Jan. 21, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - For the first time in eight games this season, the UConn men's hockey team dropped a game when leading after two periods. UConn fell to Robert Morris at Freitas Ice Forum, 2-1. UConn lost both games this weekend to RMU and dropped to 10-12-2 (9-8-1 AHA). Robert Morris improved to 12-9-3 (10-7-1 AHA).
"I thought we competed tonight, battled out there. Right now though, every decision you make is critical. We took a penalty we probably shouldn't have taken. That hurt us. This time of year, one shot can end your season or have you move on. Every game is going to be important here at the end of the season," said UConn head coach Bruce Marshall.
Neither team was able to score in the first with both teams playing a physical contest in the opening 20 minutes. Miles Winter and Brant Harris were physical throughout the contest with numerous big hits in at both ends of the ice.
The Huskies allowed four unanswered goals to open the game on Friday night and responded on Saturday by out-hustling the Colonials in the first period.
Both teams went 0-1 on the power play in the first period, with Connecticut successfully killing a five-minute major midway through the period.
"We played a lot better tonight. We played with a little grit and determination. A little more physical. We played on the edge all night. We certainly had plenty of chances, we just didn't finish them," added Marshall.
UConn goaltender Garrett Bartus made 31 saves on the night with several on odd-man rushes.
Robert Morris goaltender Brooks Ostergard was strong in net as well, stopping 23 shots, including a pair of breakaways.
UConn went up 1-0 in the second period but allowed two third period goals to drop a game for the first time in 2011-12 when leading after two periods.
Connecticut put home the game's first goal at 12:31 off the stick of Marcello Ranallo. While on the power play, Ranallo took a pass at the blue line from Jacob Poe. Ranallo's initial shot was blocked but his second attempt beat Ostergard glove side. It was Ranallo's third of the season with Poe earning his second assist of the season.
Bartus made an impressive save at 16:48 when he robbed Ron Cramer with a quick glove save during another two-on-one break for the Colonials. Bartus slid from left to right to make the quick reflex save and keep the score at 1-0.
Ostergard added a timely save for RMU when he robbed UConn freshman Joe Budnick on a short-handed breakaway at 17:51. Budnick outraced two players in the neutral zone and went glove side, only to be denied from the slot.
Robert Morris found the equalizer with a power-play goal at 3:35 of the third period. Zach Hervato ripped a one-timer from the blue line. Bartus made a kick save but the rebound fell right to Cody Crichton on the left door step for the easy tap in.
The Colonials took the lead at 13:46 with a wrist shot from Trevor Lewis just under the cross bar.
UConn nearly equalized right off the next face-off but Budnick's attempt from the top of the crease was denied by Ostergard. Budnick came across the blue line with an RMU defender on his shoulder and had a shot stopped with a shoulder save from Ostergard.
UConn will play a home-and-home with Holy Cross next weekend beginning with a 7:05 p.m. contest at UConn on Friday.