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Final Score: UConn Men’s Hockey Victorious Over UMass, 3-1

The Huskies finish the first half of the season with an even record after a win against Massachusetts.

UConn’s Johnny Austin (6) lays a hit on UMass’ Ivan Chukarov (13).
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Men’s Hockey beat UMass Friday night, 3-1, after previously being winless in its last three games against the Minutemen.

“I thought our first and second periods were pretty tight, we played well,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said after the game.

Freshman Benjamin Freeman scored his first career goal while Tage Thompson extended his team lead in goals by scoring a pair. Freshman goaltender Adam Huska made 24 saves on the night.

The evening saw both sides’ special teams struggle. UMass was 1-for-6 on the power play and the Huskies were 0-for-4. UMass was able to take shots but the Huskies killed off five of six from a good unit which registered 11 shots on the night.

“I thought we moved the puck around well,” UMass coach Greg Carvel said. “It’s a pretty good night to get 11 shots on the power play.”

UConn opened the scoring 7:38 into the game on the back of strong play from the top forward line of Maxim Letunov, Freeman, and Thompson.

A lead pass from Miles Gendron found Letunov on the left side and he found the space to drive all the way to the net to get a shot off. The puck came out after a short scramble then Freeman took a hard shot which found the back of the net.

“I thought it was a great play,” Cavanaugh said. “The puck was loose and Ben Freeman came and whacked it in the net. We talk all the time about getting to the blue paint and we had all three forwards getting there on that play.”

UConn had impressive puck possession to begin the second stanza and capped it off with the second goal of the evening 3:40 into the period. Thompson took a very nice shot from the high slot, beating Ryan Wischow low and to the stick side for his 11th goal of the season to make it 2-0 in favor of the Huskies.

“It’s an NHL shot,” Carvel said. “That’s a goal in any league.”

The third period seemed to tilt the ice in UMass’ favor, thanks to two UConn penalties that the Minutemen were able to create some chances from.

Steven Iacobellis scored 17:08 into the period on one of those power plays, but that is the only offense that UMass got before Thompson scored his second with four seconds remaining on an empty net.

The Huskies finished the first half of the season with an even record, something Cavanaugh is pleased with.

“I am happy it’s 6-6-6 and not 5-7-6,” Cavanaugh said.

UConn has a 21-day break before heading out to Arizona for the Desert Hockey Classic. They will play on December 30 against St. Cloud State before playing whoever matches their result in the game between Arizona State and Brown on December 31.

Photo Gallery

UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh & Tage Thompson Postgame

UMass head coach Greg Carvel