STORRS, Conn. (December 29, 2008) - In their first game against a ranked opponent during the 2008-09 season, the University of Connecticut men’s hockey team used a penalty shot and second period goal to cut into a 2-0 Air Force lead and finish with a tie against the No. 11 ranked Falcons after an overtime period.
The Huskies (4-11-1, 3-5-1) cut the Air Force (14-2-1, 11-1-1) lead in half when freshman Pat McAuley (Mt. Sinai, N.Y.) capitalized on his penalty shot opportunity during the end of the first period. They were able to tie the game up early into the second period and used their strong Husky defense to help finish out the game handing Air Force their first tie of the season.
Because the game was a part of the first round of the Toyota UConn Classic, there needed to be a winner to move onto the championship game on December 30. After the end of the overtime period, both the Falcons and the Huskies partook in a shootout where Air Force just beat UConn with a score of 2-1 to move into the championship match where they will face Quinnipiac, the winner of game one at 7:15 p.m. UConn will face off against Merrimack in the consolation round match at 4:00 p.m.
Early into the first period, Air Force jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Jacques Lamoureux scored his 13th goal of the season on an early power play opportunity. Later into the first period, Scott Mathis blasted a slap shot past junior Beau Erickson (Hinton, Iowa) from the top point of the left circle. But after a hooking call on Air Force’s Greg Flynn, McAuley was awarded a penalty shot and capitalized on his opportunity cutting the Air Force lead in half. The penalty shot was the first of the season for the Huskies. The goal was the third of the season for McAuley, all of which have come against Atlantic Hockey opponents.
During the second period, UConn erased the Falcons’ lead completely when freshman Dan Naurato (Northville, Mich.) scored his second goal of the season on a quick shot off of a faceoff. The goal was the first for Naurato since October 25 when he scored a breakaway goal in UConn’s 6-3 rout of Army. Sophomore Jeff Sapieha (Calgary, Alberta) got the quick pass to Naurato as he tacked on his fourth assist of the season.
UConn used its strong defense to hold off the many Air Force attacks and keep the game knotted at two for the remainder of the regulation and overtime periods. Erickson finished the night with 31 saves.
The Huskies are back in action on December 30 at 4:00 p.m. in a battle for the third place in the Toyota UConn Classic against Merrimack.
1. Air Force Jacques Lamoureux Good
2. UConn Michael Coppola No Good
3. Air Force Jeff Hajner No Good
4. UConn Andrew Olson Good
5. Air Force Brent Olson Good
6. UConn Pat McAuley No Good