WEST POINT, N.Y. – Connecticut scored the first four goals and was able to hold off a comeback by the Army hockey team to hand the Black Knights a 6-3 loss on Friday night at Tate Rink.
Army (5-14-2) tallied three unanswered goals to cut the Huskies’ lead to 4-3 with scores from Josh Roberts, Joe Kozlak and Tyler Pham. Kozlak’s goal came on the power play, while Pham extended his scoring streak to four games with his eighth goal of the season. Cole Bruns got the start in net and made 17 saves, but was relieved by Parker Gahagen in the second period and the sophomore pushed aside 21 shots.
UConn (6-10-4) saw Jesse Schwartz earn the first star with three points on a goal and two assists. Kasperi Ojantakanen chipped in with two points on a pair of assists. Tom Comunale picked up his first win for UConn with 26 stops in net.
The Huskies took advantage of two power plays in the first period with a pair of goals on the man advantage. Evan Richardson got the scoring started just under six minutes into the game with his fourth of the year. He took shot from the left circle that crossed up Bruns to give UConn a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies added to the lead with Schwartz putting home a rebound at the side of the net. Ojantakanen took a shot from the high slot that Bruns pushed aside, but the pick fell right to Schwartz, who chipped it inside the far post.
The scoring opened up in the second period with a total of four goals with each team scoring twice. The Huskies made it 4-0 with two goals coming less than two minutes apart in the first six minutes of the frame. Ryan Segalla scored from the blueline and then Brent Norris jammed home a centering pass from Schwartz, who picked up two assists on each of the goals.
The Black Knights answered 43 seconds later with their first goal of the night to make it 4-1. Roberts fired home his first of the season with assists to Andrew O’Leary and Garret Peterson. Army cut the lead to two goals with 2:20 left in the middle frame with Kozlak working hard in front of the net. C.J. Reuschlein put a shot on net that Comunale pushed aside, but Kozlak collected the rebound and twisted around and beat the netminder to make it 4-2.
Army kept the momentum into the third period and dropped the UConn lead down to one with 10:50 left in the game as Pham extended his point streak to four games with his eighth of the year. Brendan McGuire got the puck behind the net and fed it out to Pham, who was fresh off a change. He swooped into the slot and one-timed it home to make it 4-3.
That was the closest Army got, however, as the Huskies closed it out with the final two goals. Corey Ronan sniped a shot from the right side that beat Gahagen under the cross bar. Spencer Naas put the game out of reach with an empty netter with 1:15 left in the game.
UConn was good on the power play with two goals on three chances, while Army added a goal on four opportunities. The Huskies fired 44 shots on goal to Army’s 29.
Army is not in action the rest of the weekend and is back on the ice for two games at Air Force next weekend.
Ice Shavings: UConn was a member of Atlantic Hockey until this season … Pham extended his point streak to four games with his eighth of the year and he has six points during the stretch … Pham has scored a point in six of the last seven games … Roberts likes playing the Huskies as he has two of his three goals in his career against UConn … he was the 17th skater this season to record a goal for the Black Knights … Kozlak is now tied for the team lead in power play goals with three … the Huskies got one game closer to tying the all-time series which is 29-28-8 in favor of the Black Knights.