HARTFORD, Conn. - UConn sophomore Jachym Kondelik (Budejovice, Czech Republic) scored the game-winning goal in the third period to lift the Huskies to a 3-2 Hockey East win over Vermont on Friday night at the XL Center.
The Huskies pick-up their third-straight win and even their overall record at 6-6-3 and improve to 3-4-2 in Hockey East. The Catamounts drop to 1-10-2 overall and 0-7-1 in league play. The two teams will close out their weekend series on Saturday afternoon in Hartford.
UConn's Kondelik broke a 2-2 tie at 11:32 in the third period with his team-leading sixth goal and his second game-winner this year while giving him four-straight games with a point. Sophomore Ruslan Iskhakov (Moscow, Russia) scored his fourth on the year to stake the Huskies to a 1-0 first period lead. Freshman Vladislav Firstov (Yaroslavl, Russia) notched his fifth on the season in the second period to knot the game up 2-2.
Senior Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine) had an assist on the Firstov goal, recording a point in his fifth-straight game. Sophomore goaltender Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic) stopped 19 shots to record the win.
The Huskies matched their season-high with eight penalties, six coming in the first period. The UConn penalty kill finished 1-for-7 on the night.
UVM got goals from Ace Cowans and Andrew Lucas while goaltender Stefanos Lekkas stopped 33 shots, including 18 in the second period.
The Huskies struck early, grabbing a 1-0 lead just 2:08 into the game on Iskhakov's fourth on the season. Sophomore Kale Howarth (Red Deer, Alberta) created a turnover along the blueline in the the UConn zone and Iskhakov collected and broke up ice for a 2-on-1 chance. UVM gave Iskhakov the shot and he buried a snap-shot from the right face-off dot for a 1-0 lead.
From there, the Huskies spent much of the rest of the first period on the penalty kill with UVM capitalizing on their fourth chance of the period. The puck cycled back to Lucas at the high point who blasted a one-timer through traffic and past Vomacka to tie it at 1-1 at 18:08.
The Catamounts killed off a full two-minutes of a UConn 5-on-3 power play and then made it 2-1 at the 11:40 mark as Cowans came up with his third on the year. UVM got a 3-on-2 break out with Jacques Bouquot carrying in to the zone and hitting Cowans in the high slot for a one-timer he buried glove side.
The Huskies pulled even at the 14:14 mark as Firstov came up with his fifth on the season. Sophomore Carter Turnbull (Nanaimo, British Columbia) fed Freeman into the neutral zone and the Huskies were out on a break-out. Freeman slid a pass to Firstov breaking up the left and he waited to pull Lekkas just out of position before putting in home at the left post.
UConn got the go-ahead goal at 11:32 on Kondelik's sixth of the year. Senior Alexander Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) broke through the neutral zone and used his speed to burst around the net for a possible wrap-around attempt. Payusov passed up the shot and instead fed Kondelik in the slot who quickly put one past Lekkas, five-hole, for the game-winner.
The Huskies and Catamounts will wrap-up their weekend series on Saturday afternoon at the XL Center. Opening face-off is slated for 3:35 pm.