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UConn Men’s Hockey Falls to Providence, 4-1

The Friars have now won eight straight and UConn is still winless against them in the Hockey East era.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn Men’s Hockey had arguably its worst performance of the season in a 4-1 loss to No. 11 Providence in front of 4,040 at XL Center on Wednesday. The Friars outshot the Huskies 38-to-22.

“I think one team played playoff hockey and the other team didn’t,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said after the game.

The Huskies were 0-for-6 on the power play, generating only four shots. Karl El-Mir got the UConn goal, while Adam Huska had a very busy night, making 34 saves.

“They just won every stick battle, they won every battle on the wall,” Cavanaugh said. “They out-played us. Plain and simple.”

First and last minute goals can hurt a team and Providence did both to UConn in the first period.

Just 27 seconds into the contest, Jake Walman took a shot from the left point and Brian Pinho tipped it behind Adam Huska to give Providence an early lead.

“We won the opening draw, we had full control of the puck, we turned the puck over twice in the neutral zone, abandoned the breakout and they scored,” Cavanaugh said.

At 19:30 into the opening period, Scott Conway forced a turnover just inside the right circle and took a shot from the middle of the slot which was deflected by Vimal Sukumaran to put the Friars ahead, 2-0.

“That second goal in the first period was big because we were getting good looks but Huska was coming up big,” Providence head coach Nate Leaman said.

The second period, despite being more statistically even, still belonged to Providence. Most of UConn’s shots came, interestingly enough, during and coming off of a penalty kill.

Tage Thompson went to the box for slashing 15:04 into the period. 39 seconds later, the Huskies got their lone goal.

Max Kalter forced a turnover just outside the zone and found El-Mir. He walked into the middle of the slot and his shot snuck just under the bar on Hayden Hawkey’s stick side to make it a 2-1 game.

UConn continued to push after the goal, getting some more quality chances, but couldn’t get another past Hawkey and the period ended at 2-1.

Providence scored a pair of goals early in the third period to put this one away comfortably.

Sukumaran got his second goal of the night 2:17 into the period on a hustle play. There was a scramble in front of the net with bodies all over the place and he came in late, diving at the puck to knock it in.

Conway followed up with a goal 7:37 in after he corralled his own rebound.

UConn (10-11-8, 6-7-4) will play the Friars again on Friday night at Schneider Arena in Providence at 7:05 p.m.

UConn Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh postgame: