and Weis found the puck near the left post for the rebound goal, his third on the year.
Weis scored his second on the night at 7:57, again putting home a rebound off a Laczynski shot. Gordi Myer fed Laczynski into the high slot who fired on net, hitting the right post. The puck slid behind Creel and Weis found it at the left post to tuck it home for a 2-0 lead.
The Buckeyes made it 3-0 at 4:13 with a power play goal from Joshua. Defenseman Matt Miller shoveled the puck to Mason Jobst in the right circle. Jobst fed Joshua right in front of the net and the junior spun and tucked the puck past Creel for his third on the year.
UConn cracked the scoring column at 8:59 with Schwartz battling and knocking a puck out of a scrum in front of the net. Freshman Adam Karashik (Ridgefield, Conn.) fired from the slot with Nappier making the stop. Karl El-Mir (Montreal, Quebec) got his stick on the puck but Schwartz pushed it over the line before Nappier could recover, scoring his first on the season to cut it to 3-1.
The Huskies were awarded a penalty shot at 12:06 as Freddy Gerard hooked Benjamin Freeman (Freehold, Maine) on a break-away. Freeman was denied however as Nappier made the stop glove side. The Huskies did get one more on the board at 18:41 as Naas got a deflection off a David Drake (Naperville, Ill.) shot from the top of high left point to cut it to 3-2. For Naas it was his fourth on the season.
Ohio State scored their second power play goal of the night at 3:58 to push their lead to 4-2. Jobst took a feed from Matt Miller and skated into the right circle and fired on Creel, beating the goaltender through traffic five-hole for his sixth on the season.
The Huskies pulled back to within one on Schwartz’s second goal of the night, coming on the power play at 6:34. Sophomore Wyatt Newpower (Hugo, Minn.) blasted a one-timer from the high point that Nappier stopped but left the rebound for Schwartz to clean-up near the right post to pull within 4-3.
OSU answered once again, a Lampasso scored his second on the year at 7:37 to push the lead to 5-3 and chase UConn starter Creel from the game. Defenseman Gordi Myer shot a puck off the back boards with Lampasso picking it and stuffing it past Creel at the left post.
UConn got a five-minute power play chance at 9:43 as Lampasso was given a major and game misconduct for hitting from behind. The Huskies failed to capitalize and would pull Huska with two minutes to play looking to mount a late push. Kalter cut the lead to 5-4 at 17:14, scoring off a feed cross ice from Freeman. The Huskies got plenty of looks in the final minute but Nappier held on for the 5-4 win.
Ohio State improved to 2-0-1 all-time against UConn and the two teams close their series on Saturday. The Huskies are now 2-6-2 against the Big Ten Conference.
Schwartz recorded his first career multi-goal game and also matched his career-high for points. His second period goal snapped a streak of 49 games since he last scored, on January 23, 2016 at Boston College.
Naas notched his third multi-point game this season and the 11th of his career. His two assists matched his career-high, set twice before. Naas is now tied with Johnny Austin (Saint Louis Park, Minn.) and Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) for the team lead with nine points (4g/5a).
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