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UConn men’s hockey finishes sweep of LIU with 5-3 win

The Huskies took an early lead and never relinquished it.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey opened the second half of the season with a sweep, taking down LIU 5-3 in the second game of a home-and-home series.

John Spetz, Samu Salminen, Chase Bradley, Matthew Wood, and Justin Pearson all found the back of the net for the Huskies in their second-highest scoring output of the season.

UConn’s power play went 1-of-2 on the day while the penalty kill went 4-of-5 — including a crucial 5-on-3 kill in the third period. Logan Terness started in net and stopped 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

Spetz put UConn on the board first. He took the puck through a few defenders and sent a beauty backhand past LIU goalie Vinnie Purpura to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. They doubled the advantage with another pretty goal when Ryan Tverberg and Jake Percival combined to set up an easy score for Salminen with 3:51 left in the opening period.

However, LIU pulled one back with 2:23 left and the two teams went in the first intermission with UConn up 2-1.

Early in the middle stanza, the Huskies capitalized on their first power play of the day. Bradley drove to the net and put a backhander in to double the advantage. UConn’s discipline problems re-emerged in the second period and gave the Sharks an opening back into the game.

The Huskies killed a long 5-on-3 penalty but after a stretch of 4-on-4 hockey, Jake Flynn went to the box for holding. LIU took advantage of the 4-on-3 power play when UConn lost track of Anthony Vincent on the back post, who fired home a one-timer to make it a 3-2 contest.

That lead held into midway through the third period until Wood entered the zone on the rush and sniped a shot into the top shelf to once again put the Huskies up two. LIU answered back with just under six minutes remaining but Pearson put the game on ice when he scored on a breakaway with 2:18 left. UConn drained the remainder of the clock to secure the 5-3 victory.

The Huskies improve to 13-5-3 on the season thanks to the 2-0-0 start to the second half. They return to action on Jan. 7, when they’ll take on Northeastern at Frozen Fenway.