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Men's Hockey: Huskies Fall 3-2 in Tight Game at Minnesota

The Huskies strike first, but a couple quick strikes from the Gophers spoiled UConn's chance at a big win.

Rob Nichols made 35 stops against Minnesota Friday night.
Rob Nichols made 35 stops against Minnesota Friday night.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

The shot total can be deceiving sometimes.

UConn was outshot 38-17 Friday night, but Friday was a back-and-forth affair that saw the Huskies take the lead, comeback to tie and eventually fall 3-2 at Minnesota in the opening game of the Mariucci Classic.

UConn (5-11-1) struck first blood in one of college hockey's greatest arenas. Patrick Kirtland, using his signature patience and precision that make him such a strong captain, sent a centering feed to Evan Richardson , who buried his third goal of the year past Eric Schierhorn.

The Huskies led for nearly seven minutes before Minnesota struck twice in 23 seconds to take the lead UConn was called for too many men on the ice, resulting in a power play for the Gophers, then Michael Brodzinski fired a shot past Rob Nichols from the high slot, where he was left unmarked. Shortly thereafter, Richardson left Taylor Cammarata open, and he beat Nichols to give Minnesota the lead.

Max Letunov put UConn back level five minutes into the third period. The Russian sensation finished in front after nice build-up play from Tage Thompson and Shawn Pauly.

Neither Letunov nor Richardson had scored since Nov. 7 against UMass.

The lead was short lived, however. Minnesota scored 31 seconds later through Hudson Fasching, who buried his ninth goal of the year from the high slot. It looked like Derek Pratt dropped too deep, as he was nearly in the crease in front of Nichols when Fasching got the puck.

UConn plays Ferris State in the consolation game tomorrow. Ferris State lost to Harvard 7-3, as the Crimson advanced to the Mariucci Classic championship game against the Gophers.