Benjamin Freeman drives the puck but the UConn offense was held scoreless in a loss against Boston College (Judah Shingleton/The Daily Campus)
It was a rough time for “Hockey Night in Hartford” Thursday night as the UConn men’s hockey team fell to the Eagles from Boston College 3-0 and saw their five-game losing skid grow to six. BC’s Joseph Woll played as-advertised in his first shutout on the year. The top goalie in Hockey East entered the night with a .963 save percentage that only went up after he defended his net from all 28 pucks fired by the Huskies.
“We’re going to grow, we’re going to become better, but tonight, my hat’s off to Boston College,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said postgame. “They were better.”
“Tonight, we didn’t deserve to win the game.”
Things got off to a slow start but not from a lack of effort. UConn threw the puck on net 14 times, almost doubling Boston College’s eight, but to no avail. Shots flew high and wide while Woll denied anything sent his way.
The tide shifted in favor of BC at the 14:53 mark when Julius Mattila beat Adam Huska right in front of the net with both sides down a skater. The junior’s fourth goal of the year, assisted by David Cotton and Michael Kim, sent the Huskies to the locker room chasing one at the first intermission.
BC doubled their lead early on in the second period while outshooting UConn by five. Casey Fitzgerald lasered the puck to Logan Hutsko out of the offensive set before Hutsko buried the one-timer from the left circle at the 7:25 mark.
BC would not exit the period unscathed, however. With under four minutes before the second intermission, Justin Howell slammed Eagles’ defenseman Connor Moore into the boards with a brutal blow. Moore stayed down for a few moments before a pair of teammates helped him off the ice. Howell earned a two-minute trip to the penalty box for boarding.
The Eagles took the advantage of being a man up rather quickly to extend the lead to three. Mattila found the back of the net for a second time, just 35 seconds after Howell skated to the penalty box. Cotton and Fitzgerald each earned their second assist of the night on a play that seemingly took all the wind out of UConn’s sails.
Each side opened the final frame a man down with UConn’s Adam Karashik and BC’s Fitzgerald in the box for roughing, a call made behind the Eagles’ net in the closing minute of the second period.
The two sides would skate most of the period away. It wasn’t until an open-net BC score that sent fans to their cars with under four minutes to play. Mattia scored while Huska was on the bench in-favor of an extra skater, crediting the Finland native with a hat-trick.
Cavanaugh is keeping the message to his young team fairly simple during their tough stretch before the midseason break: Continue to work hard.
“You have to dig deep and get back to basics and play fundamental hockey and trust your teammates and that’s something we’ll continue to hammer home as a club,” Cavanaugh said. “We’ll fight through this.”
UConn and BC will square off again Friday night in Boston for installment two of their home-and-home series. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
Kevin Arnold is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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