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UMass Ends UConn Men’s Hockey Winning Streak With 4-2 Win

The Huskies had a strong first period, but little else.

UConn Huskies vs UMass Minutemen
UMass celebrates their fourth goal of the game against UConn.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn came out strong in the first period, but UMass was better in the final two periods of the game as the Minutemen dispatched the Huskies 4-2 on Friday at the Mullins Center. The loss ends UConn’s three-game winning streak.

“I thought we got off to a good start,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “I thought UMass took over in the second period.”

The Huskies saw goals from Alexander Payusov and Benjamin Freeman. Jesse Schwartz added an assist and has now registered a point in four straight games.

The first period saw a fortuitous start for the Huskies. They led 11-to-7 in shots and came out with a pair of power play goals, thanks to three UMass penalties.

“I thought it was a pretty good first period on the road,” Cavanaugh said.

Jake Gaudet was called for tripping just seven seconds in and a combination of Payusov with Maxim Letunov made the Minutemen pay just 1:06 into the contest.

Letunov’s dish to Payusov gave the sophomore enough room to score his second goal in two games since coming back from his knee injury.

“He scored two goals, but he’s not playing well,” Cavanaugh said. “The goals are great, but there are other areas of his game he has to improve on.”

However Josh Couturier scored on a good cross-ice pass from Austin Plevy to knot it up about a minute and a half later, but another power play opportunity late in the period gave UConn the lead back.

Joseph Masonius had the initial shot and through a mess of bodies, Freeman was able to get a stick on it on the way in and at 14:18, the Huskies were in front, 2-1.

The first period went well for UConn, but nothing much else did. The Minutemen came out like a team on a mission in the second and completely dominated.

“Everyone is going to make a point about the three goals,” Cavanaugh said. “That wasn’t the game. They had been pretty much controlling play up until that point.”

Shots were 18-to-5 in favor of the home team and they took it to the Huskies until the end of the period, where UMass got three goals in a 1:18 span.

The first one came on a drop pass from Cale Makar, the fourth overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, on the right point to George Mika on the rush. The hard shot beat Adam Huska to tie it up at 18:03.

Just 29 seconds later, the Minutemen had the lead on a tally from Jack Suter.

To finish it off, Mitchell Chaffee scored on a rebound after a shot from the right point by Ivan Chukarov and it was 4-2 UMass.

The third period did not go much better for UConn. They had an 11-to-6 shots advantage, but the Minutemen still played strong.

The Huskies, seeking two goals, pulled Huska with 3:39 to go in the contest and were able to get multiple shots on Ryan Wischow, but the UMass goaltender was up to the task.

UConn (6-11-2, 4-7-0) takes on the Minutemen again on Tuesday at the XL Center in their next action. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m.