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Final Score: UConn Hockey Bested by Yale, 4-2

The Huskies remain winless all-time against their intrastate foes.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In a battle of in-state rivals, the UConn Huskies were overpowered by the Yale Bulldogs, losing 4-2 on Saturday afternoon. Yale out-shot the hosts, 41-15, and scored two shorthanded goals.

“Overall, we just did not have a great performance,” said UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh. “We just just did not play well.”

Yale took control of the game out of the gate and overwhelmed the Huskies defensive zone. dam Huska held strong, stuffing four shots in the first three minutes.

“They didn’t let us establish anything,” Cavanaugh said. “I think we had one shift in the second period where we were able to get a little riding time in their zone but other than that it was all Yale.

“It was a 60-minute win for them.”

The Husky defense was not able to hold up under the constant pressure and a defensive lapse allowed Yale to jump ahead to an early lead. Ryan Hitchcock found Joe Snivley behind the net, who went untouched and beat Adam Huska with a wrap-around.

Facing a one-goal deficit, UConn needed its offense to wake up. The attack was quiet for most of the first period as the Huskies failed to manage a shot until the 11:02 mark.

Their best chance came on the Huskies’ first power play. However, the advantage was quickly squandered after Philip Nyberg was called for tripping just 40 seconds later. Eventually the offense got going for a bit.

Joe Masonius won a battle behind the Husky net and sent the puck up the boards. Brian Morgan collected it and took it up the ice. He used a head fake before lifting the puck past Yale’s netminder to even the game at 1-1.

Morgan nearly put a second goal home just moments later off a cross from Evan Richardson but he could not get his stick on the puck for the backhand shot. In the final minute of the first period, Huska made a nice save on a Bulldog breakaway to keep the game tied heading into the first intermission.

The game began getting chippy in the second period. The animosity came to a boiling point after a save by Adam Huska when a scrum broke out after the play was blown dead. John Hayden and Frankie Dichara were both given slashing penalties for Yale while Wyatt Newpower and Miles Gendron were assessed roughing penalties. Hayden was also hit with a high-sticking penalty, which gave UConn a power play.

With the blown power play chance earlier in the game, the Huskies made sure to capitalize. Max Kalter charged towards the net but was taken down as he went to shoot. The puck drifted out in front of the net which set up a trailing Spencer Naas, who sent it into the back of the net to put UConn up 2-1.

Despite grabbing the lead, the momentum quickly shifted when Justin Howell checked a Yale player into the boards. Howell was hit with a 5-minute major penalty for hitting from behind and given a game misconduct.

“When we took the five minute major, they flipped it and it was all Yale from there,” said Cavanaugh.

After giving up a power play goal, the Bulldogs struck with a power play goal of their own. Ryan Hitchcock ripped at shot at Huska, who blocked the shot, but the puck slipped through the freshman’s pads and into the net for the equalizer.

With the major penalty, Yale’s man advantage continued. Evan Smith redirected a shot from Henry Hart into the net to put the Bulldogs up 3-2.

Although UConn would manage to stop the bleeding, the damage was already done and the goals seemed to take the energy out of the Huskies.

In the final period, Frankie DiChiara deked out half the UConn defense and fired a shot into the top corner to push the lead to 4-2 and keep Yale ahead for good.

Though the Huskies did not play their best coming off their victory in the Desert Hockey Classic, Cavanaugh doesn’t feel like this was a step back.

“I’m not discouraged by the team at all. We’ve shown that we can play with anyone in the country. We didn’t play well tonight and what I think we have to do is flush it and learn from it.”

Their next opportunity comes on Thursday, when they face off against Maine at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.

Photo Gallery:

Coach Cavanaugh, Spencer Naas, Tage Thompson postgame:

Yale Coach Keith Allain, Frankie DiChiara, Ryan Hitchcock postgame: