HARTFORD, Conn. – UConn senior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) scored a goal and notched an assist while sophomore goaltender stopped all 29 shots he faced to lead the Huskies to a 4-0 win over the University of Massachusetts Friday night in front of 6,298 fans at the XL Center in the regular season finale for both teams. The Huskies finish the regular season at 10-17-7 overall and 7-11-4 in Hockey East and will be either the #9 seed or #10 seed in the playoffs.
Prior to Friday night’s game, the Huskies honored their six graduating seniors in captain Ryan Tyson (Harleysville, Pa.), Gerling, Jacob Poe (Arlingon, Texas), Cody Sharib (Needham, Mass.), Brad Smith (Trenton, Mich.) and Tom Comunale (Seven Fields, Pa.) who were playing the final home game of their careers.
Gerling and classmate Sharib both found the back of the net on “Senior Night” while Tyson and Poe both picked up assists. Nichols picked-up his fourth shutout of the season, all coming at home in the XL Center.
For the first time in four games, the Huskies scored the game’s first goal and grabbed an early lead. Gerling carried the puck up the right wing through the neutral zone and fed junior Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) bursting into the slot. Pauly was able to walk in and beat UMass goaltender Steve Mastalerz one-on-one with a nice move stick side for a 1-0 lead at 8:38.
The Huskies made it 2-0 at 13:33 as junior Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) picked up his fourth goal on the year, ending a streak of 17-straight games without a goal. Freshman Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) caused a turnover behind the net on the forecheck and chipped a pass out front to a waiting Kirtland who buried a one-timer past Mastalerz for a 2-0 lead.
UConn finished the first period with a 13-3 edge on shots and kept the offensive pressure on in the second period, grabbing a 3-0 lead at 6:49 on Gerling’s 11th of the season. The senior broke up the left wing and looked to just get the puck to the net. Gerling threw a back-handed shot on net that beat Mastalerz to the short side, right post. Freshman Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) picked-up an assist on the play. The Minutemen lifted Mastalerz after the Gerling goal, going to back-up Henry Dill.
Sharib closed out the UConn scoring midway through the third period, scoring his seventh on the season. Junior Joey Ferriss (Novi, Mich.) worked a nice give and go with Sharib who broke to the net and slid a shot past Dill through the five-hole to make it 4-0 with 9:48 left and putting the finishing touches on the shutout win.
The Huskies finished the night with a 32-29 edge on shots and also killed off all six UMass power play chances.
UConn will await the results of Saturday’s Hockey East slate of games to find out their seeding and where they will travel to for the first round of the playoffs. The opening round is a best of three series that will take place next weekend, March 6th-8th.
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