March 14, 2014
STORRS, Conn. - Robert Morris freshman netminder Dalton Izyk turned away all 33 shots he faced Friday night to help deliver a 3-0 win over the UConn Huskies in game one of the best of three Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinal series from the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Colonials take a 1-0 lead in the series and improve to 16-17-5 on the year. The Huskies fall to 18-13-4 and will look to stave off elimination Saturday night.
UConn freshman Robby Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 31 saves in taking just his second loss of the season. Izyk stepped in for injured goaltender Terry Shafer, making his first start since an early December game. The rookie came in for Shafer in the second period of last week's clinching win over Army in the first round and since then has made 48 saves without allowing a goal.
The Huskies put solid pressure on Izyk in the opening period, outshooting the Colonials 13-8. UConn got their best look on their first power-play, coming at 19:13 when RMU was called for too many men on the ice. A deflected shot left a loose puck in open space for and sophomore Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) collected and had a one-on-one look with the goaltender. The sophomore let fire but saw his shot ring the far post and the two teams went to the first intermission scoreless.
The two teams looked headed for a scoreless second period as well before the Colonials struck just before the end of the period to grab a 1-0 lead. R-Senior defenseman Andrew Blazek let a shot rip from the point that Nichols looked to have stopped clean. The puck came loose behind the rookie netminder, trickling toward the goal line before a hard charging Jeff Jones swooped in to stuff it home for his ninth of the season.
Robert Morris tacked on two more in the third period while killing off three UConn power play opportunities over the final 20 minutes. The Huskies started both the second and third periods with an extra skater but came up empty on both chances. Junior Cody Wydo gave RMU a 2-0 lead at the 6:53 mark, scoring his 26th goal of the season. Wydo collected a puck along the left boards and swung toward mid ice, lofting a wrister on net from the circle that knuckled over Nichols left shoulder, top-shelf.
Following the Wydo goal, UConn went on the power play at 11:02 and again at 14:16, but managed just one shot on goal combined on the two chances. The Colonials tacked on a late goal at 18:18 as Brandon Denham chipped one top-shelf at the right post off a feed from Greg Gibson for his 11th of the season and a commanding 3-0 lead.
The Huskies finished 0-for-4 on the power play in the loss, getting just three shots on goal combined with the extra skater. UConn's struggles on the power play continued as they are now 4-for-47 on the power play since February 1st.
The two teams will hit the ice for game two Saturday night from Freitas Ice Forum. Game time is 7:05 pm. The Huskies will need a win to extend the series to a deciding game three Sunday night.