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UConn men’s hockey earns thrilling win over No. 18 Boston College

The Eagles tied the game with 54 seconds remaining but Kevin O’Neil won it with 32 seconds left.

UConn’s Kevin O’Neill #19 celebrates with Jachym Kondelik #11 after scoring the game-winning goal.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey earned one of its most thrilling wins in its Hockey East history as it claimed a 5-4 decision over the No. 18 Boston College Eagles.

The Eagles tied the game at 4-4 with 54 seconds left, but Kevin O’Neil came back with a game-winner for the Huskies 22 seconds later thanks to a snipe from the face-off circle.

With the victory, UConn picks up its first-ever win at Kelley Rink and improves to 9-7-0 overall and 6-4-0 in Hockey East play.

The two teams went into the third period tied at 2-2 but that quickly changed when Artem Shlaine tipped in a one-timed blast from John Spetz to give the Huskies their first lead of the game. While UConn dominated play for the next few minutes, Boston College responded to tie the game after a turnover in the neutral zone led to a clean breakaway chance for Colby Ambrosio, who sent the puck into the back of the net.

Despite giving up a goal, the Huskies continued to carry play and got their third power play of the day after the Eagles interfered with goaltender Darion Hanson. While UConn was 0-2 with the extra skater to that point in the game — and had only converted five of 48 power play opportunities on the season — Jachym Kondelik capitalized when he tipped a shot from Ryan Tverberg past BC goaltender Eric Dop to take a 4-3 lead with five minutes left.

The Huskies looked to be on their way to victory as they executed to near perfection down the final stretch. They locked the Eagles in their own zone for over two minutes and didn’t allow them to pull their goalie until under a minute remained. However, Patrick Giles picked up the puck in the neutral zone, streaked past UConn’s defenseman and buried a breakaway chance to pull the Eagles even at 2-2 with 56 seconds left.

UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh used his lone timeout and sent a line of Carter Turnbull, Kondelik and O’Neil out for the final minute. O’Neil picked off a pass along the boards in the neutral zone, carried it into the zone and sniped it past Dop to put the Huskies ahead for good with 32.2 remaining. UConn killed off the final moments to come away with the win.

The Huskies escaped the first period trailing just 1-0 despite putting only six shots on goal and struggling with turnovers in the neutral zone. UConn nearly tied the game in the final moments of the first 20 minutes when Turnbull broke free on a shorthanded rush but he couldn’t convert on the chance.

Boston College doubled its advantage in the second after the Huskies whiffed on multiple clearances. The puck fell to the stick of Marc McLaughlin, who spun and put it past Hanson. However, it took less than a minute for UConn to finally get on the board.

Jonny Evans carried the puck into the offensive zone and brought it to the center of the ice. There, he dropped it to a streaking Hudson Schandor, who deked past one defender and sent it top shelf for the score just 37 seconds after BC’s goal.

At the midway point of the period, UConn drew even. Turnbull sped into the zone, went behind the net and slipped a wrap-around into the net to tie the game at 2-2. The Huskies then captured the victory after the sensational, back-and-forth third period.

Five different players scored for the Huskies while seven others recorded an assist. Hanson stopped 21 of the 25 shots that came his way.

Next, UConn will return to non-conference action with a trip up to Springfield to take on AIC on Tuesday.

UConn goals