Feb. 7, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - University of Connecticut freshman goaltender Robby Nichols (Dallas, Texas) stopped all 28 shots he faced Friday night to lead the Huskies to a 3-0 shutout win over Bentley in an Atlantic Hockey Association match-up at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The win pushed the Huskies past the Falcons into second place in the AHA standings heading into tomorrow night's series finale at Bentley.
UConn senior Jordan Sims (Toronto, Ontario) scored the game-winner and picked up an assist in the win as he heads into tomorrow's game just a point shy of 100 for his career (36g/63a). The Huskies improved to 14-8-4 overall and 12-5-3 in the AHA while the Falcons fall to 13-10-4 overall and 11-5-4 in the league.
The Huskies came out firing right from the opening face-off and notched their first goal just 1:28 into play. Junior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) threw a shot on net that was saved by Bentley goaltender Branden Komm but the Huskies rushed the net and battled for the rebound. The puck was deflected up into the air, with senior Brant Harris (Estevan, Saskatchewan) and Sims getting their sticks on it before Sims stuffed it home for his seventh of the year and a 1-0 lead.
UConn took advantage of their first power play opportunity of the night when Bentley's Matt Blomquist was sent off for tripping at 19:30 in the first. Sims sent senior Billy Latta (West Chester, Pa.) off into the Bentley zone with a pass to start a final rush before the period horn.
Latta carried the puck behind the net, taking a defender on his tail and sending a slick back-hand pass to Harris at the left post who tapped it in for a 2-0 lead with seven ticks left on the clock.
The Huskies made it 3-0 at 5:04 in the third period as freshman Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) scored his fifth of the season. Latta dug the puck out along the left boards and got it over Norris in the circle. The freshman forward took a stride toward goal and rifled a shot past Kromm to the near side to give the Huskies a 3-0 lead.
Nichols made the 3-0 lead stand up the rest of the way, making 11 of his 28 saves in the third period as the Huskies killed off two late penalties to preserve the shutout win.
It was the first shutout for UConn since blanking Sacred Heart on the road, 4-0, on March 2, 2013 and their first shutout at home since a 9-0 win over Bentley on February 11, 2013.
UConn out shot Bentley 37-28 on the night and killed off all five Falcon power play opportunities. Bentley came into the night tied for second in the nation on the power play, converting at a .270 clip.
The win improved the Huskies to 11-3-1 this season at home. UConn and Bentley will close out their season series tomorrow night from John A. Ryan Skating Arena in Watertown, Massachusetts. Opening face-off is slated for 7:05 pm.