UConn men's hockey downed by Merrimack, 6-3
The Huskies were let down by bad goaltending in the first two periods and undisciplined play in the third.
Photo: Ian Bethune
UConn men’s hockey dropped to 0-3-0 on home ice this season with a 6-3 loss to the Merrimack Warriors.
The Huskies out-shot the visitors 29-24 — but a bad night from Arsenii Sergeev in net (four goals allowed on 12 shots before being pulled after the second period) and an undisciplined third period (five penalties, including a major) was too much to overcome.
After falling behind 1-0, UConn answered with a pair of goals from Matthew Wood and Hudson Schandor to take a 2-1 lead into the first intermission. Merrimack answered with two more, but Andrew Lucas tied the game at 3-3 with four minutes left in the period. Then, the Warriors converted on the power play just 1.9 remaining before the second intermission to re-take the lead. They never relinquished it.
The six goals are the most UConn has allowed all season.
For the fifth straight game, the Huskies allowed the first goal. Alex Jefferies split UConn’s defensemen, took the puck to net and beat Sergeev blocker-side to give the visitors a 1-0 lead. The Huskies challenged for offsides but the reply wasn’t definitive and the call stood.
UConn didn’t stay behind for long. Five minutes later, Lucas sent Chase Bradley into the zone off the rush and he slid a cross-ice pass to Wood. The sophomore took a second to collect the puck but then he sent a snipe near-side high to tie the game at 1-1.
In the closing minutes of the first period, Schandor put the Huskies ahead with his first goal of the year. His initial wrap-around attempt was turned away but his second shot sailed over Merrimack goalie Hugo Ollas and tucked under the bar to give UConn a 2-1 advantage.
The Huskies dominated the middle period, but went into the second intermission down 4-3. Despite a 14-8 advantage in shots on goal during the second stanza, the Warriors scored three goals to go back ahead. Sergeev struggled — on Merrimack’s second goal, he sprawled out before the shot. Then on the fourth, he took too long to go post-to-post and couldn’t stop the back-side shot. The Warriors’ go-ahead goal came on the power play with just 1.9 seconds left in the period, too.
In the third, UConn came apart. First, Bradley took a boarding penalty. Then, Tristan Fraser received a major and game misconduct for knee with 7:54 left, which severely limited the Huskies’ abilities to mount a comeback. Schandor picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct whistle after Merrimack scored, then Bradley got whistled for cross-checking.
The Warriors added a sixth with 31 seconds left and came away with a 6-3 victory.
UConn falls to 4-6-1 on the season and 2-3-0 in Hockey East play. The Huskies will look to salvage a split in game two of the series on Saturday at Merrimack.