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UConn Men’s Hockey Drops New Hampshire, 4-2

The Huskies complete a sweep of the Wildcats and are set to finish 9th in Hockey East.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Men’s Hockey earned a sweep of New Hampshire Saturday night, 4-2, in a dominant performance.

“I think, from start to finish, that it was the best weekend we had all season,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said.

Max Kalter, Tage Thompson, Evan Richardson and Corey Ronan were the Husky goal-scorers, while Rob Nichols needed to make just 14 saves.

UConn got 38 shots on net, for a total of 88 on the weekend.

“Coach made an emphasis this week on working on our offensive zone play, working off the rush,” Richardson said. “I think that was a great adjustment we made.”

UConn started off quick in the offensive zone with an early goal. Kalter found a loose puck out in front of the crease and was able to fit the puck under the crossbar to give UConn a 1-0 lead just a few minutes in.

“We’re going to have to score like Kalter did,” Cavanaugh said. “We’re going to have to manufacture goals.”

New Hampshire got one back just past the midway point off the stick of Liam Blackburn. He found himself with a little space in the low slot and beat Nichols up high to tie it up.

On a Husky power play later in the period, Maxim Letunov made a cross-ice pass from right to left to Thompson, who hit a wide open net to put UConn ahead again.

But New Hampshire got one back to tie it up at 2-2. The Wildcats were on the power play and Nichols was screened well. Tyler Kelleher scored his 22nd of the year to tie it.

While shots were close, at 11-to-7, and goals were even, UConn played better after 20 minutes, holding on to the puck for much longer than the visitors.

“We played really well in the first period,” Cavanaugh said. “We stayed mentally strong.”

There was just one goal in the middle period, but it was an impressive one.

Senior Evan Richardson made move after move before a spin-o-rama gave him the space to shoot and beat Daniel Tirone for a 3-2 UConn lead.

“I just tried to throw it on the net, it was pretty lucky,” Richardson said.

The second period saw UConn continue ownership of the puck. Shots were 16-to-4 in favor of the Huskies.

“I thought the second period was fantastic,” Cavanaugh said. “We just played really, really hard.”

The third period continued in a similar fashion and then Corey Ronan’s empty-netter with 43.9 seconds remaining got us to the final score.

UConn (12-14-8, 8-10-4) will travel to Northeastern for the first round of the Hockey East Tournament in a best-of-three series.

Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh, Evan Richardson, Rob Nichols postgame: