Dec. 6, 2013
STORRS, Conn. – University of Connecticut sophomore Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) scored a goal and set-up the game-winner as the Huskies came away with a 3-2 win over Niagara in the opening game of an Atlantic Hockey Association series Friday night in the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. Junior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) scored on the power play at 5:38 in the third to provide the game-winner as UConn improves to 4-2-1 in the AHA.
The Huskies (5-5-2, 4-2-1 AHA) came into Friday night’s team as the least penalized team in the nation (7.0 pim/g) but were whistled for eight penalties on the evening. The UConn special teams were up to the task, killing off all eight Niagara power play chances while putting one home with the extra skater in the third.
Niagara (3-10-1, 3-3-1 AHA) held a 32-29 edge on shots but UConn goaltender Matt Grogan (Gilbert, Ariz.) made 30 saves to earn the win. The Huskies buried a goal in each period Friday night, starting with senior Jordan Sims (Toronto, Ontario) third of the season at 14:32 of the first.
Sophomore Joey Ferriss (Novi, Mich.) dug the puck out of the corner and got it to senior Billy Latta (West Chester, Pa.) who started to carry the puck behind the net. Latta read Niagara goaltender Adrian Ignagni perfectly, as the netminder pulled off the post; he flipped a pass back to Sims waiting for an easy short side, empty net goal.
The Purple Eagles tied the game at 1-1 at 12:49 in the second as Phil Nasca won a battle in front of the net for his first goal of the season. Brock Edwards looked for a wrap-around but was denied while Nasca chopped away until stuffing one home to knot the game.
UConn answered back and pulled back in front for good at 16:49 on Pauly’s fourth of the season. Freshman Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) ripped a blast that beat Ignagi but hit the post. The puck deflected off the back of Ignagi where Pauly was waiting at the right post to knock it home for a 2-1 lead.
Pauly would set up the Huskies final goal and just before a power play was set to expire. The sophomore forward put a perfect pass on the tape of Gerling at the left post who buried it with two seconds to spare on the power play for a 3-1 lead.
It looked as the Huskies would skate out with a 3-1 victory with Niagara’s Ryan Rashid being called for interference at 18:12. The Purple Eagles kept the pressure on offensively and netted a short handed goal at 19:03 with Kevin Ryan scoring his third of the season. Niagara would get one final attempt to tie in the waning seconds as Pauly was whistled for a closed hand on the puck at 1.9 seconds but a shot off the ensuing face-off went wide securing the UConn win.
The Huskies will look for the AHA series sweep on Saturday afternoon when they again play host to the Purple Eagles. The puck will drop at 4:05 pm at Freitas Ice Forum. Fans can listen to all the action live on WHUS 91.7 FM.