LOWELL, Mass. – UConn sophomore Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) scored a pair of goals and freshman goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) stopped 31 shots to lead the Huskies to a 3-2 win over No. 4/3 ranked UMass Lowell Friday night from the Tsongas Center. The Huskies improve to 5-6-5 overall and 3-3-1 in Hockey East with the win.
Huska kept the River Hawks off the scoreboard over the second and third period and the Huskies killed off a pair of penalties in the final 4:53 to protect a one-goal lead en route to the win. The River Hawks finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play while the Huskies were 1-for-4 with Thompson collecting his fifth power play goal on the season.
UConn junior Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) scored the game’s first goal, his sixth on the season, just 1:57 into the game. Thompson added his first at 12:20 in the first period. Sophomore Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) picked up a pair of assists on both Thompson goals.
UMass Lowell, now 8-5-2 overall and 4-3-0 in Hockey East, got two goals from freshman Colin O’Neill in the loss, his first collegiate goals. Fellow rookie Tyler Wall made 18 saves in goal in taking the loss. The River Hawks held a 33-21 edge on shots.
Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh – “The past four or five times we’ve played it’s been a one goal game and this was just another typical UConn, UMass Lowell game. I was really proud of our effort because that is an excellent team. They have been the class of Hockey East now for the last four or five years, always at the top of the standings. I was happy with how we started the game and how we bounced back all game long. It was a good league win.”
The Huskies pick-up their fourth-straight win over UMass Lowell, all one-goal games. The River Hawks continue to lead the all-time series 20-10-1.
Thompson scored his fifth power play goal of the season. He leads the Huskies with 10 power play points (5g-5a). He now has 18 power play goals in 52 career games.
It was Thompson third multi-goal game this season and the sixth of his career. The Huskies are 2-0-1 this season and 5-0-1 all-time when Thompson scores two or more.
Letunov picked-up the assists on both Thompson goals, his first points since Ohio State on Nov. 12, a streak of four-straight games, the longest drought of his young career. He now has 14 career multi-point games and five this season.
Huska picks up his third victory of the season, all have come on the road against ranked Hockey East opponents (at #7/6 Notre Dame, 4-2; at #5/4 Boston University, 4-0; at #4/3 UMass Lowell, 3-2).
The Huskies wasted little time in lighting the lamp for the night’s first goal. Naas fired on Wall who deflected the shot into the corner. Freshman Justin Howell (Saint Paul, Minn.) collected and fed it right back to Naas in the slot who ripped a wrist shot top-shelf at 1:57 for his sixth on the season.
The River Hawks tied it at 5:34 as O’Neill scored his first of two in the period. The freshman got a deflection in front Huska off a shot Ryan Lohin from just inside the blue line on the left wing.
UConn took the lead back on Thompson’s ninth of the season at 12:20. The sophomore picked-off a pass at the blue line and walked in, ripping a shot that caught Wall but had enough on it too sneak by five-hole for a 2-1 lead.
O’Neill tied it again for UML, banging home a rebound in front of the net off a Tyler Mueller shot at 15:27. The River Hawks held a 14-10 edge on shots in the first period.
UConn’s Thompson gave the Huskies the lead back at 10:32 with his second of the night and 10th on the season. Letunov pitched a perfect feed to a streaking Thompson crashing to the right post who finished off the feed for a 3-2 lead.
The River Hawks held a 10-4 edge on shots in the third period and got a pair of power play chances with under five minutes to go.
UConn held off UMass Lowell including the final 1:18 when they pulled the goaltender to make it a 6-on-4 advantage on the ice.
The Huskies and River Hawks are back at it Saturday afternoon for a 3:35 pm matinee at the XL Center in downtown Hartford.