Huskies Blast UMass, 8-2

Dec. 5, 2017

Final Stats

HARTFORD, Conn. – UConn got goals from six different Huskies on Tuesday night on the way to an 8-2 rout of the Massachusetts Minutemen in a Hockey East match-up at the XL Center.  Senior Jeff Wight (Coquitlam, British Columbia) and sophomore Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine) each scored a pair to lead the UConn in the lopsided win.

The Huskies picked-up their fifth conference win and improved to 5-7-1 in league play to close the first half.  UConn improved to 7-11-2 overall.  UMass falls to 8-7-0 and 3-4-0 in the league.

UConn built a 3-0 lead in the first on Wight’s two goals and a sophomore Alexander Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) power play goal.  Freshman Brian Rigali (Libertyville, Ill.) scored his first collegiate goal in the opening seconds of the second period followed by Freeman’s pair to make it 6-0 after two.

Junior Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) and senior Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) added third period goals to put the stamp on the Huskies highest goal total since an 8-1 win at AIC in November of 2013.


 

 

UMass tacked on goals by Brett Boeing and Austin Plevy in the third while the Minutemen outshot UConn, 29-22.  UConn sophomore goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) made 26 saves in earning the win.

1st:

A big first period for the Huskies featured a pair of Wight goals sandwiched around a Payusov power play goal for a 3-0 lead.  The Huskies were 1-for-2 on the power play in the first while UMass held a 12-7 shot edge.

Wight got the scoring started at 9:26, finding a rebound in the slot and backhanding a shot past Wischow into the top-right corner for his fourth of the season.  Senior David Drake (Naperville, Ill.) teed-up a slap shot from just inside the blue line and Wight cleaned up the rebound.

The Huskies made it 3-0 thanks to back-to-back goals at 12:25 and 13:04.  On their second power play chance, Letunov fired from the right circle with Payusov camped in front to chip in the rebound for his ninth of the season.  Wight picked-up his second on the night, and fifth on the year, just 39 seconds later, beating Wischow on a 2-on-1 chance, placing one glove side for a 3-0 lead.

2nd:

More of the same of the Huskies in the second as Rigali and Freeman found the back of the net to push the lead to 6-0.  The Minutemen went to Murray in goal to start the second.

Rigali scored his first career goal, coming just 47 seconds into the period.  Junior Max Kalter (Highland Park, Ill.) dug the puck out behind the net and fed Rigali right in front as he banged in home.

Freeman made it 5-0 UConn at 5:29, getting a deflection on a Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) shot right in front of Murray.  Senior Derek Pratt (Mount Hermon, Mass.) kept the puck in at the blue line and fed it down to Ronan behind the net.  He circled to the front and snapped one off Freeman and past Murray.  The Huskies capitalized on a UMass turnover at 11:31, as Freeman picked a pass from defenseman Cale Makar right in front of the net and buried it for his third on the year and a 6-0 lead.

3rd:

UMass changed goaltenders for the second time, going to Brad Arvanitis to start the third.  UConn’s Letunov buried a shot at 4:04 to open the scoring in the third period and make it 7-0 UConn.  Letunov’s wrist shot came from the right circle and caught some of Arvanitis before trickling in.  Naas picked-up his sixth goal of the season, creating a turnover and beating Arvanitis stick side at 6:54.

The Minutemen got a goal from Boeing at 6:21 to break-up the shutout bid and added one from Plevy late with make it 8-2 with 40 seconds left.

Notes:

The Huskies even the season series with UMass at 1-1-0 and will host the Minutemen again on Thursday, February 22 in the rubber match.  UMass leads the all-time series, 27-13-3.

Wight and Freeman each recorded their first career multi-goal games in the win.  Wight returned to the lineup on Friday night after missing the previous eight games with injury.

Pratt set a new career-high with two assists for two points, his first career multi-point game.  Senior Jesse Schwartz (Toronto, Ontario) picked-up an assist on Wight’s first goal and extended his point streak to five-straight games.

Paysov has scored a goal in three-straight games since returning from a nine-game absesence (inj.).  It was also his team-leading sixth power play goal this season.

The Huskies will close out the first semester on Friday night hosting No. 16 nationally ranked Colgate from the ECAC.  The two teams met last season resulting in a 4-4 tie in Hamilton, N.Y.  Colgate leads the all-time seresi, 5-2-1.

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