STORRS, Conn (Oct. 24, 2008) – In its opening series at home and first Atlantic Hockey game of the season, the University of Connecticut men’s ice hockey team (1-2-0, 1-0-0 Atlantic Hockey) won 4-3 over Army (0-2-0, 0-1-0 Atlantic Hockey) on Friday night at Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum.
UConn had a 3-0 lead entering the third period when the Black Knights rallied back and cut the deficit within one-goal (4-3). With less than a minute remaining in regulation Army’s Owen Meyer found the back of the net for a shorthanded goal to bring the Black Knights to within one of tying the game.
Sophomore Jason Krispel (Cypress, Calif.) won a pair of critical face offs to regain possession for the home team while the Huskies’ defense blocked Army’s lone attempt to tie it as the clock expired.
In the first period, junior Michael Coppola (Old Brookville, N.Y.) capitalized on the Huskies’ second power play of the game. Redshirt-freshman Chris Waterstradt (Tulsa, Okla.) made the pass from just inside the blue line to a waiting sophomore Jeff Sapieha (Calgary, Alberta) who fed the puck to Coppola in front of the Army net. Coppola’s shot trickled past Josh Kassel at 15:42 in the first period.
Junior Beau Erickson (Hinton, Iowa) made a glove save on Army’s Will Ryan with less than two minutes remaining in the period to preserve the 1-0 UConn lead. Erickson stopped all 12 Army shots in the first twenty minutes of play while the Huskies’ penalty killing team allowed the Black Knights just three shots on goal in three power-play opportunities.
Coppola’s short handed scoring attempt around the eighth minute of play during the second period hit the pipe as the Huskies effectively killed Army’s fifth power play of the night just 28 minutes into the game.
At the very end of the previous Army power play, the Huskies scored a second goal as freshman Marcello Ranallo (Burnaby, British Columbia) went over the shoulder of the Army netminder and UConn claimed a two-goal advantage at 8:26 in the second period. Later in the period, Waterstradt shot from the point hit the back of the net for the 3-0 Husky lead with just under six minutes remaining in the second period.
A scramble in front of the UConn net resulted in Army’s first goal of the game less than six minutes into the final period of regulation. Mike Hall scored for the Black Knights while Scott Warner and Bryant Skarda had the assists. The Huskies continued to lead 3-1.
The Huskies escaped a four on six situation, but the Black Knights scored twice as the final period of regulation winded down including a short-handed goal cutting the UConn lead to one. The Black Knights pulled their goalie with 46 seconds remaining in the third period but were unable to get the puck past Erickson and UConn hung on to claim the 4-3 victory over their Atlantic Conference foe.
Erickson finished the game with 39 saves, just six shy of his career high of 45 which he recorded last season against Army. The Huskies, scored the four goals on just 19 shots. It took Army 35 shots to record their first goal of the night.
The Huskies return to action with the second game in their series against Army on Saturday, Oct. 25. Face-off is set for 7:05 p.m.