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UConn Men’s Hockey Falls to Quinnipiac

The Huskies have been shut out in consecutive games coming out of the finals break.

UConn goalie Adam Huska (30) makes one of his 24 saves.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Despite getting off to a solid start, the UConn offense sputtered in a 3-0 loss to Quinnipiac at the XL Center Tuesday evening.

“I’m happy with the defense we’re playing right now but we’re struggling to score goals,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said.

Combined with Tuesday’s shutout against Boston College, the Huskies have not scored in 124:32 and have been shut out in consecutive games for the first time since Nov. 2-3, 2012.

The statistics were even in the first, with the Huskies and Bobcats deadlocked at 10 shots per side. Quinnipiac ended it with the lead, but UConn had possession for long stretches of the early part of the period and was playing very well until the Bobcats’ goal.

“I liked our compete, I thought we had more energy, but we have to find a way to score goals,” Cavanaugh said.

Just over six minutes into the contest, Alex Whelan crashed the net off of a Kevin Duane shot that Adam Huska popped in the air. The sophomore settled the rebound and found the back of the net to put QU up 1-0.

The goal seemed to, at least for the moment, put a charge into the Huskies, as Alexander Payusov came down on the ensuing face-off and almost scored on a nice deke that took goaltender Andrew Shortridge out of the play, but the Huskies failed to convert.

The Huskies had another good chance when Benjamin Freeman teed up a hard slap shot from the slot in the closing minutes and the puck deflected just high.

In the second period, the Bobcats took control. They held a 28-17 advantage in shots and had all the dangerous chances down low.

UConn had four power plays in the second period and did not generate a single shot on goal. Two of those bled into the third period, giving the Huskies 55 seconds of five-on-three time to begin the final 20 minutes and 1:59 of total power play time, but no goals came of it.

“I thought [the power play] was out of sync,” Cavanaugh said. “We have a five-on-three and we don’t get a puck to the net.”

Once Quinnipiac was back at full strength, they were able to tilt the ice back in their favor, with a goal 6:30 into the third. Bo Pieper skated into a long rebound in the slot and fired a slap shot past Huska to make it 2-0 Quinnipiac.

The Huskies mustered only five shots on goal in the final period and inside of a minute left, Quinnipiac hit an empty netter to make it 3-0.

UConn (8-13-3) resumes conference play on Friday against Merrimack, kicking off a home-and-away series with the Warriors. Puck drop is at 7:05 p.m. at the XL Center and on Jan. 13 at 7 p.m. in North Andover, Mass.