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UConn's penalty kill saves the day to nab 2-1 win over No. 10 Providence

The Huskies' PK unit went 7-8 on the day and also survived a major penalty.

Photo: Ian Bethune

Entering Saturday night, UConn men’s hockey had a good-but-not-great penalty kill. The unit ranked 17th in the nation with a 83.3 kill percentage (85/102) but struggled with consistency. To start the year, they gave up two goals in the first 10 games, only to then allow five over the next three.

More recently, UConn didn’t allow a single power play goal over a three-game stretch dating back to a loss against UNH, but then allowed two on a game-changing major penalty in the 5-0 defeat to Providence on Friday night.

Then the pendulum swung back. The Huskies’ penalty kill bounced back with a herculean effort in a 2-1 win over the Friars on Saturday, going 7-8 (the game stats incorrectly list UConn at 8-9) while surviving the team’s fourth major penalty in the last five games. The lone goal allowed came on a two-minute 5-on-3 and even then, the Huskies held on for 1:13 before Providence finally scored.

The unit saved the day to get UConn a desperately-needed victory.

“They got in shot lanes, they didn't really give up any free looks, they iced pucks when they could,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said about his penalty kill postgame. “When you have to kill nine (penalties), you’re not gonna get every puck out, but we got a lot of them out.”

“We blocked a lot of shots (21 total) and I thought they did a great job of giving me clear sightlines on shots from the point, too,” goaltender Ethan Haider added.

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