HARTFORD, Conn. - Senior captain Sean Ambrosie notched the game-winning goal in overtime and the University of Connecticut men's hockey team earned a 3-2 victory over defending Atlantic Hockey Champions Air Force on Saturday at the XL Center in Hartford, Conn.
For the first time in program history, UConn swept the Air Force Falcons 2-0. Coming into the weekend, Connecticut stood at just 4-20-4 all-time against the Falcons. Air Force had been swept in a season series by an AHA team just four times since joining the AHA in 2006-07. UConn lost to Air Force 2-1 in a best-of-three series in the AHA Quarterfinals last year at Air Force.
Just 35 seconds into overtime, Sean Ambrosie put home a rebound goal to give Connecticut the weekend sweep. Ambrosie has now tallied a goal and an assist three times this season against the nation's elite programs; 2-2 tie with Union, 3-1 victory at Merrimack.
"This is a huge two games for us," said Ambrosie. "We've never swept them and they are the defending champions. They're a very good program. We have a lot of momentum now and we have to get back and prepare for the next weekend."
Connecticut improved to 4-5-1 (3-4-0 AHA) while Air Force dropped to 3-6-3 (2-3-1 AHA). UConn downed the Falcons in Storrs on Friday, 2-1.
"As soon as our teammates on the bench see each other getting involved physically with the other team, that gets everyone going," added Ambrosie. "I just keep telling the guys to stick to the systems we're running. We've gotta stay disciplined, stay out of the penalty box and stick to the game plan."
UConn had a 1-0 lead, only for Air Force to tally the next two. The Huskies evened in the third period, forcing overtime before Ambrosie gave the Huskies the victory just 35 seconds into the extra period. UConn outshot Air Force, 39-24.
Connecticut dominated the action in the first period and opened the scoring for the third straight game. At 10:23, sophomore Trevor Gerling finished a rebound on the right hash mark after a shot from senior Evan Carriere. Freshman Shawn Pauly started the play, finding Carriere at the left face-off circle with a pass from the left side of the net.
Air Force evened the score at 17:46 with an unassisted goal by Ryan Timar. Timar picked the pocket of a UConn defenseman and beat Bartus low from the right side to even the score at 1-1.
After one period, UConn held a 13-4 edge in shots.
Air Force picked up the pressure in the second period and outshot the Huskies, 15-8. Bartus made an excellent save on Kyle DeLaurell from the top of the crease at 7:43 when DeLaurell found space in the slot and took a pass from behind the net for the open attempt.
The Huskies had a chance at 11:40 forcing two stops from Torf from close range. Brant Harris fired a wrist shot from the slot. Freshman Kyle Huson collected the rebound but had his back-handed attempt saved from a tight angle on the right side of the cage.
The Falcons went ahead, 2-1, with a short-handed goal by Eric Artman, his first of the season. Jason Fabian skated into the zone and fired a shot from the high slot that was saved by Bartus. Artman outraced a UConn defenseman and poked home the loose rebound on the left side.
Connecticut sophomore forward Cody Sharib evened at 2-2 with a wrap-around finished at the right post at 3:04 of the third period, his third goal of the year. Ambrosie assisted on the play.
Senior goaltender Garrett Bartus finished with 22 saves while Air Force netminder Jason Torf stopped 26 shots, including 15 in the third period.
The Huskies will continue their nine-game home stand with two against Canisius on Friday and Saturday, November 23 and 24. Both games begin at 7:05 p.m. and can be seen at UConnhuskies.com.