UConn men’s hockey recorded its first victory at Toscano Family Ice Forum on Saturday night, defeating the UMass Minutemen 3-1 to earn the weekend sweep. The Huskies put together their best performance of the season in the win, out-shooting the visitors 42-17 while owning possession for long stretches of the game.
Nick Capone scored a much-needed breakthrough in the second period while Justin Pearson and Ryan Tverberg added goals in the third to secure the victory. In goal, Logan Terness allowed a goal 12 seconds in but held UMass scoreless on 16 shots over the final 59:48.
UConn’s 42 shots were a season-high while its 17 shots allowed were second-fewest on the season.
Just moments after the puck hit the ice, UMass’s Ryan Lautenbach stole it at center ice, skated in and scored just 12 seconds in. The quick goal didn’t deflate the Huskies, though. In fact, the opposite happened.
After going behind, UConn played arguably its best period of the season by dominating possession and tilting the ice in its favor. The Huskies put 12 shots on net in the opening 20 minutes and beat UMass goalie Luke Pavicich multiple times but the puck simply refused to go in. Andrew Lucas had a shot hit the post and sit on the goal line, only to be cleared out by the Minutemen. Jake Percival took a shot that made it halfway over the line before it hit the post and came out.
Despite numerous grade-A chances in the first period, UConn couldn’t break through and went into the first intermission down 1-0.
When play resumed, the Huskies continued knocking. They out-shot UMass 16-3 in the middle stanza but couldn’t find the back of the net for much of the period. Finally, Capone broke the door down. He skated into the slot and ripped a shot past Pavicich to tie the game.
UConn kept the pressure on in the third period. While it couldn’t convert on an early power play, it kept at it after the game returned to even strength. Matthew Wood attempted a Michigan (or lacrosse goal) and while he couldn’t put it in, the puck cycled back in towards net and Wood sent a perfect pass to a wide-open Pearson. The graduate forward tapped it into the open net to give the Huskies their first lead of the game at 2-1.
Even with the advantage, UConn didn’t let the visitors hang around. Just after the midway mark, Tverberg snapped a nine-game goalless drought courtesy of a cross-ice feed from Chase Bradley to put the Huskies up two with 9:26 remaining. UConn drained the remaining clock with ease to earn its second victory of the weekend.
Next, the Huskies take a break from Hockey East play for the Connecticut hockey tournament, where they’ll take on Yale in the first round on Friday, Jan. 28 at M&T Bank Arena in Hamden. Puck drop is tentatively set for 4 p.m. ET.