It was a back-and-forth, up-and-down affair, but UConn men’s hockey could not overcome Ohio State’s strong top line in a 5-4 loss on Friday night at the XL Center.
The line of Matthew Weis (two goals, one assist), Mason Jobst (one goal, one assist) and Tanner Laczynski (two assists) were on the ice for the Buckeyes’ first four goals.
Jesse Schwartz scored two for the Huskies, while Spencer Naas and Max Kalter each added one.
Shots on goal in the first were relatively even, with the Buckeyes holding a 12-to-7 advantage, but the period was anything but. Ohio State out-attempted the Huskies 25-to-13 and came out with a pair of goals, including one 40 seconds in.
Things looked to go from bad to worse for the Huskies when Dakota Joshua added to the lead on the power play early in the second to make it 3-0, but UConn turned it around and dominated the rest of the period.
They put 19 pucks on Tommy Nappier against the four Tanner Creel saw in the middle 20 minutes and they had great chances above and beyond the two goals they scored.
Schwartz started the tide turning at 8:59 on the heels of a completed power play. The Huskies kept the puck in the zone and the goalscorer converted for the first time in his last 49 contests.
With about eight minutes left in the period, Benjamin Freeman got in behind the defense and was hooked, giving the Huskies a penalty shot. Freeman got Nappier on his back on the shot, but he could not get the puck across the goal line and the score remained 3-1 for the time being.
In the closing minutes of the second period, Naas was able to make it a one-goal game. David Drake took a hard shot from the left point and while screening the goaltender, the senior was able to get the puck into the back of the net.
However, the final 20 minutes was a see-saw and Ohio State proved why they are ranked No. 17 in the nation.
Just 3:58 into the final stanza, Mason Jobst beat Creel on the power play through the legs with a quick shot from the right circle to make it 4-2, but UConn was able to answer right back when Schwartz scored again on a rebound at 6:34. The initial shot came from the left point off the stick of Wyatt Newpower and the stage was set for a frenetic finish.
The air was taken out of the Huskies sails 63 seconds later when Christian Lampasso would score on a shot that took a favorable bounce off the end boards and the score was 5-3.
They had a chance to draw closer at 9:43 when Lampasso was give a five-minute major for hitting from behind, but UConn could not score, but the drama was not yet complete.
Adam Huska replaced Creel in net after the fifth goal, but vacated it with 3:22 to go in the game. About 45 seconds later, the lead was again closed to one goal when Kalter buried a rebound. The Huskies had a power play for the final 58.2 seconds but could not find the tying goal.
UConn (3-8-1) and Ohio State will play again on Saturday afternoon, with puck drop coming at 3:35 p.m.