CANTLON: UCONN Edges RIT 2-1
BY: Gerry Cantlon, Howlings
HARTFORD, CT – It wasn’t pretty, but the UCONN Huskies (5-10-2 overall, 3-6-1 HE) picked up a non-conference 2-1 win over RIT (6-5-1 overall, 6-2-0 AHA) on Saturday afternoon before an announced crowd of 3,395 at the XL Center.
Both goalies were the difference in the third period.
Sophomore Adam Huska (21 saves) kept RIT off the board with a series of late saves as the visitors pushed right to the UCONN net for the equalizer.
With 3.1 seconds left, Huska stopped Myles Powell’s backhand attempt from just ten feet out.
The RIT Tigers‘ Liam Kerins had another quality chance with 36.9 seconds left on a right wing side. Huska cut the angle down and made the save.
At the other end of the ice, junior netminder, Christian Short, (32 saves) prevented UCONN from adding to their lead by giving his RIT teammates a chance to try to tie the game.
Short, who played his prep school hockey at Canterbury Prep (New Milford), used all of his 6’4-frame in that effort.
On a two-on-one break, Short smothered Miles Gendron’s shot from the right wing with two minutes to go. Just 1:27 earlier, Max Kalter’s rebound shot was taken away by Short to keep RIT alive. The Huskies’ Zac Robbins backhanded attempt at 12:16 was kicked to the corner and Huska shortly thereafter rejected Alden Dupuis’s bid.
The game’s play was adversely affected by a whistle-happy refereeing combination of Michael Baker and Jack Millea who managed to accrue 24 minutes of penalties out of the first 40-minutes making five-on-five hockey a luxury for both teams.
All the scoring occurred in the first period.
RIT scored the game’s first goal. The Huskies coverage down-low fell short as junior Abbott Girduckis was able to circle the net from the right-wing to the left side. Girduckis found teammate Erik Brown wide-open on the right-wing. Brown deposited his ninth goal of the season into the back of the net at 9:25.
UCONN tied the game at one on the powerplay.
At 13:37, Philip Nyberg posted his first goal of the season from the right point. Nyberg was helped by a perfect screen in front set by Jesse Schwartz.
Schwartz scored the eventual game-winner also on the power play late in the first period. Schwartz was on the doorstep and pounced on a rebound of Maxim Letunov’s shot set up by a great cross-ice feed from freshman Evan Wysocky, at 16:42.
The second period was devoid of any sustained action because of the excessive refereeing.
UCONN finishes its busy November schedule of hockey with a Hockey East matchup with Northeastern Tuesday night at the XL Center at 7 pm
The RIT roster featured just three American-born players (New York, California, and Michigan) with the rest coming from Canada. One player comes from Quebec, with eight from Ontario, seven from Alberta, one from Saskatchewan and one from British Columbia.
Conversely, UCONN has just two Canadians. They have one from Ontario (Schwartz) and one from Quebec (Karl El-Mir).
The World Junior camps start in two weeks for the heralded Christmastime tournament that will be held in Buffalo this year and in Vancouver and Victoria BC, Canada the following year. The US will look to defend its gold medal with UCONN likely to lose Adam Huska to Slovakia as he is age eligible since he will not be turning 20 until May.