UConn men’s hockey earned a much-needed win on Friday night at the Mullins Center, beating the UMass Minutemen 4-3 in overtime. Chase Bradley had the sudden-death score with 13 seconds left in overtime after forcing a turnover in the neutral zone, skating in and sniping the winner home.
The victory snaps a two-game losing streak for the Huskies and gives them their first Hockey East victory since Nov. 29.
ICE IN HIS VEINS❄️❄️❄️— UConn Men's Hockey (@UConnMHOC) January 21, 2023
Chase Bradley ends it for the Huskies!!! pic.twitter.com/tIDJH0xo62
Along with Bradley, Hudson Schandor scored twice while Jake Percival found the back of the net as well. In goal, Arsenii Sergeev was stellar for UConn, stopping 34 of 37 shots — including a 14-save first period.
Both teams scored on the power play but the Huskies won the special teams battle with the overtime goal.
UConn found itself defending for much of the first period. The Huskies struggled to clear the defensive zone, had trouble getting through the neutral zone and then couldn’t connect passes in the offensive zone early on. UMass out-shot UConn 15-4 through the opening 20 minutes.
Then, the Huskies went ahead against the run of play. On just the team’s second shot, Schandor buried a rebound into the top of the net to give UConn a 1-0 lead.
That advantage wouldn’t last long, though. 1:14 later, UMass evened the score at 1-1 when Scott Morrow snuck a shot from the point through traffic and past Sergeev.
The second period proved to be more balanced. Shots were even and both teams created grade-A chances, only to be denied by the goaltenders. The Huskies went back ahead with 6:31 left in the middle stanza when Percival collected a rebound from Ty Amonte and scored on a near-impossible angle along the goal line.
UConn held the 2-1 lead into the second intermission, but not without a push from the hosts. UMass hemmed the Huskies in the zone for the almost the entirety of the final 2.5 minutes and didn’t allow the visitors to get a change but couldn’t take advantage.
The Minutemen could only be held off for so long, though. Just a few minutes into the third period, Sergeev left a rebound right in front of goal and Lucas Mercuri poked it in to tie the game at 2-2.
They weren’t done, either. On the first power play of the day for either side, Morrow finished a rebound on the back post to give UMass its first lead of the day at 3-2. The home side then had two more power plays after going ahead but couldn’t do anything with them. In fact, Mercuri ended the second with a penalty of his own, which gave UConn its only power play of the day.
Despite its advantage totaling roughly a minute, the Huskies didn’t pass up the opportunity. Schandor buried a rebound for the second time on the night to tie the game with just over three minutes to go. The 3-3 scoreline held through regulation and looked like it might even become the final in overtime.
Both sides had chances in the extra period but neither could find the all-important game-winner. Then in the closing seconds, Bradley stole the puck in the neutral zone, skated in and scored with 13 ticks left to send UConn home happy.
Next, the Huskies will complete the home-and-home with UMass on Saturday in Storrs. Puck drop is set for 4:35 p.m. ET from Toscano Family Ice Forum.