Jan. 27, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - Three goals from UConn underclassmen led the way tonight as the UConn men's hockey squad defeated AHA rival Holy Cross, 3-1, at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies improved to 11-12-2 (10-8-1 AHA) while Holy Cross dropped to 10-12-3 (8-7-3 AHA).
The two teams came into tonight's contest tied for sixth in the standings with 19 points. The top four teams in the Atlantic Hockey Association earn a bye in the first round of the AHA playoffs and the right to host the second round.
"Doing a weekend home-and-home series like this is always difficult. We did the first part tonight and got two points. Now we have to go there and hopefully finish it up with another two points," said UConn Head Coach Bruce Marshall.
The two teams will finish the season series at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass. At 7:05 p.m. Saturday night. The game will be televised on Charter TV3 in Northeastern Connecticut. Fans can also follow the radio call at 91.7fm - WHUS.org.
Connecticut took a 2-0 lead with goals from freshmen Ryan Tyson and Jacob Poe in the second period. Poe's goal turned out to be the game-winning goal for UConn. Junior goaltender Garrett Bartus stopped 33 shots for the victory and now stands just 23 saves away from the UConn Division I career saves record. Bartus has now stopped an impressive 2,408 shots in his three seasons in Storrs.
The UConn power-play, ranked No. 3 in the nation coming into the game, went 0-for-5 on the night. UConn earned two power-plays in the game's opening 10 minutes. The Huskies had excellent puck possession but a series of scoring chances by sophomores Rui Encarnacao and Cole Schneider were denied by Holy Cross netminder Derek Kump. Kump finished with 23 stops in the loss.
With UConn on a five-on-three power-play, Holy Cross forward Erik Vos came out of the box and found the puck right at his feet. Vos came in all alone on Bartus and snapped a shot towards the left post, forcing a kick-save from the UConn goaltender at 8:45
After 20 minutes, UConn owned a slight edge in shots, 11-9, with both teams still looking for the game's opening goal.
A trio of underclassmen combined for the game's opening goal with center Ryan Tyson wristing a shot over the right shoulder of Kump at 2:21 of the second period. Sophomore Billy Latta took a pass skating through the face-off circle and sent the puck to freshman Joe Budnick. Budnick played Tyson in on the left side for his shot from the left face-off circle. The goal was Tyson's second of the season with Budnick and Latta notching their third and 16th assists of the season, respectively.
Alex Gerke had a brilliant individual effort denied at 14:38 denied by Kump. With UConn on the penalty kill, Gerke stole the puck at his own blue line and raced into the Holy Cross zone with a defenseman in his path. Gerke toe-dragged through the legs of the Holy Cross defender and put a shot on net. The Holy Cross defenseman held Gerke on the way towards the net, allowing for 4-on-4 action for 1:40.
The Huskies added the eventual game winner at 17:38 with freshman Jacob Poe finishing from in front for his second goal of the year. Senior Marcello Ranallo took a shot that was saved by Kump. Evan Carriere outraced a defender to the right side of the net and slid the puck back into the slot for Poe. Carriere earned his first assists of the year with Ranallo tallying his eighth.
"We've been working on driving the net. Tyson's goal was obviously a great shot, but the others were guys driving hard to the net and making things happen, which is good to see," added Marshall.
After two periods, Holy Cross was ahead in shots, 27-19, but the Huskies held a 2-0 edge on the scoreboard.
Latta almost made it 3-0 at 5:50 with a one-timer. On the power-play, Latta took a pass at the blue line and smashed a slap-shot off the cross bar.
The Crusaders cut the deficit to one with a goal from Matthew Davis at 8:27.
UConn responded with its third goal of the night at 10:56 to go back ahead by two goals. Jordan Sims finished into the left side of the night from the bottom of the right face-off circle after a pass from classmate Cole Schneider. The goal was Sims' seventh with Schneider earning his 15th assist.