Chase Bradley helped UConn men’s hockey to its best start in over 45 years with an overtime game-winner to lift the Huskies past the Union Dutchmen, 4-3. With the win, they improved to 4-0-0 on the young season, their best start since 1975-76.
After the two teams were deadlocked at the end of regulation and went into the 3-on-3 extra period, Matthew Wood dropped a pass to Bradley, who deked one defender, skated towards net and put a shot past Union goalie Kyle Chauvette to give UConn the sudden-death victory.
Jake Flynn, Nick Capone, Jake Percival and Bradley all scored as the Huskies erased a one-goal deficit twice to earn the victory. Arsenii Sergeev started in net and saved 27 of 30 shots.
UConn’s special teams dominated again: The Huskies won the battle 3-0 with a shorthanded goal, a power play goal and a 3-on-3 goal.
Union initially appeared to score the first goal a little more than two minutes in but it was waived off for goaltender interference after review. The Dutchmen wouldn’t be denied the opener, though. Midway through the first, Union beat out an icing, took the puck behind the net and found Liam Robertson in the slot, who sniped a shot off the post to put the visitors up 1-0.
The two teams took that scoreline into the first intermission. Despite putting 10 shots on net, UConn struggled to generate dangerous chances in the opening 20 minutes. The best opportunities came late in the final minute when the Huskies peppered the Union net and had a few rebound opportunities in front but couldn’t find the finisher.
Luckily, the break proved to be exactly what UConn needed. While on the penalty kill early in the second period, Flynn and Ryan Tverberg sprang free on a 2-on-1 up the ice. Tverberg took it up the right side and delivered a perfect cross-ice pass to Flynn, who one-timed it to score the Huskies’ first shorthanded goal in two seasons.
Later in the period, special teams came through again. On the power play, Ty Amonte sent it down low to Bradley, who tried a backhanded attempt but was denied. However, the rebound found Capone and the junior slotted it five-hole to give UConn a 2-1 advantage.
The Huskies nearly doubled their lead twice shortly after. Tverberg had an open chance on the back post go off the post while Hudson Schandor put a chance off the bottom of the crossbar.
Even though UConn dominated long stretches of the second period, Union found an equalizer in the final minute. The Huskies survived one scramble in front of the net but the Dutchmen eventually broke through. With 43 seconds before intermission, Cal Mell re-directed a a shot from Cullen Ferguson past Sergeev to pull the visitors even at 2-2.
Union carried that momentum into the third period and re-took the lead after Ben Tupker finished a rebound into an open net less than a minute in. UConn wouldn’t wait long to respond, though. During a long sequence in the offensive zone, John Spetz fired a shot at goal to keep the puck inside the blue line. The long-distance attempt found Percival, who tipped it past the goalie to pull the Huskies even at 3-3.
Neither team found a winner in regulation, so the game went a five-minute, 3-on-3 overtime period. Once the extra session began, UConn won both face-offs and dominated possession. On the Huskies second shift, Wood took the puck behind the net and without a clear look on goal, he handed it off to Bradley. The sophomore buried the winner to give UConn the win and its second consecutive sweep.
Next, the Huskies will host No. 14 Ohio State in a two-game series at the XL Center on Friday and Saturday.