Jan. 2, 2014
The University of Connecticut rings in the new year with a pair of Atlantic Hockey games this weekend with the RIT Tigers at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum. The Huskies begin the 2014 portion of their schedule with back-to-back home series with RIT and Robert Morris. The Huskies are fresh off a 1-1 showing in the 21st Annual UConn Hockey Classic where they dropped an AHA match-up with Sacred Heart, 3-0, but rebounded for a 2-1 win over futur Hockey East foe Massachusetts in the consolation game. The RIT Tigers have been off since skating to a 2-2 tie with Niagara on December 14th. The Huskies and Tigers are both tied with Air Force for third place in the AHA standings, all with 11 points on the year.
UConn vs. RIT All-Time Series... The Huskies are 8-19-1 all-time against RIT and 6-14-1 since the beginning of the Division I era in 1998-99. Over the last 10 meetings, the Tigers are 8-2-0 against the Huskies. The two teams split their two meetings in Rochester, N.Y. last season with UConn winning game one 2-1 and the Tigers rebounding for a 7-1 win in game two. The Huskies and Tigers have met twice in the Atlantic Hockey postseason with RIT ending UConn’s season on both occasions. RIT swept the Huskies in the 2010 AHA Quarterfinals on their way to a league title and trip to the Frozen Four and then knocked them out again in 2011, this time in the AHA Semifinals.
On Tap… UConn will welcome the Robert Morris Colonials to Freitas Ice Forum on Thursday, January 9th and Friday, January 10th.
- UConn is 2-1-1 this season against the AHA’s western teams (Air Force, Canisius, Mercyhurst, Niagara, RIT, Robert Morris). After hosting the Tigers and Robert Morris next week, the Huskies have trips to Mercyhurst and Air Force left on the schedule. UConn was 7-8-0 against the six western schools last season.
- Freshman goaltender Robby Nichols was named AHA Rookie of the Week this week.
- Senior Billy Latta has four power play goals this season, tied for sixth in the AHA.
- Of the Huskies 35 goals in 2013-14, 12 have come on the power play. The UConn power play unit (12-58/.207) ranks 5th in the league.
- The UConn penalty kill has improved to second among AHA leaders and tied for 22nd in the country at .833 (40-48) percent. The Huskies have killed off the last 18 power plays and haven’t allowed a power play goal since a 2-2 tie at Canisius on Nov. 30th.
- The Huskies continue to boast the stingiest defense in the league allowing just 2.47 goals per game.
- Senior Brant Harris is closing in on becoming the 27th player at UConn to reach the 100-point mark for his career. Harris now has 92 career points (44g/48a) as he looks to become the 6th player at the Division I level to reach the mark.
Last Time Out… The Huskies hosted the 21st Annual UConn Hockey Classic at the XL Center in downtown Hartford on December 29th and 30th. UConn dropped their opening game in the tournament to Sacred Heart, 3-0, in an AHA match-up. The Huskies were shutout for the second time this season, failing to advance to the tournament championship game for the first time in four years. UConn rebounded on day two with a win over future Hockey East rival UMass, 2-1, in the consolation game. The two teams skated to scoreless tie through the first two periods before UConn’s Ryan Tyson lit the lamp 26 seconds in to the third period. UMass tied it at 9:12 on a Steven Guzzo goal but the Huskies found some power play magic late to win it. Senior Billy Latta blasted a one-timer past Steve Mastalerz with 5:04 left for his fourth power play goal of the season and his second game-winner. Freshman Robby Nichols made his third career start and turned away 37 shots to earn the win.
Scouting the Tigers… The RIT Tigers return to the ice after a 19-day break but come to Storrs riding a six-game unbeaten streak. The Tigers were last in action on December 14th when they skated to a 2-2 tie with Niagara in the 2013 Greater Rochester Frozen Frontier. The game was held outdoors at a snowy Fronteir Field in Downtown Rochester, the home of the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple A baseball affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. The Tigers have been riding freshman goaltender Mike Rotolo on their current unbeaten streak. Rotolo has started the last six games and posted a 1.97 goals against and .937 save percdentage in winning his first five collegiate starts. Fellow rookie Todd Skirving is tied with Sacred Heart’s Justin Danforth for the AHA freshman scoring lead with 13 points on five goals and eight assists. The Tigers own the league’s top power play, converting 25.7 percent (19/74) with the extra skater, and are led by senior Mike Colavecchia who has 11 power play points this season. Five of Colavecchia’s team-leading seven goals this season have come on the power play.
Last Meeting with RIT… The Huskies and RIT split their two meetings in Rochester last season. UConn opened the series with a 3-1 win behind 34 saves from goaltender Matt Grogan. Trevor Gerling scored the game-winning goal and also picked up an assist in the win. Defensman Tyler Cooke recorded his first collegiate goal in the win. In game two, the Tigers answered back with a dominate 7-1 win. After a scoreless first period, RIT put four-straight on the board in the second to take control of the game. Seven different players scored in the win with Anthony Hamburg posting a goal and two assists. Jordan Sims had the lone Husky goal in the loss.
Nichols Named Atlantic Hockey Rookie of the Week... Freshman goaltender Robby Nichols was named the Atlantic Hockey Association Travel Team USA Rookie of the Week this week for his efforts in the Huskies 2-1 win over UMass. It is the first league honor for Nichols and the first AHA weekly award for any Husky this season. In his third start this season, Nichols led UConn to a 2-1 win over the Minutemen in the 2013 UConn Hockey Classic. Nichols turned away a season-high 37 shots to post his second victory of the season and stay unbeaten at 2-0-1. Nichols made 19 of his 37 stops in the first period to keep the game scoreless and notched 11 saves in the third to preserve the victory. On the year, the rookie goaltender sports a 1.62 goals against and a .944 save percentage over his three appearances.