HARTFORD, Conn. - The UConn men's hockey team fell behind 5-1 in the third period with a late rally falling short as Rensselaer dealt the Huskies a 5-3 loss Saturday afternoon at the XL Center. UConn honored the 1999-00 Huskies during the game on the 20th anniversary of their MAAC Championship season.
RPI's Chase Zieky, Avon, Connecticut native, scored a pair of goals and collected an assist to lead the Engineers. Both Will Reilly and Simon Kjellberg had a goal and assist while Nick Bowman had three assists.
The Huskies took a 1-0 lead into the first intermission thanks to the first collegiate goal from freshmen Yan Kuznetzon (Murmansk, Russia). From there, RPI put three on the board in the second and scored twice early in the third to take a commanding 5-1 lead.
UConn freshmen Vladislav Firstov (Yaroslavl, Russia) and sophomore Jachym Kondelik (Budejovice, Czech Republic) both scored in the third and tacked on an assist to their game totals.
RPI scored on their only power play chance of the day while goaltender Linden Marshall made 31 saves to earn the win. UConn sophomore goaltender Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic stopped 22 shots.
UConn grabbed a 1-0 lead at the 7:04 mark of the first as Justin Howell (Saint Paul, Minn.) and sophomore Carter Turnbull (Naniamo, British Columbia) dug the puck out of the left corner to Kuznetsov who ripped one top-shelf from the top left circle for his first career goal.
RPI owned the second period, scoring three times during the second stanza. Zieky got it started just 41 seconds into the period, one-timing a centering feed from Bowman for his first of the night.
Defenseman Simon Kjellberg made it 2-1 at 3:58. Zieky carried the puck in and left it for a trailing Kjellberg who buried it through traffic in front of Vomacka. The final RPI goal of the period came off a UConn turnover in their zone as Reilly picked up a puck on the right boards and rifled a quick snap shot past Vomacka from the right circle.
The Engineers struck early again in the third period, putting back-to-back goals together at 2:26 and then again at 3:24. Ryan Mahshie created a turnover in the neutral zone and burst in on Vomacka. His intital shot was saved by he quickly put the rebound back over the goaltender, bar down, for a 4-1 lead.
On their first power play chance, Zieky put his team up 5-1, buring a feed from Kjellberg the slot area through some traffic, his second of the night.
The Huskies tried to chip away as Firstov got his first career goal at 5:20, poking in a rebound of a Kondelik shot. Kondelik got his second of the season at the 7:36 mark, putting himself in postion to get a redirect on a Harrison Rees shot to pull UConn within 5-3.
The Huskies and Engineers will battle again next Friday night, October 18 from RPI's Houston Field House in Troy, N.Y. Game time is set for 7 pm.