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UConn men's hockey secures home ice in playoffs with 5-1 win over Vermont

The Huskies scored a quick goal and never looked back in their season finale.

Photo: Ian Bethune

UConn men’s hockey closed the regular season with a 5-1 win over the Vermont Catamounts at Toscano Family Ice Forum on Thursday. The regulation victory secured home ice in the first round of the Hockey East Playoffs for the Huskies, where they’ll face Vermont again on Wednesday.

It took UConn just 1:32 to get on the board when Matthew Wood poked a goal through, the first of two on the night for the sophomore. Joey Muldowney also added a pair while Tristan Fraser lit the lamp as well.

Arsenii Sergeev had a strong performance between the pipes, stopping 25 of the 26 shots that came his way.

The Huskies jumped UVM quickly when Samu Salminen fed Wood in front of net, who found through a defender to knock it in and give the hosts a 1-0 lead just 92 seconds in. Midway through the first, UConn doubled the advantage when Muldowney ripped a shot from the top of the circles into the twine, aided by a net-front screen from Jake Percival.

After the first intermission, the Huskies piled a third goal — again courtesy of Wood. The sophomore tried to slide a pass to Ryan Tattle, but it got broken up in the slot. The puck sat there and Wood forced his way in and knocked it in to record his second of the night.

That three-goal lead wouldn’t last long. Just seven seconds later, Vermont got on the board when a failed clearance sent the visitors in on an odd-man rush. The Catamounts capitalized to pull the scoreline back to 3-1.

UConn eventually put it away in the third period. First, Fraser blasted a one-timer near-side from the slot to make it 4-1 then Muldowney added an empty-netter to seal the victory.

With the win, the Huskies nab their third victory at Toscano Family Ice Forum on the campaign and finish the regular season at 14-18-2 overall and 9-14-1 in Hockey East play. The five goals scored mark a new season-high for UConn at Toscano this season.

Next, the Huskies will take on Vermont in the first round of the Hockey East Playoffs on Wednesday regardless of what happens in the Catamounts’ regular season finale. Puck drop for that contest is still yet to be announced.