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UConn men’s hockey blasts UNH, 6-1

The Huskies scored three times in the second period and twice in the third to secure the victory.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey earned a 6-1 road win over the New Hampshire Wildcats to earn six points in Hockey East play for the first time this season.

Hudson Schandor opened the scoring early in the first period before UNH tied it in the final minute before intermission. Then, the Huskies exploded with three goals in the second period from Jachym Kondelik, Carter Turnbull and Vladislav Firstov and added an empty netter from Artem Shlaine and an extra insurance goal from Ryan Tverberg to secure the victory.

Darion Hanson had a few shaky moments in net early on, but came up big when it mattered and stopped 31 of the 32 shots he faced.

For just the second time in 11 second half games, UConn scored first. Tverberg chipped the puck off the boards to himself as he entered the neutral zone and delivered a centering pass to Schandor, who knocked it home to put the Huskies up 1-0 four minutes in.

Even with the early lead, UConn had to survive a couple close calls. Hanson made a kick-save to deny UNH just moments before the Huskies scored and after the goal, the puck trickled through the goalie but Schandor cleared it off the goal line.

In fact, the Wildcats controlled much of the opening period. While shots were just 15-13 in favor of the hosts, they created far more dangerous chances but were denied by timely plays from both Hanson and the UConn defense. UNH finally broke through in the final minute of the first period when Tyler Ward buried a rebound in front of goal, making it a 1-1 game.

The Huskies made the necessary adjustments during the first intermission, though. UConn came out on the front foot and immediately made life more difficult on Mike Robinson and the Wildcat’s defense.

Just over four minutes in, Kondelik put the Huskies back ahead. Harrison Rees made a perfect diagonal pass to the senior down low and the beat Robinson with a deke and fired it into the dislodged net for the score.

Over the next seven minutes, the two sides mostly traded shots that completely missed the net. Then, UConn put the game away in the span of two minutes.

First, Turnbull forced a turnover at the Huskies’ blue line and took it the length of the ice for a breakaway goal to push the lead to 3-1. Two minutes later, Firstov re-directed a blue line shot from Jarrod Gourley to make it a 4-1 game.

The third period featured little in the way of action as UConn slowly let the clock bleed. UNH’s best chance to cut into the deficit came when it hit the post but other than that, it didn’t challenge Hanson much — even on a late power play.

Shlaine scored an empty-netter to seal the game and then Tverberg added a six goal on a delayed penalty for good measure to secure the 6-1 victory.

The Huskies’ penalty kill went 3-3 on the day. Their only power play came after Tverberg’s goal in the final two minutes.

With the win, UConn improves to 14-11-0 on the season and 10-6-0 in Hockey East play. Next, the Huskies will head up to Merrimack for some midweek action on Tuesday at 7 p.m.