Feb. 26, 2014
The UConn Huskies enter the final weekend of the regular season tied for third place in the Atlantic Hockey standings as they travel to instate rival Sacred Heart for a weekend set. The Huskies can finish as high as second place and as low as fifth heading into the AHA postseason. UConn can assure themselves of a first round bye with three points on the weekend. The Pioneers sit in ninth place and are coming off a weekend sweep of second place Bentley. SHU can finish as high as eighth or as low as 11th in the final standings.
UConn vs. SHU All-Time Series... The Huskies lead the all-time series, 28-25-5. The two teams have split their two previous meetings this season with the Huskies winning a non-conference match-up, 4-2, at Freitas Ice Forum in November and Sacred Heart getting a 3-0 shutout win in the UConn Hockey Classic at the XL Center in December. After two seasons playing at the Webster Bank Arena, the series returns to the Milford Ice Pavilion for the first time since the 2010-11 campaign.
On Tap... The Huskies will move on to the Atlantic Hockey Association playoffs.
- Just two points separate second place and fifth place in the hunt for the final three first round byes. Mercyhurst has clinched the regular season title with 37 points. Bentley (32pts) is a point up on the Huskies (31pts) and Air Force (31pts) in second and Robert Morris is currently fifth (30pts).
- UConn is one AHA win shy of matching their highest league win total ever (15 - `06-'07).
- The senior class of Matt Grogan, Brant Harris, Billy Latta and Jordan Sims have amassed 67 wins and counting during their four years, the best four-year stretch in UConn's Division I era (1998-present). The previous best was the 1998-2002 stretch, 64 wins.
- Freshman Brent Norris has a goal in each of the last three games and leads all UConn rookies with 16 pts (8g/8a) and has 3 game-winners.
- Senior Billy Latta enters the final weekend with 96 career pts (39g/57a) as he looks to become the third Husky this season to reach 100 career pts.
- Senior Brant Harris had three assists in the Army series, becoming UConn's all-time Division I scoring leader (52g-57a-109p).
Atlantic Hockey Association Tie-Breakers...
1. Winning percentage head-to-head.
2. Conference wins.
3. Goal differential in head-to-head contests.
4. Goals allowed in head-to-head contests.
5. Winning percentage head-to-head against teams seeded 1 thru 12, starting with the No. 1 seed.
6. Goal differential in games against teams seeded 1 thru 12, starting with the No. 1 seed.
Last Time Out... For the fourth-straight weekend, the UConn Huskies split an AHA series. The Huskies opened their weekend set with Army falling at home, 4-3, then rebounding for a 3-1 win on the road the following night. On Friday, UConn honored their four seniors before the final regular season game at Freitas Ice Forum this season. The Huskies opened up a 2-0 lead on goals by Brent Norris and Shawn Pauly in the first period but Army stormed back to tie it at the first intermission. Trailing 3-2, UConn's Trevor Gerling knotted the game at the 11:40 mark of the second period to send the game to the final 20 minute session at three goals apiece. The Huskies were 16-0-1 on the year when leading or tied heading into the third period but Army ended that streak as C.J. Reuschlein scored a power play goal 2:18 into the third for the game-winner. The Huskies fired off a season-high 45 shots but Army freshman goaltender Parker Gahagen stood tall making 42 saves. On Saturday night, UConn jumped out to a 1-0 lead 3:40 in as Sean Gaffney scored his third of the season. The Husky lead grew to 2-0 at 3:34 in the third as Norris netted his second of the weekend. UConn withstood a late Army rally to rebound for a 3-1 win as freshman goaltender Robby Nichols turned away 27 shots to secure his seventh victory of the season.
Scouting the Pioneers... The Sacred Heart Pioneers are 4-3-0 in the month of February and coming off a weekend sweep of second place Bentley, 5-4 and 5-2. Junior Drew George and freshman Spencer Graboski were named the AHA Player and Rookie of the Week after combining for nine points in the wins over the Falcons. The Pioneers have a wealth of talented freshmen with three among the AHA's top-10 rookie scorers. Leading the way is Justin Danforth who is 16th in the league in scoring and second among rookies with 28 points (5g/23a). Danforth is eighth in the country among rookies in scoring this season. Classmates Jordan Minello and Jeff Carroll are tied for sixth among AHA newcomers with 20 points apiece. The Pioneers are the most penalized team in Atlantic Hockey, coming in to the weekend averaging 14.0 pim/gm. SHU ranks 11th on the penalty kill (.755) and have allowed the second most power play goals in the country this season at 39. On the power play, the Pioneers have scored 17 goals and convert at 12.6 (17-135) percent of their extra man opportunities.
Last Meeting with Sacred Heart... The Pioneers got 29 saves from Alex Vazzano as they earned their first shutout win in three seasons, beating the Huskies 3-0 in the UConn Hockey Classic at the XL Center. Sacred Heart struck for three goals in the second period, the first coming at the 3:00 mark when freshman Coltyn Hansen picked-up the game-winner and his first collegiate goal. Senior captain Chad Filteau made it 2-0 Sacred Heart at 12:31 and the Pioneers completed the second period trifecta at the 18:10 mark as junior Ben Lake buried his fourth of the season. Vazzano posted 14 of his 29 saves in the third period to keep the Huskies in check and preserve the shutout win. UConn senior Matt Grogan made 23 saves in taking the loss. In the first meeting this season, senior forward Billy Latta scored two of UConn's three power play goals to lift the Huskies to a 4-2 victory over Sacred Heart at home. UConn freshman goaltender Robby Nichols posted 30 saves in his debut for the Huskies.