HARTFORD, Conn. - UConn sophomore Marc Gatcomb (Woburn, Mass.) tied the game up with 1:31 left and classmate Kale Howarth (Red Deer, Alberta) buried the game-winner with 8.7 on the clock to lift the Huskies to a 3-2 win over the No. 8 nationally ranked Massachusetts Minutemen in front of 6,666 fans at XL Center Friday night.
The Huskies win their third-straight and their eighth in their last nine Hockey East games as they improve to 15-13-4 overall and 12-8-2 in the league. UConn moves into a tie for second place after the night's results, giving them 26 points. Their 12 wins also marks their most league victories since joining the conference in 2014-15.
After a scoreless first period, freshman Carter Berger (North Vancouver, British Columbia) gave the Huskies a 1-0 lead in the second. UMass got two goals from junior John Leonard to take a 2-1 lead in the third, setting up the late game heroics.
Berger finished the night with a goal and two assists, a new career-high. Howarth added a goal and an assist. UConn's defense limited UMass to just 23 shots on the night and sophomore goaltender Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic) made 21 saves.
UMass goalie Filip Lindberg stopped 35 shots for the Minutemen.
The two teams played a tight, scoreless first period with the Huskies holding an 11-8 edge on the shot chart.
The Huskies and Minutemen traded goals in the second period with UConn striking first. Berger put the Huskies up 1-0 at the 8:32 mark, taking a feed into the zone from sophomore Jachym Kondelik (Budejovice, Czech Republic) and snaping a wrister from the left circle to the far-right post to beat Lindberg for his second on the year.
UMass answered at 13:56 as Leonard potted his 25th of the season. A deflected puck in front was poked out to the point by Niko Hildenbrand where Leonard collected it and wristed a shot that found its way through bodies in front into the back of the net to tie it up a 1-1.
UMass got their only power play chance of the night at the 7:52 mark and capitalized on Leonard's second of the night. The junior took the puck out of the left corner and curled to the high slot area, snapping a shot past Vomacka to the left post for a 2-1 lead.
UConn was trying to pull the goaltender in the closing minutes but before Vomacka could get off the ice, Gatcomb tied the game up at 2-2. Howarth dished the puck out of the right corner to Gatcomb who broke to the front of the net and shovled a back-hander over Lindberg knotting the game up with 1:31 left.
The Huskies didn't stop there, keeping the offensive pressure on and with 8.7 second left, Howarth found a rebound of a Berger shot from the point out front and whipped the rebound through some traffic and in for what would be the game-winner.
The Huskies and Minutemen will take the ice again on Saturday night up in Amherst at the Mullins Center. Opening face-off is slated for 8 pm and the game will be carried live on NESNplus.