Dec. 30, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men's hockey team fell to No. 18 Minnesota State, 3-1, in the 20th Annual UConn Hockey Classic on Sunday night at the Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs. The Huskies finished as the runner-up for the third consecutive season and the 11th time in the tournament's 20-year history. Minnesota State is the first team from the WCHA to win the tournament.
UConn (5-8-2) had a 1-0 lead in the first period but Minnesota State (12-6-2) forward and Tournament MVP Johnny McInnis tallied two goals in the first 5:31 of the second period and the Mavericks added an empty netter with seven seconds remaining in the contest to take the championship trophy.
UConn senior Matt Grogan stopped 28 shots in the loss. Minnesota State goaltender Stephon Williams made 17 saves to earn the victory. The Huskies were 0-1 on the power play while Minnesota State finished 0-3.
Freshman Tyler Bouchard scored for the third time in four games to give UConn the 1-0 lead at 10:47 of the first period. Sean Ambrosie picked up the puck on the right wall, crossed the blue line and dropped a pass to Bouchard who snapped a shot up high over the glove of Williams. The goal was Bouchard's third with Ambrosie tallying his team-leading sixth assist of the year.
Minnesota State outshot UConn in the first, 12-4, but the Huskies successfully killed off a power play in the final two minutes of the period to stay ahead after 20 minutes, 1-0.
Minnesota State tallied two goals in 5:31 to take a 2-1 lead in the second period with Johnny McInnis notching both tallies. McInnis drove the net and slipped a shot past Grogan at 2:08 to even the score at 1-1. At 5:31, McInnis tipped a shot in the slot past Grogan off the stick of Eli Zuck from the right point.
UConn outshot MSU in the third, 7-6, but failed to beat Williams. The Huskies had chances late in the contest but shots by Billy Latta and Jacob Poe were blocked by sliding MSU defensemen and Trevor Gerling missed wide in the final minute with the UConn net empty.
MSU's Zach Palmquist finished the game with the empty netter at 19:53 after picking up a loose puck along the right wall.
McInnis was named Tournament MVP. He was joined on the All-Tournament Team by forward Jean-Paul Lafontaine, defenseman Tyler Elbrecht and goaltender Stephon Williams.
The Huskies will host Penn State at Freitas Ice Forum on Friday and Saturday, January 4 and 5. Both contests begin at 7:05 p.m.