Oct. 27, 2011
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STORRS, Conn. - The UConn men's hockey squad hosted the 2011 home opener at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum tonight in Storrs and came away with a 4-2 victory over AHA rival Holy Cross. Sophomore Billy Latta put home the game-winning goal and Garrett Bartus stopped 26 shots to earn the victory.
With the win UConn improves to 3-2-1 (2-0-0 AHA) while Holy Cross drops to 2-2-0 (1-1-0 AHA).
In a game which UConn took the lead twice, only to have the Crusaders answer back within two minutes each time, the Huskies grinded out the victory to become 2-0 in league play for the second straight season.
"I thought all four lines played well tonight. That fourth line with (Corey) Jendras and (Joe) Budnick skated strong all night, had a solid fore-check going and created some good chances," said UConn head coach Bruce Marshall.
Latta was the hero tonight for UConn in a game that had four players score for Connecticut.
Eight minutes into the third period, a strong fore-check caused a turnover at the Holy Cross blue line. Latta collected the puck in the high slot, faked a shot and beat Holy Cross netminder Matt Ginn over the right shoulder and into the left side of the net.
"We work at practice on creating turnovers. We want to stop them at the blue line. Hopefully they ice it or they turn it over. I got my stick on the puck and had a pretty clear lane towards the net," said Latta.
Latta finished the day with two points on a goal and an assist.
"That's what Billy can do. He has that ability to score from deep. He can shake and bake in the offensive zone. He has knack for those goals," said Marshall.
Cole Schneider notched an empty-net goal to ice the game with just 44 seconds remaining.
The Huskies opened the scoring with a power-play goal from sophomore Brant Harris at 15:42. Harris, UConn's leading scorer on the season, banked a shot off the back of Ginn's right leg to go up 1-0. Harris took passes from Latta and junior Sean Ambrosie on the goal.
Holy Cross responded quickly with a goal just 1:12 later. Adam Schmidt finished from up close on the right side with assists going to Matthew Davis and Shayne Stockton.
With much of the action taking place in the neutral zone, Holy Cross held a slight edge in shots on goal, 4-3, after 20 minutes.
The Huskies took the lead for the second time on freshman Cody Sharib's second goal of the season 5:01 into the second period. Freshman Kevin Tuohy sent a pass from the right point to Miles Winter in the slot. Winter touched a pass over to Sharib who beat Ginn from the right side.
Once again, the Crusaders wasted little time with the equalizer. Brandon Nunn one-timed a shot from the slot at 5:53 after passes from Rob Linsmayer and Andrew Cox.
Connecticut looked to take a 3-2 lead but Ginn came up with an incredible reflex save at 14:15. With Ginn positioned in the left side of the crease, Alex Gerke took a cross-ice pass and blasted a one-timer from the bottom of the left face-off circle. Ginn slid across the crease to rob Gerke of the go-ahead goal.
Holy Cross outshot Connecticut, 11-9, in the second for a 15-12 edge after two periods. The two teams went into the locker room with the score deadlocked at 2-2.
Bartus and the UConn defense stoned Holy Cross throughout an up-and-down third period. Bartus made a pair of stops from up close in the final minute. Schneider outraced a pair of defenders at the UConn blue line to secure the victory with the empty-netter at 19:16.
UConn will be in action next when it hosts Army on Saturday, October 29 beginning at 7:05 p.m.