UConn Men's Hockey opened their season in front of a solid crowd at the Freitas Ice Forum Saturday with an exhibition game against Queens University from Canada. The Huskies got off to a slow start, but closed out strong to pick up the win.
After a scoreless first period, Queens got on the board first with a shorthanded goal. Forward Joseph Luongo hopped out of the penalty box just in time to grab a cleared puck, giving him a 1-on-1 chance against backup UConn goalie Steve Thulin which he converted.
Sophomore forward Will Golonka tied it up for the Huskies with a goal four minutes later, putting in a rebound off a David Drake slapshot from the right circle.
Less than a minute later, freshman forward Tage Thompson took the puck into the opposing zone but lost it trying to get past his defender. Luckily, Joey Ferris was able to keep the puck in the zone and get it to Jeff Wight, who fed Thompson, who fired a wrister that was partially blocked by the goalie's shoulder but still found its way to the back of the net.
"I came over the line and made a pretty bad play to be honest," Thompson said of the goal. "But my teammates were right there to save me. I was going top-right, he got a piece of it and it just bounced over him."
That would be all the scoring the Huskies would need as Shawn Pauly's empty-netter with 45 seconds left sealed the game. Overall, it was a pretty dominant effort by the Huskies, who had a 35-19 advantage in face-offs and 42-16 in shots on goal.
The Huskies power-play woes continued, as they allowed a shorthanded goal and were unable to score in seven opportunities with the man advantage. Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh was using a wide variety of lineups so he probably has an idea of who he'll want to use there once the games count.
The regular season begins this Friday as the Huskies travel south to take on Alabama-Huntsville for a two-game series October 9th and 10th.
"I thought we came out kind of slow, a little sluggish maybe," senior captain Patrick Kirtland said. "But as the game went along I thought everybody got comfortable, starting in the 2nd period moving into the 3rd. I think we're pretty happy with how we played and how we finished the game."