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UConn men’s hockey knocks off No. 1 Boston College in shootout

The Huskies rallied from two goals down in the final three minutes to claim two of three points on the road.

Courtesy of Boston College Athletic Communications

UConn men’s hockey scored twice in the final three minutes to erase a 3-1 deficit and force overtime against the No. 1 Boston College Eagles. After neither team scored in overtime, the game went into the books as a tie but the Huskies earned a shootout win to claim two points towards the Hockey East standings.

“It’s a tie in the books. I’m glad we got the extra point but I was just really happy with our effort and our ability to stay with a game plan and not panic,” Mike Cavanaugh said postgame.

UConn improves to 5-5-2 on the season.

Yan Kuznetsov, Marc Gatcomb and Jonny Evans all scored for the Huskies in regulation while Vladislav Firstov and Evans both found the back of the net in the shootout. Goaltender Tomas Vomacka stopped the two shootout chances he faced.

UConn rallies late

For 57 minutes, UConn played even with the top-ranked team in the country. The Huskies had a 34-32 advantage in shots — including the first 14 of the second period — and carried play for significant stretches of the game. The difference between the two sides was BC goaltender Spencer Knight.

The net-minder put on a superhuman performance and stopped everything UConn threw him at him for much of the game. He robbed the Huskies on more than a few occasions, including one time where, while on his back, he threw his glove up in desperation and turned away a shot.

Meanwhile, the Eagles put two goals past Vomacka, one a re-direct and another that took a bizarre carom in front of net and found a BC stick.

UConn finally broke through early in the second period when Kuznetsov sniped a goal from the blue line, aided by a crucial screen from Zac Robbins. However, the Eagles responded back three minutes later to go back ahead 3-1.

Despite playing as well as they could’ve through 40 minutes, the Huskies went into the second intermission down by two. While it would’ve been easy to give into frustration, UConn wasn’t fazed.

“When we talked in between periods we said, ‘Hey listen: The story of this game is not going to be UConn played fantastic, they deserve better but Spencer Knight stood on his head,’” Cavanaugh relayed. “We said ‘We gotta will some pucks into the net. We’re not going to let that be the story of the game’ and I think the kids went into the third period with that mindset.”

However, it looked like that would ultimately prove to be the defining storyline of the game. With nearly 17 minutes gone in the third, UConn still trailed by 3-1 and had only put three shots on the goal in the period.

But suddenly, the Huskies found life with three minutes left. Carter Berger sent a centering pass to Robbins, who flicked the puck on net. Knight stopped it with his blocker but kicked it straight into the path of Gatcomb, who put it home.

Vomacka came to the bench 90 seconds later and UConn took advantage of the extra skater half a minute later. Firstov threaded a perfect pass to the back post for Evans, who fired the one-timer into the back of the net to tie the game at 3-3.

“The last goal, that’s a pro goal,” Cavanaugh said. “It’s a pro pass by Vlad and Jonny’s finish was fantastic.”

Neither team scored in the five minute, 3-on-3 overtime period. UConn came close, though, when Hudson Schandor had his wide-open chance on the back post spoiled by a broken stick. In the shootout, the Huskies buried both their shootout attempts while BC missed both, giving UConn two out of three points.

Other notes

  • UConn has now taken at least a point in each of its three games against Boston College. The Huskies have a regulation win (three points), shootout win (two points) and overtime loss (one point) under their belt. They’re responsible for six of the Eagles’ nine dropped points this season.
  • UConn has also erased a two-goal deficit in each of its last two road games against BC.
  • The Huskies are now 1-2-2 in overtime and 2-0 in shootouts.
  • Evans has scored in three straight games and has a point in 10 of 12 games this season.

Goals

Up next

UConn and BC will battle against on Saturday at Freitas Ice Forum. Puck drop is set for 4 p.m. on the CW20 for Connecticut residents and SportsLive for viewers outside the state.