HARTFORD, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team fell behind 4-0 in the first period to the No. 2 nationally ranked Boston College Eagles on the way to a 5-1 loss Tuesday night in front of 7,219 fans at the XL Center. The Huskies lone goal came off the stick of sophomore Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) who notched his third of the season in the third period.
The loss is the eighth-straight for the Huskies and drops their record to 3-10-0 overall and 1-7-0 in Hockey East. Boston College won their 10th straight and are off to their best start under long time head coach Jerry York at 11-1-0 and 5-0-0 in Hockey East.
The Eagles dominated the first period of play, outshooting the Huskies 13-5 while tacking four goals on the scoreboard. BC got the game’s first goal at 2:54 as Austin Cangelosi dug out a puck in front and punched through Nichols in a scrum in front. The Eagles made it 2-0 just 50 seconds later as Ryan Fitzgerald connected to Colin White on a two-on-one who buried the one-timer for his seventh this season.
BC capitalized on a Husky turnover trying to clear the puck at 8:53 as Josh Couturier collected at the left point and blasted a slap shot through traffic for his first goal of the season. Casey Fitzgerald set up the Eagles fourth goal of the period, feeding Miles Wood in the right circle who ripped a wrister bar down in the left corner for a 4-0 lead.
The Huskies came out firing in the second and third period and out shot BC 25-18 over the final 40 minutes. After a scoreless second, UConn ended the shutout bid at 1:25 of the third on Naas’ third of the season. Freshman Max Letunov (Moscow, Russia) fed the puck out of the corner to classmate Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) in front. Thompson left it behind for Naas in the slot who buried it past BC goaltender Demko Thatcher glove side to cut the lead to 4-1.
A late BC penalty gave the Huskies the chance to pull the goaltender for an extra skater but Matthew Gaudreau ended any comeback bid with an empty net goal at the 19:02 mark.
UConn netminder Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 26 saves in taking the loss. Demko turned away 29 shots for BC. Both teams finished 0-for-4 on the power play.
The Huskies will be off until facing No. 4 ranked UMass Lowell in a Hockey East home-and-home series on December 5th and 6th. The River Hawks come to Hartford on Saturday, December 5th for a 3:05 pm start. UConn will head to Lowell on Sunday for a 1:00 pm game that will be televised on the American Sports Network and NESN.
Post Game Quotes:
Boston College Head Coach Jerry York
“Kind of an interesting game from my perspective. I thought the first period we played the best period we've played all year. We were crisp, moved the puck exceptionally well and made a lot of good plays defensively and I think we caught Connecticut watching us a little bit in the first period. Then the game settled down and became a very good game in the second and third period. I don’t think we stopped playing but the Huskies raised their level of play. Thatcher (Demko) had to make some outstanding saves in the 2nd and 3rd period. I don’t think the score is indicative, from my perspective, of the game. But certainly the first period got us to a great start and was the difference in the game.”
UConn Head Coach Michael Cavanaugh
“I told the team, the only thing I was disappointed in was the first period. I am going to take a lot of the blame for that. The forecheck we had decided on was to only come with one guy early and we made an adjustment and I think it really helped us. If you were watching that game you’d probably say we stood around and watched BC play the first period and you would’ve been right. But some of that is my fault for sure. Maybe we sat back a little too much instead of going after them. Once we turned that around a little bit I thought the 2nd and 3rd period was very good. I was very happy with our play in the 2nd and 3rd period.”
“Today we were playing toe to toe with them in the 2nd and 3rd period. That’s a really good hockey team. I know we are in the midst of an eight-game losing streak but I feel really good about the team. I really do. I think we have the ingredients, if we can stay healthy, were a little banged up right now, but if we can stay healthy down the stretch I feel we have a team that can compete at the end of the year. When those games mean a little bit more and when playoff time comes, I think we have a team that can make some noise in the playoffs. I still feel really good about this team. Once we got through that first period and said “hey, were not going to sit around and watch anymore,” we showed what type of team we could be.”