UConn men’s hockey suffered its worst defeat of the season, falling to No. 16 Providence 4-0 at Schneider Arena. The Huskies (8-8-2) were shut out for the first time since a 1-0 overtime loss to Maine on Feb. 15 last year.
Providence scored twice in the first period to pull ahead and eventually added a power-play goal in the third period to go up 3-0 and put the game away. The Friars added a bizarre short-handed, empty-net goal late after a pass from Carter Turnbull in the Huskies’ offensive zone deflected off Tyce Thompson’s stick and traveled the length of the ice into the net.
Overall, UConn put just 20 shots on target, a season-low.
For the most part, effort wasn’t an issue on Friday night. The Huskies competed well but struggled to clear the zone and lost the puck too easily on the offensive end.
“Sometimes the timings off a little bit some nights,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “I think it was a combination of [Providence] playing pretty good defense, taking away time and space and when we did have a chance, we waited too long to shoot it or fumbled it right before we were going to shoot it.”
While UConn only forced PC goaltender Jaxson Stauber to make 20 saves, it shot the puck 53 times. The Friars did block 21 shots, the Huskies also missed the frame far too often, which made it impossible to score and also eliminated any opportunities from rebounds.
Special teams struggle
Both UConn’s special teams unit fell flat against Providence with the power play going 0-6 and the penalty kill going 3-4. To compound problems, the Huskies wiped out two power plays with penalties of their own in the game.
“They won the special teams game,” Cavanaugh said. “Our special teams need to be better if we’re gonna win some games.”
UConn’s power play struggled to set up all night and never really threatened. The Huskies spent most of their two-minute advantages chasing down the puck after a clearance. They struggled to enter their offensive zone and even when they did get inside the blue line, they didn’t keep it in there very long.
“We need to do a better job of retrieving pucks,” Cavanaugh said. “It can’t be one shot and icing, you’re not going to be a successful power play if that’s the case so we got to do a better job retrieving pucks.”
Vladislav Firstov and Hudson Schandor both left the game in the second period due to injury and did not return. Cavanaugh did not specify what each player hurt and said they were still being evaluated.
“They’re being seen by the doctors now. I don’t have a status yet on them,” he said. “They didn’t finish the game. They didn’t play the second half of the game.”
Schandor was checked hard into the boards in the second period and crumpled to the ground afterward. The officials determined it was not worthy of a major penalty after a video review — a decision Cavanaugh agreed with.
“It was a good hit,” he said. “I think [the Providence player] hit him clean. Hudson’s head hit the glass, it wasn’t a shot to the head.”
- Adam Karashik was ejected after receiving a five-minute major and game misconduct for kneeing in the third period.
- This is just the second time that UConn has lost consecutive games this season.
Don't see this too often ♂️ pic.twitter.com/ganF8MiKqf— PC Men's Hockey (@FriarsHockey) February 12, 2021
UConn will have a chance to bounce back tomorrow for a 4:00 p.m. game at Freitas Ice Forum. CW20 will broadcast the game in Connecticut while SportsLive will carry the action for viewers outside the region.