HARTFORD, Conn. - The UConn men's hockey team scored twice in the third period to pull within a goal of No. 3 ranked Boston University before the Terriers tacked on two late goals, including an empty netter, to notch a 5-2 Hockey East win Saturday afternoon in front of 7,712 fans at the XL Center. The Huskies got goals from senior Cody Sharib (Needham, Mass.) and freshman Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) in the loss as UConn falls to 3-6-4 overall and 2-3-1 in Hockey East.
The Terriers finished off a weekend sweep of their two league games (W, 3-2 ot vs. Maine on Friday), and move to 8-1-1 overall and 6-1-1 in the conference. Junior Ahti Oksanen led the way with a pair of goals and an assist while sophomore Nick Roberto scored his first of the season, proving to be the game-winner. Junior Matt O'Connor made 20 saves to earn the victory in goal.
The Huskies came out flying to start the first period, earning a power play in the first 30 seconds of play while outshooting BU, 7-0, over the first five minutes of play. Despite the fast start, UConn couldn't crack O'Connor for an early goal and the Terrier special teams produced the game's first two goals. BU's Oksanen scored his first of the afternoon, coming on the power play at the 7:28 mark. Freshman Jack Eichel took a feed on the left half boards and fired on net seeing his shot get deflected. Oksanen was waiting at the right post to collect the loose puck and bury it for a 1-0 lead.
Boston University made it 2-for-2 on the power play early in the second period. A hooking call on UConn's Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) gave the Terriers a power play at 2:28. BU's Cason Hohmann deflected a Brandon Hickey shot from the point at the right post to give the Terriers a 2-0 lead. After getting out shot 12-7 by UConn in the first, BU flipped the script on the Huskies in the second, holding an 11-5 edge in the shot department.
The Terriers made it 3-0 just 2:37 into the third period. Chase Phelps threw the puck on net from the left circle where Roberto was crashing the net and saw the shot deflect past Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) off his skate right in front. After a review, the goal stood and the Terrier looked to be skating away with the game, leading 3-0.
UConn had other ideas and a pair of goals just 57 seconds apart pulled the Huskies right back in the game. Senior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) got Pauly loose on a break-away up the right boards and the junior forward got a shot on O'Connor that he turned away. The rebound came right out to a hard charging Sharib up the left wing who buried the puck for his first of the season, cutting the lead to 3-1 at 7:49.
The Huskies struck again at 8:46 as senior Ryan Tyson (Harleysville, Pa.) dug the puck out of the corner, feeding junior Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) behind the net. Kirtland sent a slick pass to Ronan in the left circle and the rookie buried it top-shelf for his second of the year to cut it to one, 3-2.
The UConn offense kept pressing for the tying goal and nearly found it with just over 4:07 left. Freshman Jeff Wight (Coquitlam, British Columbia) won a puck battle in the right corner and centered a pass to sophomore Joona Kunnas (Vantaa, Finland) who shoveled a one-timer attempt on goal that O'Connor denied, preserving the lead.
BU pushed their lead back to two-goals at the 17:16 mark as Oksanen made a play deep in his zone to get the puck to Eichel at mid ice on the left boards. The rookie beat the UConn defense and was one-on-one with Nichols who made the inital save. UConn couldn't clear the rebound and junior Danny O'Regan cleaned up the loose puck for his seventh of the year and a 4-2 lead. The Huskies pulled Nichols for the extra skater but couldn't keep possession as Brien Diffley deflected a puck to Oksanen who skated in for the empty netter at 18:59.
The Huskies were outshot 30-22 on the night and 23-10 over the final two periods. After giving up goals on the first two BU power plays, the Huskies killed off four-straight to end the game. UConn went 0-for-4 on the power play in the loss.
Nichols finished with 25 saves on the night in net for UConn.
The Huskies are back in action in one week when the travel to Brown University for a non-conference affair on Saturday, November 29th.
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