On Friday, UConn men’s hockey had one last chance to impress before a 22-day layoff when they welcomed No. 16 Colgate into the XL Center. It was going to be tough with Colton Point between the pipes for the Raiders, as he has some of the best goaltending numbers in the country and was named to Team Canada’s training camp roster for the IIHF World Junior Championships.
Undeterred, the Huskies scored four times on 24 shots on their way to a 4-2 victory.
Resilience is key, again
Colgate scored first. UConn was 2-8-2 in games where the opponent scored first and against a ranked team, it’s easy to let things get carried away.
However, the Huskies were able to keep it 1-0 after the first period, and made an early push for a goal just four minutes into the second frame and Jesse Schwartz found some space for himself in the slot to tie it up. Fifty seconds later, UConn held the lead after a Joe Masonius slap shot.
The Raiders scored a goal in the final minute of the second to even the game and pushed hard for a go-ahead goal early in the third, but UConn kept its poise, scoring two goals to seal the win. This team can fight.
Jeff Wight being back is a good thing
Senior forward Jeff Wight missed basically the entirety of last season due to shoulder problems and also eight games this year due to a lower-body injury. He had three goals and two assists in 11 games before going down and since coming back has been a welcomed asset on a line with Miles Gendron and Schwartz.
Wight had a pair of goals in his return against UMass on Tuesday and followed it up Friday with the edge and physicality that the Huskies need from their second-biggest forward.
About halfway through the third period, he was coming off on a line change behind the play when he realized he could make something happen as Colgate carried the puck up ice. He pressured the defenseman, got a steal and took it in deep, allowing reinforcements to arrive and continue the pressure. Moments later, the Raiders took their penalties that led to the lead. It was a play that didn’t appear on the scoresheet and some might not have noticed, but it really helped turn the game around.
#IceBus goes into the break on a hot streak
College hockey is unique in that there is a built-in break between semesters. Most schools will not play for close to three weeks and there will be no games from Dec. 18 to Dec. 27, with sporadic matchups in the days leading into and coming out of the break.
The Huskies are now in the midst of a 22-day layoff, with final exams in the week ahead and then a break before heading to Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts for a date with Boston College on Dec. 30. The team is hot, with five wins in their last six, and they are doing everything right on the ice.
For UConn, the games kept on coming and they kept on winning, but now they can either recharge for the second half and build on this, or lose momentum due to the time off.