Feb. 22, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. – The UConn men’s hockey team rebounded from Friday night’s loss to Army to come away with a 3-1 Atlantic Hockey win over the Black Knights at a sold out Tate Rink Saturday night. Senior Brant Harris (Estevan, Saskatchewan) had a pair of assists in the win to become the program’s all-time leading scorer during the Division I era (1998-present). The Huskies win the season series with the Black Knights, 2-1, and improve to 17-11-4 overall and 14-8-3 in the AHA on the season.
Harris passes former Husky Cole Koidahl (2003-07) on the UConn Division I career scoring list with 109 career points (52g/57a). Freshman goaltender Robby Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 27 saves to earn the victory and improve to 7-1-2 on the season. Freshmen Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) and Sean Gaffney (Plymouth, Mich.) and sophomore Patrick Kirtland (Cary, N.C.) also scored in the win.
The Huskies grabbed an early, jumping up 1-0 at 3:40. Freshman Ryan Segalla (Boston, Mass.) fed senior Jordan Sims (Toronto, Ontario) through the neutral zone on the right win. Sims got a great look and fired from the right circle with Parker Gahagen making the stop. The rebound kicked-out perfectly to the hard charging Gaffney who banged home the loose puck for his third on the year.
For the second time in as many nights, the Huskies got a five-minute power play but couldn’t capitalize. Army’s Shane Hearn was called for elbowing and contact to the head at 17:20 in the second resulting in a five-minute major but UConn could not find the back of the net on a power play that extended into the third period.
Just as soon as Army killed off the five-minute extra man opportunity, they put the Huskies right back on the power play as Joe Kozlak was called for hooking at 3:11 in the third. This time UConn connected as Norris scored his second of the weekend and what proved to be the game-winner.
Harris collected a loose puck behind the net and fed classmate Billy Latta (West Chester, Pa.) out front. Latta faked a shot and put the puck on Norris’s tape just inside the right circle where he slid it under Gahagen’s glove for a 2-0 lead at 3:34.
Army pulled Gahagen in the closing minutes and cut the Husky lead to 2-1 at 18:28 with the extra skater. Brian Schultz dug a puck out on the boards and fed Mac Lalor at the blue line. Lalor fired through traffic but the puck was blocked in front. Josh Roberts was sitting on the doorstep and stuffed the loose puck past Nichols to cut it to 2-1.
The Black Knights kept the pressure on in the final minute but Nichols and the Husky defense held as a loose puck was collected by Harris near mid ice, feeding Kirtland for the empty net goal with two seconds left to produce the 3-1 final. It was Kirtland’s second of the weekend and fifth on the season.
UConn held a slim 30-28 edge on shots and finished 1-for-5 on the power play. The Huskies killed off all three of Army’s power play chances.
The Huskies will close out the regular season next weekend with a pair of games at in-state rival Sacred Heart. The puck drops at 7:05 on Friday night and 5:05 on Saturday afternoon.