The UConn men’s hockey team ended their streak against No. 9 Hockey East opponents, Providence. They started the weekend off in Providence, Rhode Island to open the series with the brothers, then returned home for the final game.
In Friartown, UConn and Providence drew 1-1. Sophomore goalkeeper Logan Terness played a large defensive role, keeping the brothers in a lone goal.
Right after the puck drop, Providence came out hot and knocked out the Huskies 13-3. Despite the pressure, Terness kept them scoreless. Connecticut had their chance to score on a power play, but freshman Matthew Wood’s shot just missed the net.
Both sides had limited chances in the second period. As in the first period, the brothers overtook the huskies, but Terness continued to block them. Defense played a big part in the Huskies’ game as they ended up in three penalty shootouts during that period. Providence also had a strong defense as goaltender Philip Svedback prevented UConn from scoring. He made back-to-back saves against freshman Jake Percival and junior Ryan Tverberg on breakaway chances.
Early in the third period, a turnover by UConn led to a shorthanded goal by Providence’s Chase Yoder. Svedback stayed at the top of his game and kept the Huskies offense late into the period. Still, over time, UConn had to find a way to balance the game. On the power play, junior Andrew Lucas tried to miss a shot against Providence’s net, but grad student Justin Pearson found the loose puck and found the back of the net, forcing an overtime.
Neither team scored in overtime, resulting in a best-of-three shootout. Meanwhile, newcomer Samu Salminen scored the only goal that gave UConn a 1-0 win on penalties.
The huskies and brothers had a quick turnaround and traveled back to Connecticut to compete one last time.
Unlike the first game, this final competition was full of attacks. Providence got off to a quick start when Nick Poisson scored two minutes into the game. They extended their lead a few minutes later when Brett Berard found the back of the net. The last thing UConn needed was for the brothers to score again, but by the end of the first period they eventually took a three-goal lead. A Providence penalty gave UConn the man advantage and power play. At that moment, Tverberg shot past the Svedback to get the Huskies going. At the end of the first period, Providence led 3-1.
This second period was filled with attacking as both teams scored four goals together. UConn got his fire back and scored two unanswered goals to tie the game. Junior John Spetz started the rally with a one-timer goal. Wood went after the goal he scored on a breakaway to end the game by three. Providence didn’t let the game remain a tie for long as they rebounded and reclaimed their one-goal lead. The Huskies didn’t stop fighting as Spetz slid the puck into the net and Pearson hit to level the score again by four.
Due to the five-minute major for boarding and a game misconduct penalty against Pearson, the Friars started the third period with man advantage. Providence took advantage of this opportunity, scoring two goals and taking a 6-4 lead. The Huskies ran out of time to score, so they pulled goalie Arsenii Sergeev to get the extra skater, less than three minutes into the game. It was a worthy move for the Huskies as Salminen made the pass to Spetz and reduced Providence’s lead to one. Connecticut made the same decision, drawing Sergeev with a minute left to pressure the Friars’ defense for one last chance at a tie. In a thriller, Tverberg was in the perfect position to put the puck in the net with five seconds remaining, deflecting off Lucas’ shot and leveling the game with six on the buzzer. That last-minute goal forced the second night in a row against Providence into overtime.
In extra time, both teams made enormous saves and sent the game to a penalty shootout. In the shootout, Sergeev stopped five out of six Friar attempts. Among the huskies, Salminen and Percival scored. Percival scored the winning goal in the shootout. In the end, Connecticut came from behind and won the shootout against their Big East opponent.
In the two intensely contested games, UConn and Providence were tied in both games. The Huskies’ record now stands at 9-1-3. They’ll be back in action next weekend when they play UMass-Lowell in a two-game series. Teams will open on Friday, November 18 at 7:15 p.m. in Lowell, MA and conclude the series on November 19 at 3:35 p.m. in Hartford