PRESCOTT VALLEY, Ariz. – Tyler Bird scored the opening goal of the game, but Connecticut answered with four straight goals as the Brown men's hockey team fell to the Huskies, 4-1, in the championship game of the Desert Hockey Classic Saturday at the Prescott Valley Event Center.
Brown (3-10-1) tied host Arizona State, 8-8, in the opening round of the tournament and then won in a 3-on-3 double overtime period to advance to title game. UConn improved to 8-6-6 on the season.
Bird notched his second goal of the tournament in the first period. Rookie Gavin Nieto stopped 30 shots in the loss, while Rob Nichols made 15 saves for the Huskies to pick up the win.
UConn controlled play during the opening of the first period, outshooting the Bears by a 14-3 margin over the opening 15 minutes. Brown struck first, however, as Bird scored a 4-on-4 goal at 13:47 when he fired a shot from the right circle past Rob Nichols for the early lead. Defensemen Brady Schoo and Zach Giuttari picked up the assists on the play.
Nieto made 16 saves in the first period as UConn outshot the Bears, 16-7.
UConn regained the lead with a pair of goals in the middle frame, starting at 2:12 when Spencer Naas took advantage of a turnover in the neutral zone and skated down for the breakaway goal to even the score, 1-1.
Max Kalter pushed the Huskies in front midway through the second period, scoring just seconds after Brown killed off a penalty, as he jammed in a rebound past the goal line to make it 2-1. The Bears held the Huskies to 0-for-4 on the power play in the second period.
After going 0-for-7 on the power play, the Huskies converted on their eighth attempt of the game, when Benjamin Freeman scored at 6:57 for the two-man advantage.
Brown drew a penalty with less than four minutes remaining and then pulled Nieto for the extra skater, but the Huskies kept the Bears off the board, and then Corey Ronan added an empty netter to seal the win.
Brown will host New Hampshire on Saturday, January 7 at 7 PM.
Video of all Brown men's hockey home contests and all Ivy League games, home and away, will be broadcast live on ILDN.TV/BROWN.
Tickets for all Brown men's hockey games can be purchased online, calling the Brown Athletics Ticket Office at (401) 863-2773, or walking up to the Box Office located in the Pizzitola Sports Center, open Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m.