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UConn Men’s Hockey Upsets No. 16 Colgate, 4-2

The Huskies have now won five of their last six heading into the winter break.

Colgate Raiders vs UConn Huskies men’s hockey
UConn's Johnny Austin (6) watches his slap shot go in for what turned out to be the game-goal for the Huskies.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In their final game before a 22-day layoff, the UConn Huskies won their fifth game in six tries with a 4-2 upset over No. 16 Colgate on Friday at the XL Center.

“It was a great way to finish the first half,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said.

Johnny Austin, Joe Masonius, Maxim Letunov and Jesse Schwartz scored the UConn goals while Alexander Payusov added an assist for a four-game point streak.

Colgate emerged with a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes, but it could have been much worse for the home team. Shots were deadlocked at eight, but in the early going, Adam Huska came up big multiple times, stopping numerous dangerous chances from the Raiders.

“If your goaltender isn’t making Grade-A saves, you’re not going to win a lot of games,” Cavanaugh said.

He couldn’t stop them all, however, as 12:25 in, Hunter Racine beat Huska from the top of the left circle and the visitors went into the first intermission with the lead.

Colton Point, Colgate’s netminder who was named to Team Canada’s IIHF World Junior Championship training camp roster this week, did not look as advertised throughout the first period and in the second, the Huskies broke through.

Schwartz stretched his points streak to six consecutive games on the equalizer. With Benjamin Freeman holding the puck, he found some space in the slot and spinning around, Freeman threw the puck toward the net. It landed right on the Schwartz’s stick and he knotted it four minutes into the second frame.

Masonius gave UConn the lead less than a minute later when he took a drop pass from Payusov at the left point with room to operate. He skated into the top of the circle and a hard slap shot through traffic made it past Colton Point.

The Raiders were not down and out, however. Just over two minutes after the goal, Miles Gendron took a penalty while his linemates were about to go in on a two-on-one. This started a multiple-minute onslaught from Colgate that the Huskies were able to come out of fort the time being, but they could not hold the lead. Bobby McMann had a shot in close which Huska blocked but a rushing Adam Dauda corralled the rebound and sent it in to tie it up with less than a minute left.

The Raiders smelled blood and were the better team until the middle part of the third period when UConn found its footing on the back of a strong shift from the line of Miles Gendron, Jeff Wight and Schwartz.

“It was tough but we’re a strong group and we really came together in the third period,” Schwartz said.

Ken Citron gave the Huskies a two-man advantage for 1:21 with a slashing penalty and 13:57 into the third, Austin ripped a slap shot from the top of the slot for the lead. UConn got an insurance goal about 90 seconds later when Letunov cleaned up a rebound to make it 4-2.

UConn (8-11-2) will not play until Dec. 30 against No. 14 Boston College at Conte Forum. Puck drop is at 3 p.m.