Las Vegas, NV — Connecticut and St. Lawrence have both endured difficult seasons through the first half. UConn is skating an enormous freshman class and has shown growing pains after pushing BU to the limit in the Hockey East Tournament. St. Lawrence has struggled since Greg Carvel departed for UMass in 2016. Both teams were beaten soundly in their first Ice Vegas Invitational game on Friday night. The teams concluded their weekend trips to Las Vegas with the first ever meeting between the programs in the tournament consolation game. And from the drop, UConn controlled the night.
The Huskies poured on their best offensive performance this season, landing four first period goals and chasing Saints starter Emil Zetterquist from the net. Max Kalter, Kale Howarth, Marc Gatcomb, scored the first three goals. Gatcomb’s goal was particularly pleasing, as it was his first collegiate point. Zetterquist was pulled after facing 7 shots and allowing 4 goals in 6:55 of elapsed time. Daniel Mannella replaced him and did not fare much better. Jachym Kondelik, recently returned from the Czech Republic’s World Junior team, extended the lead to 4-0. Cade Gleekel scored his second goal of the weekend shortly thereafter, but the game still sat 4-1 in UConn’s favor at the break.
Benjamin Freeman started the second period well with a tip in goal through Mannella for a 5-1 Husky lead. St. Lawrence showed some fight with Kaden Pickering’s fourth goal of the year. But Alexander Payusov reclaimed the four goal lead late in the second.
UConn dominated the third period’s shot counter 14-6 and the game 44-25. St. Lawrence got the only goal of the third following a too many men on the ice minor. Andrew McIntyre potted the goal to end the scoring at 6-3, and the Huskies claimed third place in the Ice Vegas Invitational
St. Lawrence drops to 3-14-1 with the loss, their third straight and sixth out of eight. The Saints return to Canton next weekend with home ECAC play. They host the RPI Engineers and Union Dutchmen at Appleton Arena on the 11th and 12th. Both games are scheduled for 7 pm ET.
UCOnn rises to 7-12-1, their first win in tournament format in four tries this season. Mike Cavanaugh’s squad returns to Hockey East play on Saturday, January 12th with a trip to Merrimack College. Puck drops at Lawler Rink at 7 pm. They then play their penultimate non-conference match against RPI on Wednesday, January 16th. Puck drops at 7:05 at the XL Center in Hartford.