HARTFORD, Conn. - UConn sophomore Jonny Evans (North Delta, British Columbia) recorded his first career hat-trick to lead the Huskies to a Hockey East weekend sweep of the Vermont Catamounts with a 7-4 win Saturday afternoon at the XL Center.
The Huskies got their second-straight weekend sweep and picked-up their fourth-straight win to finish the first semester at 7-6-3 overall and 4-4-2 in Hockey East. UConn heads into the holiday break 5-1-2 over their last eight games and secured their best first half record since 2013-14 (6-5-2).
UConn's Evans provided what would be the game-winner in the second period and added two more in the third to complete the first UConn hat-trick since senior teammate Alexander Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) did it against AIC in 2017-18 (Oct. 14, 2017).
Sophomore Marc Gatcomb (Woburn, Mass.) scored his fourth goal of the season and picked-up an assist. Classmate Jachym Kondelik (Budejovice, Czech Republic) dished a pair of assists to extend his point streak to a season-best five games. Senior Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine) also extended his point streak with an assist, matching his career-best at six games.
The Huskies, who used three second period goals to take control of the game, also got goals from sophomore Carter Turnbull (Nanaimo, British Columbia), freshman Carter Berger (North Vancouver, British Columbia) and junior Brian Rigali (Libertyville, Ill.).
UConn was 2-for-4 on the power play and finished with a 33-25 shot edge. Sophomore goaltender Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic) stopped 21 shots to earn the win, matching his win total from his rookie season.
The Huskies and Catamounts twice traded goals over the first 20 minutes of an even period. The Huskies jumped up 1-0 at the 4:41 mark, scoring on their first power play chance of the night. Kondelik fed the puck out of the right corner to Gatcomb in the right circle who one-timed it past Lekkas for his fourth.
UVM tied it at 8:39 as Jacqes Bouquot got credit for a rebound goal as a Matt O'Donnell shot came off Vomacka and off his skate and in. The play was reviewed and upheld. UConn answered at 10:51 on a nifty, heads-up play by Turnbull. The sophomore found the puck behind the net off a wide shot and was able to flick a quick shot off the back of Lekkas and into the net for his fourth and a 2-1 lead.
The Catamounts tied it up again as Matt Alvaro scored his first on the year at 12:13. Off a face-off win in the UConn zone, Alvaro walked into the slot and put a wrist shot past Vomacka.
The Huskies put three on the board in the second starting with a power play goal by Berger, his first collegiate goal. The puck cycled around to Kondelik in the right circle who fed Berger in the high point and he sniped a shot top right corner for a 3-2 lead at 5:30.
Rigali made it a two-goal lead just 45 seconds later with one of his patented gritty goals in front. Battling back to the front of the net, Rigali just got a stick to tip a rebound under a diving Lekkas for his fifth goal this year and a 4-2 lead. Evans closed the scoring in the period with his first of the night, getting a redirect at the left post off a cross-ice feed from defensemen Jake Flynn (Bridgewater, Mass.) at the blueline.
UVM came out hot in the third and put two on the board to cut the lead to 5-4 at the seven-minute mark. The Catamounts got a power play goal at 4:54 from William Lemay, his first career goal, and then made it 5-4 at 7:03 as Vlad Dzhioshvili got a rebound goal for his second on the year.
Evans answered at 9:01, getting a break-away chance on a chip pass from Kale Howarth (Red Deer, Alberta), cutting in on Lekkas and burying one to the far post. After that, the Huskies PK had to dig in and kill off a five-minute major penalty, limiting UVM to three shots.
Evans put the finishing touches on his hat-trick with an empty net goal at 19:45, tapping in a feed from Gatcomb in front for a 7-4 win.
The Huskies their holiday break and will be off until Dartmouth's 31st Ledyard Classic on December 28 and 29 when they face St. Lawrence and the host Big Green.