Streak snapped

The Catamounts’ sparkling late-season run included a second place finish in the America East, the conference tournament championship and a berth in the second round of the NCAA tournament.But Vermont did not have enough on Wednesday night against the third-ranked University of Connecticut Huskies as they fell 2-0 in front of 2,632 fans at Morrone Stadium in Storrs, Conn.After starting the season 4-9, the Cats ripped off seven straight games without a loss and without allowing a goal, on the way to their fourth America East Championship.”I am proud of these guys,” head coach Jesse Cormier said. “It’s been the most rewarding year of my coaching career.”We were at the bottom of the barrel and we have come far. The journey we took persevering, battling adversity, is something these guys will take with them the rest of their lives,” he said.The Cats faced another uphill battle at UConn after conceding a goal in the first minute for the second straight game.Junior defenseman Jack McFadden was shown a yellow card just 38 seconds into the game after a hard tackle out?side the left corner of the box.UConn did not waste any time converting when senior Dori Arad headed in sophomore Mike Pezza’s free kick past a diving Roger Scully, just inside the post.After going down against Dartmouth in the first round of the tournament, Vermont fought back to force a shootout, but against the speed and athleticism of the Huskies they could not find the back of the net.”Our goal was to get to the half even or ahead,” Cormier said. “But even when they were up a goal, I felt we had the ability and the guys to find a way, and we had some chances.”Junior Jordan Crasilneck had the best of those chances for UVM on consecutive possessions in the first half.Off a long free kick in the ninth minute, Crasilneck slipped behind the defense, but could not get on the end of the ball played into the box by senior Panos Georgiadis.Less than a minute later, Crasilneck led a Vermont counterattack and fired a shot from just outside the box.It was knocked aside by the Huskies goalie, Josh Ford, who dove across the goalmouth to get a hand on a ball destined for the back of the net.The rebound bounced out to the center of the box, but senior Tyler Hasman was unable to get a foot on the ball as a defender took him down. No penalty was awarded.”In the end, we didn’t put away our chances like we needed to and Connecticut did,” Crasilneck said. “In the offseason we know where we need to be and we know the level it takes to be on top.”We will try to be back here next year.”In the second half, Vermont could not get any clear-cut chances on goal and looked worn down by the Big East champion Huskies.But the scrappy play and never-say-die attitude of the Cats left an impression on UConn and head coach Ray Ried.”Give Vermont credit,” Reid said. “Their MO is that they fight and claw and battle. They fought and really bottled us up.”But UConn, who had outscored opponents 46-12 through 21 games, was just too powerful.The Huskies put the game out of reach at the 55-minute mark when NCAA scoring leader, O’Brian White, headed in a goal off a cross deep in the box, bringing his season total to 20 goals.The Hukies (19-2-1) are ranked as the top team in the country by more than one poll and gave the Cats something to strive for in the coming season.”This team is going to have a sour taste in their mouth, all spring, all summer,” junior goalie Scully said. “A loss like this is going to help us.””UConn offered us something that was a different standard for us,” Cormier said. “Our goal coming in to the season was to win the conference.”Uconn steps in and points out a higher level and says you need to jump to this.”We have taken the steps to win the conference,” Cormier said. “And now we have to take the steps to be recognized nationally. “The guys left the game hungry and we knew we didn’t play our best game.”Vermont finishes the sea?son with a 9-10-3 record overall, going 4-2-2 in the America East Conference.