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UConn men’s hockey sneaks by LIU in overtime, 2-1

The Huskies pulled out a result in their first game back from winter break despite a sub-optimal performance.

UConn’s Hudson Schandor #22 celebrates with Ryan Tverberg #28 after his game-winning goal in overtime vs LIU.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey returned from winter break with a 2-1 overtime victory on the road against the LIU Sharks. Hudson Schandor banged home a one-timer in the extra period to secure the win for the Huskies.

Less than a minute into 3-on-3 OT, UConn sprang free on a 3-on-2 rush led by Ryan Tverberg. He skated in, made a move to get past one defender and sent it to a crashing Schandor, who buried the pass for the winner.

All three goals came courtesy of special teams. The Huskies opened the scoring with a power play goal from Andrew Lucas but LIU answered back with one of their own to tie at 1-1 in the first period. That score held through the end of regulation before UConn shut the door in overtime.

The Huskies’ power play went 1-4 while the penalty kill went 1-2. Arsenii Sergeev got the start in net and stopped 29 of the 30 shots he faced.

Special teams dominated the first period. UConn got the first advantage of the day just under six minutes in and quickly capitalized. The Huskies won the draw and made a few decisive passes to find Lucas at the point, who sniped home his second goal of the year just nine seconds into the power play. They’d get the extra skater again a minute later but struggled to get set up and didn’t create many dangerous chances.

LIU got its first turn midway through the opening period. While UConn’s typically stellar penalty kill unit looked shaky, it still kept the puck out of the back of the net and melted most of the two minutes down.

Then, the Sharks came into the zone on the rush and fired an initial shot that Sergeev initially turned away, but Austin Brimmer collected the rebound and put it into the back of the net to tie the game with 15 seconds left on the penalty. That 1-1 scoreline held into the first intermission.

The middle stanza didn’t feature much action outside of another UConn power play, which it failed to convert on. The Huskies had a few quality shifts where they came close to re-taking the lead but were denied by LIU goalie Vinnie Purpura.

UConn cranked up the pressure in the third period but struggled to sustain much momentum with two separate trips to the penalty box. On the second kill, the Huskies had a couple shorthanded opportunities but couldn’t make the final play to get the puck into the back of the net.

In overtime, LIU won possession initially but Schandor won a puck battle along the boards to spring UConn on the 3v2 rush that ultimately won them the game.

Win the win, the Huskies avoid a disastrous result towards the Pairwise rankings and improve to 12-5-3. They’ll return home to complete the home-and-home series with the Sharks on Saturday with puck drop set for 1:05 p.m. from the XL Center.