March 15, 2014
STORRS, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team saw their 2013-14 season come to an end Saturday night with a 3-2 loss to Robert Morris as the Colonials win the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinal match-up, 2-0, in Storrs and move on to the semifinals next weekend in Rochester, N.Y. The Huskies finish their final season in Atlantic Hockey with an 18-14-4 overall record as they get ready to open play in Hockey East next year.
UConn grabbed a 2-1 lead in the second period thanks to goals by sophomore Tyler Cooke (Warwick, R.I.) and junior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) but couldn’t hold off the Colonials who tied the game just 24 seconds later. All five goals in the game were scored in the second period as RMU got the game-winner off the stick of freshman Ben Robillard at 12:35.
RMU rookie netminder Dalton Izyk picked-up the win in goal thanks to 36 saves, 16 coming in the third period as he and the Colonials held off an offensive blitz by the Huskies. Senior Matt Grogan (Gilbert, Ariz.) closed his Husky career with 29 saves in net taking the loss. Grogan ended the season with a 10-12-2 mark.
For the second-straight night, UConn and Robert Morris skated to a scoreless first period with the Huskies holding an 11-9 edge on shots. The Colonials got the first power play opportunity of the night just 1:07 into the second period and picked-up the game’s first goal. Sophomore Zac Lynch took a pass in the slot from junior Cody Wydo and took a stride in front before burying a wrister top-shelf, glove side for a 1-0 lead at 2:35.
The Huskies finally solved Izyk in the second period, striking for a pair of goals to take their only lead in the series. Cooke picked a perfect time to score his first goal of 2013-14 and also end a 44-game streak without finding the back of the net. Junior Ryan Tyson (Harleysville, Pa.) won a draw in the RMU zone and sophomore Joey Ferriss (Novi, Mich.) played the puck back to Cooke at the point. The sophomore defenseman let one rip through traffic, clipping the pipe on its way past Izyk to tie it at 1-1 at 4:41.
UConn grabbed the lead at 7:18 when Gerling picked-up his ninth of the season. Gerling, who moved from his forward position to defense in this series, took a pass from freshman Brett Skibba (Verona, Wisc.) at the blue line and weaved a slap shot through traffic that beat Izyk at the left post for a 2-1 lead
The one-goal lead lasted just 24 seconds before Robert Morris found the equalizer. Sophomore Greg Gibson sent classmate Evan Moore into the UConn zone along the left boards. Moore used a nifty move to dance past an UConn defender and skate in beating Grogan top-shelf, glove side, to knot the game a 2-2.
Robert Morris closed out the five-goal second with the game-winner coming at 12:35. Defenseman Chase Golightly cleared the puck out of the RMU zone, feeding David Rigatti at center ice. Rigatti played it to Ben Robillard along the right boards and the freshman flipped a wrist shot on net that fooled Grogan, finding its way into the back of the net over the netminder’s blocker for a 3-2 lead.
The Huskies had a pair of power plays in the third period and threw everything they had at Izyk but couldn’t find the equalizer. After Moore was called for boarding at 13:19, the Huskies got five shots on goal but Izyk stopped everything to keep the lead at one. UConn pulled Grogan with 1:17 left for the extra skater but couldn’t find pay dirt as the Colonials cleared the puck one final time at the horn to seal the win.
UConn held a 38-32 edge on shots and dominated on face-offs, winning 44 of 62.
Saturday night’s loss marked the end of the UConn careers for seniors Grogan, Billy Latta (West Chester, Pa.), Brant Harris (Estevan, Saskatchewan) and Jordan Sims (Toronto, Ontario). The foursome put together the best four-year stretch during the program’s Division I era (1998-present), piling up 68 total wins.