PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – The UConn Huskies advanced to the title game of the Desert Hockey Classic thanks to a 4-3 win over No. 18 St. Cloud State Friday night at the Prescott Valley Event Center. Sophomore Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) scored a pair of goals while senior Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) stopped 33 shots in the win.
UConn remained unbeaten in the month of December, a 3-0-1 stretch, and improved to 7-6-1 overall with their fourth win this season over a nationally ranked opponent. St. Cloud State dropped to 8-8-1 overall. It was the first ever meeting between the two schools.
Naas gave UConn a 1-0 lead after the first period and sophomore Miles Gendron (Shrewsbury, Mass.) made it 2-0 just 37 seconds into the second. SCSU tied it with two-straight before Naas struck for his second of the night with 1:20 left in the second.
UConn, now 7-1-1 this season with a lead heading into the third period, pushed their lead to 4-2 thanks to sophomore Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) who scored at 14:45. SCSU scored on a late power play with the goaltender pulled, making it 4-3 with 52 seconds left. Nichols sealed the win with 2.7 seconds left, when he snatched a one-timer off the stick of Mikey Eyssimont at point blank range.
Nichols evened his record at 3-3-3 on the season with the win. SCSU goaltender Jeff Smith made 26 saves in taking the loss. SCSU held a 36-30 edge on shots and finished 1-for-4 on the power play. UConn was 0-for-2.