March 1, 2014
MILFORD, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team closed out the regular season on Saturday afternoon, falling to the Sacred Heart Pioneers, 2-1, at the Milford Ice Pavilion. The Huskies finish the regular season 18-12-4 overall and 15-9-3 in Atlantic Hockey. UConn will be the #4 seed and have a bye in the first round of the AHA Playoffs.
The Huskies struggles on the power play continued on Saturday afternoon, finishing 0-for-5 with the extra skater while managing just two shots on goal. The Pioneers went 1-for-5 with the extra skater with Drew George getting the game-winner on a second period power play opportunity.
The Pioneers (12-22-0, 11-16-0 AHA) jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 3:20 into play on a great individual effort by Evan Jasper. UConn won a face-off in their own zone but Jasper quickly stole the puck and walked right in on Husky goaltender Matt Grogan (Gilbert, Ariz.), beating the senior for his sixth of the season.
Sacred Heart pushed their lead to 2-0 at 6:22 in the second. The Pioneers went on the power play for the second time when junior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) was called for interference at 4:46. The Pioneers got four shots on goal before George finished off a feed from Justin Danforth at the left post for his team-leading 12th goal of the season.
UConn ended Alex Vazzano’s shutout bid at 14:59 in the second period on a freshman Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) goal, his ninth goal of the season. The Huskies top-line put solid pressure on Vazzano with sophomore Patrick Kirtland (Cary, N.C.) getting stopped right on the doorstep. Senior Brant Harris (Estevan, Saskatchewan) also got a stick on the puck in close before Norris was able to finish off a loose-puck rebound to cut the lead in half.
That would be all the UConn offense could put together on the night as Sacred Heart held the Huskies to five shots in the final period while killing off a pair of penalties in the final stanza. Vazzano made 25 saves to earn the win.
Grogan finished the night with 27 saves in taking the loss. SHU held a 29-26 edge on shots.
The Huskies will host a best-of-three Atlantic Hockey Quarterfinal Playoff Series at the Freitas Ice Forum on March 14th-16th.