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UConn Men’s Hockey defeats No. 20 Boston University in Overtime

The Huskies are now tied with Minnesota State for consecutive wins with seven straight.

UConn men’s hockey celebrates after Maxim Letunov’s game-winning goal in overtime vs Boston University.
UConn men’s hockey celebrates after Maxim Letunov’s game-winning goal in overtime vs Boston University.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey came back from down 4-2 with 14 minutes to go on Friday, defeating No. 20 Boston University 5-4 in overtime on senior night in front of 7,372 at the XL Center. The crowd was the third-largest in program history.

“Wow, what a game,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said.

Maxim Letunov scored the overtime winner on a backhander from the slot and beat Jake Oettinger high to the stick side at 2:51 of the extra session.

Spencer Naas had two goals to extend his scoring streak to seven games in addition to Kasperi Ojantakanen and Alexander Payusov each grabbing tallies.

In the first period, shots were lopsided 10-3 in favor of the Terriers, but it was not for lack of trying for the Huskies. They out-attempted Boston University 21-19 but were unable to get those attempts to the net.

“We just missed the net a lot,” Cavanaugh said.

Despite a UConn penalty kill that had been hot, it was the Terriers that had scored up a man at the end of the first period. Shane Bowers laid a screen and Chad Krys’ shot through traffic from the top of the left circle found twine.

However, that lead would not last forever as Naas walked into a loose puck in the slot and his one-timer would tie proceedings at 4:12 of the second period.

That woke the Terriers up and they pressed hard, scoring a minute later off the stick of Bobo Carpenter, who has scored six goals in three games against the Huskies this season.

“I think it won us a game at Northeastern,” Cavanaugh said. “Tonight, we let BU take away our momentum twice.”

Boston University doubled it just over seven minutes into the second stanza off the stick of Brien Diffley on an odd-man rush and they looked to have all the momentum, especially with the pair of power plays the Huskies afforded them.

The visiting side’s dominance continued into the early stages of the third period.

Naas scored on the power play after great passes from Max Kalter and Benjamin Freeman, but it took Ty Amonte just 17 seconds to score on a scrum in front of Tanner Creel to make it 4-2.

“We knew that we were still in the game and we still had some time,” Naas said. “This is a really mentally tough group of kids.”

The Huskies began to turn it around and Ojantakanen deflected a Letunov shot from the top of the slot just past the midway point of the final period to begin the comeback.

The tying goal game from Payusov while John MacLeod sat in the penalty box just over four minutes later, setting the stage for a frenetic finish.

“The real disappointing part about this was the penalty kill,” Boston University head coach David Quinn said. “They go 2-for-4 on two shots.”

The Terriers pushed hard and UConn spent much of the final five minutes in their own zone, holding off an attack that is one of the best in the country, but the defense was up to the task and sent the game to overtime, where the home side outshot Boston University 4-1 and carried play for the win.

UConn (15-16-2, 11-11-1) plays their final regular season game on Thursday against UMass. Puck drop at the XL Center is at 7:05 p.m.