Jan. 3, 2014
STORRS, Conn. (January 3, 2014) - The University of Connecticut got 2014 off to a strong start with a 2-1 win over RIT in the first game of an Atlantic Hockey series Friday night at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. Junior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) and sophomore Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) each found the back of the net to help deliver the Huskies two points in the AHA standings with the win.
The Huskies, who improve to 8-6-2 overall and 6-3-1 in the AHA, got 32 saves from senior Matt Grogan (Gilbert, Ariz.) in net, 13 coming in the final period. UConn was out shot 33-21 on the night but dealt RIT rookie goaltender Mike Rotolo his first loss of the season (5-1-1).
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period with RIT (7-7-3, 5-4-1 AHA) limiting the Huskies to just three shots on goal. The second period looked as if it would go the same as the first before Gerling would strike for his fifth on the year at 14:38.
Junior Jacob Poe (Arlington, Texas) played a puck to Gerling who caught the RIT defense and got loose with senior Jordan Sims (Toronto, Ontario) on a 2-on-1 breakaway. Gerling played the puck to Sims who played it back for the junior to make a move and shovel a backhand shot five-hole on Rotolo for a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies would make it 2-0 just 3:44 into the third period on Pauly's sixth goal of the season. Senior captain Brant Harris (Estevan, Saskatchewan) created a turnover at the blue line and quickly fed a pass to Pauly who broke to the far post and beat Rotolo with a quick shot.
The Tigers cut the lead to 2-1 at 10:05 as Garrett McMullen took advantage of an UConn miscue right in front of goal. The Huskies were looking to clear but a pass deflected right in front to McMullen who was all alone and fired past Grogan for his third goal on the year.
The Huskies were called for their lone penalty with just over five minute left to play as senior Billy Latta (West Chester, Pa.) was sent off for roughing. The UConn special teams delivered, killing off their 19th-straight penalty to keep the one-goal lead safe. The Tigers got three shots off on the power play.
RIT pulled Rotolo with 1:02 left for one final push at a tying goal and let loose a flurry of shots that Grogan was able to turn away sealing the win.
Rotolo would finish with 19 saves in the loss while both teams did not score on their only power plays of the night.
The Huskies and Tigers will be back at it Saturday afternoon to conclude the weekend set. Puck drops at Freitas Ice Forum at 4:05 pm.