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UConn Men’s Hockey Falls to Merrimack, 5-2

The Huskies struggle in their return to Hockey East play.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In their first Hockey East game of the second half, the UConn men’s hockey team fell to the Merrimack Warriors, 5-2 at Lawler Rink in North Andover, Massachusetts. The Huskies sink to 7-14-1 overall and 2-10-1 in Hockey East play.

10 minutes went by without much action before it went bad for UConn. Merrimack struck first after taking a turnover in the neutral zone down to the net and beating Huskies’ goaltender Adam Huska with a cross-ice pass. Later, less than a minute away from going into the first intermission trailing by just one, UConn gave up a second goal off a shot from close-range in front of the net.

It didn’t take long into the second period for Merrimack to extend their lead, going up 3-0 just over three minutes in. The Huskies out-shot the Warriors 22-12 in the second period but had nothing to show for on the scoreboard.

Early in the final period, both teams went to the box which lead to a 4-on-4 situation. Merrimack took advantage, notching their fourth goal of the night. But with the subsequent power play after the goal, UConn finally found the back of the net off the stick of Karl El-Mir, his 11th of the year.

Just past the midway point of the final period, Jachym Kondelik made things interesting after putting a puck in front of the net home to bring the Huskies within 4-2. However, that momentum didn’t last long as Merrimack ended any comeback hopes three minutes later to bring the score to 5-2, which would become the final.

UConn out-shot Merrimack 50-42 but the Huskies put just 28 of those shots on net. El-Mir now has a point in five-straight games while Kondelik has picked up a point in four-straight.

With just one game this weekend, UConn returns to action on Wednesday when they face RPI in a non-conference tilt. The Huskies defeated the Engineers on the road, 2-1 back in October in UConn’s fourth game of the season.