UConn men’s hockey defeated the Vermont Wildcats 3-1on Sunday to earn a season-opening series sweep. The Huskies scored a pair of goals in the middle period courtesy of Matthew Wood and Chase Bradley while Ty Amonte added another early in the third period. UVM broke through with 7:25 left, but UConn didn’t flinch and killed off the rest of the game without much trouble.
Arsenii Sergeev earned the win in his first career start between the pipes for the Huskies, stopping 24 of the 25 shots he faced. Wood continued to impress with a goal and an assist while Andrew Lucas picked up a pair of helpers for the second consecutive game as well.
In the first period, UConn struggled to both clear the zone and sustain offense, which led to an 11-6 advantage in shots for Vermont. It also didn’t help that the Huskies had to kill off three penalties in the opening 20 minutes but the penalty kill unit locked down and limited the hosts to just three shots on those advantages.
After the first intermission, UConn took over. It kept the Catamounts without a shot for nearly the first nine minutes in the second period and on the other end, it went ahead courtesy of special teams for the second straight night. On its second power play of the day, the Huskies found their star freshman. Wood took the puck in the slot and sniped a beautiful shot past UVM goalie Oskar Autio to put UConn ahead 1-0.
Five minutes later, the Huskies doubled their advantage. Nick Capone took the puck along the far boards and delivered a beautiful feed towards goal from the corner despite having a defender all over him. The pass found Bradley in front of net, who just needed to tap it in for UConn’s second goal of the night.
The Huskies went into the second intermission with a 2-0 lead thanks in large part to a 14-5 shot advantage in the middle period.
For the second night in a row, UConn didn’t waste any time putting the game away once the final period began. Amonte tried a wrap-around from behind the net and although his first attempt was stuffed, he kept knocking and eventually chopped the puck in for the score.
With the three-goal lead, UConn took its foot off the gas in the middle of the third and Vermont capitalized. The Catamounts got the Huskies’ defense running around after a long stretch in the offensive zone and finally found Porter Schachle on the back-post for a one-timer to pull back within two with a little more than seven minutes to play.
Luckily, the goal proved to be a wake-up call for UConn. It cranked the intensity back up and held Vermont to just two shots after the goal to earn the 3-1 victory and series sweep. The Huskies improve to 2-0-0 on the year and picked up six points in Hockey East play.
Next, UConn will return home for a two-game series at the XL Center against Union on Friday.