BURLINGTON, Vt. – University of Connecticut junior goaltender Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) turned in 34 saves but the Huskies fell for the sixth-straight game, losing at Vermont 2-1 Friday night in a Hockey East match-up from Gutterson Field House. The loss drops UConn to 3-8-0 overall and 1-6-0 in Hockey East. The Catamounts improved to 3-6-1 overall and 2-2-1 in league action.
The Huskies and Catamounts each scored second period power play goals but Vermont’s Dan Senkbeil provided the game-winner at 9:05 in the third. Vermont finished with a 36-21 edge on shots including a 17-5 advantage in the final period. Mike Santaguida turned in 20 saves to pick up the win in goal.
The teams skated to a scoreless first period with UVM leading 13-3 on shots. The Huskies had a pair of grade “A’ chances with two breakaways in the period. Early on, sophomore Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) split the defense and took a lead pass from classmate Kasperi Ojantakanen (Vantaa, Finland) but was stopped by Santaguida at the right post.
Late in the period with UVM on a power play, sophomore Jesse Schwartz (Toronto, Ontario) got free and picked up a loose puck to skate in on Santaguida shorthanded but once again the junior netminder kept the Huskies out of the back of the net.
The Catamounts took advantage of their first power play of the night as junior Brendan Bradley picked-up his first goal of the season to give his team a 1-0 lead. Bradley buried a one-timer for the right circle on a cross ice pass from classmate Brady Shaw at 12:08.
The Huskies pulled the game even when they converted on their first chance with the extra skater. Freshman Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) burst up the left wing and fired off Santaguida’s pad. The rebound came out high where freshman Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) collected it and scored before Santaguida could recover. For Thompson it was his fourth goal on the season, all coming on the power play.
UConn went on the penalty kill early in the second period and got their third odd-man rush chance of the night. Sophomore Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) shoveled a pass over to senior Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) who just missed on a shorthand try.
UVM came up with the game-winner at 9:05 as rebound off a Craig Puffer shot came out high into the slot where Senkbeil collected and buried in the top right corner for his second on the year and a 2-1 lead. The Huskies got a power play opportunity at 13:30 and it turned into a 5-on-3 chance when Anthony Petruzzelli was called for a slash just 35 seconds later.
The Huskies couldn’t capitalize and saw the two-man advantage erased when Thompson was called for holding just 52 seconds into it. UConn pulled Nichols for the extra skater with 1:30 left but saw their best chance go wide on an Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia) blast from the point.
The Huskies return home on Tuesday night, November 17th when they play host to instate rival and the No. 3 nationally ranked Quinnipiac Bobcats at the XL Center.
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