Oct. 27, 2012
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men's hockey team battled for a 2-2 tie against No. 8 Union in the 2012 home opener at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs on Saturday night. UConn goes to 0-2-1 (0-1-0 AHA) while Union stands at 3-1-1 (0-0-0 ECAC).
"Our guys gave it their all tonight," said Marshall. "They were blocking shots and doing the dirty work. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win the game."
"I thought we played one of the best team games I've seen in the four years that I've been here," said senior captain Sean Ambrosie. "It's a big momentum game for us, especially after losing two in a row to start the season."
UConn's top line of Sean Ambrosie, Jordan Sims and Brant Harris combined for all three goals. Sims notched two assists while Ambrosie and Harris each tallied a goal and an assist. Senior goaltender Garrett Bartus finished with 39 saves on the night and 73 on the weekend after making 34 stops in a 2-1 loss at Holy Cross on Friday night.
Saturday was the first time that UConn has hosted a team that competed in the Frozen Four in the previous season. The contest featured two of the top goaltenders in the nation as Garrett Bartus led the NCAA in saves last season and set a UConn record with a 2.55 goals against average. Union's Troy Grosenick ranked second in the nation with a 1.65 goals against average in 2011-12.
Connecticut rallied from 1-0 down to take a 2-1 lead early in the third period. The Dutchmen outshot UConn in the third, 22-5, and found the equalizer at 13:47 of the third period off the stick of Greg Coburn.
Connecticut outshot Union in the first period, 8-4. The Huskies had several chances in the first 20 minutes but failed to capitalize and had missed shots in the slot from Billy Latta, Brant Harris and Shawn Pauly.
Connecticut's first chance of the period was its best. Ryan Tyson had a shot saved just 20 seconds into the game. Brant Harris had a follow up on the left doorstep then was shot wide with the backhand.
UConn had another near-miss on the power play at 8:34. Pauly sent a cross-ice pass to Cody Sharib at the bottom of the right face-off circle. Sharib went for the one-timer into the open right side of the net but a Union defenseman just tipped it away, forcing a mishit from Sharib.
Union finished the 2011-12 season ranked No. 4 in the NCAA at 24.2-percent on the power play and capitalized on a man-advantage at 4:36 of the second period. Kyle Bodie had a shot from the right point blocked by a UConn defenseman. The rebound came straight to Wayne Simpson at the bottom of the left face-off circle who one-timed home past Bartus to make it 1-0.
Connecticut equalized at 15:50 on Ambrosie's first tally of the season. Jordan Sims skated into the neutral zone and fired a shot from the high slot that was saved by Grosenick. Ambrosie crashed the net and had the puck bounce off his chest and into the cage to make it 1-1.
After two periods, Union held an 18-15 edge in shots.
Union had the majority of the action in the third but the Huskies took a 2-1 lead on Brant Harris' first goal of the season at 7:45. The Huskies cycled the puck behind the net with Ambrosie, Sims and Harris. Harris eventually took possession on the left side of the net and beat Grosenick through the five-hole.
Union responded at 13:47 with Coburn's game-tying goal. Josh Jooris won a faceoff at the left dot in the UConn zone back to Coburn in the slot. Coburn snapped a wrist shot that beat Bartus over the right shoulder to make it 2-2.
Union had several chances to tie in the waning minutes but the Huskies made several blocks in their own end, two from point blank by junior assistant captain Billy Latta.
"That's what a team is right there," said Marshall. "Everyone made sacrifices for each other tonight. One guy does that and the other guys see it and do the same. That's what we want."
UConn will be in action next for a two-game series at Niagara beginning on Friday, November 2 at 7:05 p.m. Both games can be heard at WHUS.org. Fans can purchase a season pass for a live webstream of every game presented by America One at uconnhuskies.com