STORR, Conn. – The University of Connecticut men’s ice hockey team tied Sacred Heart, 4-4, in Atlantic Hockey action on Friday night in front of 1,438 at the Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies head into the regular season finale at 16-13-4 overall and 13-10-3 in league play, while the Pioneers are 2-27-4 and 2-20-4.
SHU scored the first two goals of the game before UConn got on the board and rattled off four straight to go up 4-2. In the third period, the Pioneers mounted a comeback on goals by sophomore Chad Barthelmess and senior Eric DeLong. Delong’s goal came with 2:20 left on the clock and on a shorthanded opportunity. Barthelmess was penalized for hitting from behind and issued a game misconduct.
The two teams played a scoreless five minutes of overtime with each side registering three shots.
Less than a minute into the game, SHU went up 1-0 on a goal by sophomore Drew George, his fifth of the season. George went in one-on-one with UConn senior goaltender Matt Grogan (Gilbert, Ariz.) after forcing a turnover at the blue line.
Connecticut nearly tied the game on a shorthanded opportunity over eight minutes in when senior Sean Ambrosie (Moorhead, Minn.) skated through a pair of defenders and flipped a backhand shot on net, but was turned away by Sacred Heart sophomore Andrew Bodnarchuk.
The Pioneers added to their lead at the 14:11 mark as sophomore Nick Curry sent a pass from the backboards to classmate Ben Lake on the left side of the net for the shot, resulting in his sixth of the season. The Huskies turned up the energy in the last minutes of the period and lit the lamp at 18:30. Junior Brant Harris (Estevan, Sask.), who was named the conference’s Player of the Month earlier this week, passed to classmate Billy Latta (West Chester, Pa.), who sent it back to Harris for a shot buried into the back of the net for his 14th of the season.
UConn tied the score at two midway through the second period on a goal by freshman Skyler Smutek (Seattle, Wash.). Heripped a shot from the right point that was deflected in the slot by a defenseman and sent into the back of the net for his sixth of the season. With less than two minutes to go in the frame, the Huskies went on their fifth power play of the night and capitalized to take their first lead. Sophomore Cody Sharib (Needham, Mass.), assisted by classmate Jacob Poe (Arlington, Texas), posted his eighth of the season with a shot from the left side.
Connecticut added to its lead with a power play score from Ambrosie just 1:25 into the third, assisted by junior Jordan Sims (Fort Wayne, Ind.) and Latta.
Grogan finished the game with 18 saves, while Bodnarchuk had 34 for the Pioneers as UConn outshot SHU 38-22.
Sacred Heart racked up 31 penalty minutes on 10 penalties and Connecticut had six penalties for 12 minutes. The Huskies went 2-for-9 on the power play and killed off each of the Pioneers four chances, despite giving up a shorthanded goal.
The two teams play again tomorrow in the final game before the AHA playoffs at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport at 4:00 pm.