X-Men lose 2-1 to UConn in exhibition play

Photo courtesy UConn
Photo courtesy UConn

STORRS, Conn. – The UConn Huskies got goals from senior Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) and junior Karl El-Mir (Montreal, QC) and two periods of shutout hockey from sophomore goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) on the way to a 2-1 exhibition win over the StFX X-Men from the Mark Edwards Ice Forum Saturday afternoon.

Huska blanked the X-Men over the first two periods, stopping 27 shots, while El-Mir tallied in the first and Ojantakanen provided the game-winner in the second, on the power play.  The Huskies took 11 penalties on the day and killed of nine of 10 StFX power play chances.

The lone X-Men goal came in the final minute of the third period while on the power play and with their goaltender pulled for the extra skater. StFX held a 38-27 edge in the shot department, firing off 18 shots on their 10 power play chances.

UConn senior Tanner Creel (Arlington Heights, Ill.) relieved Huska for the third period and made 10 saves before allowing the late X-Men goal.  StFX's Sam Studnicka scored at 19:19 to cut the lead in half, but the Huskies kept the X-Men at bay the rest of the way to close out the win.

1st Period:

UConn opened the scoring at 15:16 as El-Mir backhanded in a rebound in front.  Sophomore Wyatt Newpower (Hugo, Mass.) fired from the high point and Hope made the stop. With a scrum in front, El-Mir picked-up the loose puck and flicked it into the empty net. Junior Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) set up Newpower at the point to pick-up the second assist on the goal.

The Huskies killed off three penalties in the first period while Huska kept a clean sheet, turning away all 14 shots he faced.

2nd Period:

Huska continued to stonewall the X-Men, turning away all 13 shots he saw in the second period. UConn filled up the penalty box again in the second period, taking five penalties. The Husky penalty kill did the job, killing off all four chances for StFX.

The Huskies made it 2-0 at 11:34 in the period, scoring on the power play. Senior Jeff Wight (Coquitlam, BC) dished to Ojantakanen in the left circle who buried a one-timer on an open net.  Senior Johnny Austin (St. Louis Park, Minn.) had the other assist on the goal.

3rd Period:

Creel and the Huskies continued to StFX off the scoreboard, killing off three more penalties until finally breaking through in the final minute.

With the goalie off for an extra skater, the X-Men had a two-man advantage after freshman Zac Robbins (Glenview, Ill.) was called for slashing at 17:51.  Santino Centorame (Mississauga, ON) sent a shot on goal and Studnicka was able to jam the loose puck in net out of the pile up in front of Creel.

Courtesy U CONN Communications