UConn hockey season comes to end in 2-1 loss to UMass Lowell in Hockey East quarters

STORRS – The UConn men’s hockey season started out with promise, but it ended early, and in disappointment.

The Huskies, playing before a full house in their new, 2,600-seat Toscano Family Ice Forum, were eliminated by UMass Lowell, 2-1, in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

UConn, which reached the conference final last year before losing in overtime, was denied a second trip to Boston and, at 20-12-3, out of the top 16 in the critical Pairwise rankings, are likely done for the season.

They started 6-0-1, then 10-3-3, but the season turned with a loss to Cornell in Madison Square Garden in late November. Tough late-season losses against New Hampshire and Boston College knocked them out of range for an at-large bid.

UConn outshot its opponent 41-18, but fell behind early and the goaltending of the River Hawks’ Gustavs Davis Grigals made all the difference. The Huskies, after pulling their goalie, scored with 1:29 left when Nick Capone was credited with an unassisted score after a review for potential goalie interference.

UMass Lowell (18-14-3) came out in attack mode, and took the lead 8:51 into the game on Blake Wells’ goal, following a flurry in front of the Huskies’ goalie Arsenii Sergeev.

Owen Cole capped another rush with a goal at 14:35, giving the River Hawks a 2-0 lead, which they held through the first period despite being outshot 13-2.

Grigals stopped all 13, and continued to stonewall UConn in the second period with 13 more, then 15 in the third period. The Huskies created traffic around the net throughout, but couldn’t convert their opportunities into goals.