UConn men’s hockey defeated the Boston College Eagles, 6-5, on senior day at Toscano Family Ice Forum to split the weekend series. Justin Pearson recorded the first hat trick at the new on-campus arena, becoming the fifth Husky in the Hockey East Era to do so and the first since Jonny Evans put four past Merrimack on Jan. 30, 2021.
UConn never trailed as Ty Amonte, Matthew Wood, and Jake Black all joined Pearson on the scoreline in the team’s final regular season game. Black’s goal was the first of his collegiate career.
Amonte returned after missing the last four games with a shoulder injury but left in the second period with another apparent shoulder injury and did not return.
Arsenii Sergeev started in net and stopped 19 of 24 shots while picking up his 11th win of the season.
UConn jumped Boston College out of the gate. Just 91 seconds in, Pearson skated in, deked the goalie, and lifted a back-hander in to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. They had a chance to pile on with a power play shortly after but struggled to get set up and never generated much.
Then, BC went on the power play for the first time and found the back of the net moments after the man-advantage expired to tie the game, 1-1.
That’s as much of a foothold as the visitors had in the opening period, though. From then on, UConn dominated possession and consistently generated grade-A chances around the net, only to either miss the net or be turned away by BC goalie Henry Wilder. The Huskies re-gained the lead when Amonte re-directed a shot off the post, stuck with it, and poked in the second-chance attempt.
The lead didn’t last long. While UConn controlled play, it had a defensive breakdown during 4-on-4 play in the final seconds of the opening period, which allowed Lukas Gustafsson to skate in on goal and tie the game at two with five seconds left before intermission.
Early on in the second period, Boston College was in control, peppering UConn’s goal before drawing a five-minute power play after a major cross-checking penalty and game misconduct on Roman Kinal. The Huskies killed off half of it until the Eagles committed a slash, which evened the sides at 4-on-4.
With the extra space on the ice, BC caught UConn on a 3v1 rush and beat Sergeev, but the Eagles’ player decided to pass instead of shooting at the open net which resulted in a turnover. The Huskies immediately went the other way and after entering the zone, Hudson Schandor sent a centering pass to Wood. The freshman knocked a shot under Wilder’s pads to give UConn a 3-2 lead.
The Huskies killed the final 30 seconds of the major penalty and just a few minutes later went on the power play themselves. After starting 0/3 on the advantage, UConn finally converted. Off a face-off, Pearson took the puck across the face of the goal and while he fell, still flipped a shot into the back of the net to put the Huskies up 4-2.
That lead held into the third period and unlike Friday night, UConn made sure it stayed that way. Back on the power play, Wood carried the puck into the zone, undressed two BC defenders with a toe drag, and slipped a pass to Pearson. The grad forward buried the shot to record a senior day hat trick.
The Eagles responded with a power play goal of their own, but the Huskies came right back. Black got the puck on the face-off dot and ripped a shot into the twine, which put UConn back up three at 6-3.
The Huskies struggled to put the game away. BC scored two unanswered goals and got within one with just two minutes left. The Eagles continued to put pressure on UConn and even hit the post after pulling their goalie, but shot themselves in the shoot with a tripping penalty with 1:20 left.
That proved to be enough to help the Huskies over the finish line and they came away with the one-goal victory.
Next, the Huskies will play UMass Lowell in the Hockey East quarterfinals, though the location is still to be determined. By taking all three points, UConn will finish in fourth place unless the River Hawks beats Northeastern in regulation on Saturday night. That game begins at 7 p.m. ET from Matthews Arena in Boston.
The quarterfinal matchup will be held on Saturday, Mar. 11.