March 12, 2014
For the second-consecutive season, the UConn Huskies will play host to the Robert Morris Colonials in an Atlantic Hockey Association quarterfinal series. The Huskies finished the regular season 15-9-3 to earn the #4 seed and a bye in the first round while also matching the program's best-ever AHA win total (2006-07). The Colonials finished with the #5 seed at 13-9-5 and advanced to the quarterfinals after beating #12 seed Army in three games last weekend. The Huskies are looking for their third trip to the Atlantic Hockey semifinals in the last four years. Robert Morris has never advanced to the league's championship weekend in their four seasons in the league.
On Tap... The winner moves on to the AHA Semifinals to be held for the eighth-straight season at the Blue Cross Arena in Rochester, N.Y.
UConn's 15 AHA wins matched their highest league win total ever (`06-'07) while their 18 overall wins is two shy of the program Division I record (20 - `98-'99).
The senior class of Matt Grogan, Brant Harris, Billy Latta and Jordan Sims have amassed 68 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 four of his last five games and is currently riding a streak of five-straight games with a point. Sophomore Patrick Kirtland has a five-game scoring streak as well heading into the postseason.
Senior Billy Latta enters the playoffs with 98 career pts (41g/57a) as he looks to become the third Husky this season to reach 100 career points.
The Huskies enter the playoffs with the stingiest defense in Atlantic Hockey, allowing just 2.35 goals per game. UConn ranks 14th in the nation in goals allowed per game.
UConn finished the regular season 5-5-0 in their last 10 games, splitting five-straight AHA series dating back to their sweep over AIC on Jan. 24th and 25th.
The UConn power play has struggled over the last month, converting just four of 43 chances since February 1st (.093). On the flip side, UConn has killed off 29 of 34 penalties during that span (.852).
Last Time Out... In the final AHA weekend of the regular season, UConn traveled to instate conference rival Sacred Heart and split a pair of games with the Pioneers at the Milford Ice Pavilion. In game one, the Pioneers held leads of 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 but couldn't hold off the Huskies in the closing minutes. Senior Billy Latta provided the game-tying goal with 37 seconds left in the third period and then scored the game-winner on the power play with 42 seconds left in overtime for a 4-3 UConn win, clinching a bye for the first round of the playoffs. Freshman goaltender Robby Nichols made 26 saves to earn his eighth win of the season. In the regular season finale, goals by Evan Jasper and Drew George provided all the offense Sacred Heart would need in a 2-1 win over the Huskies. Jasper gave SHU a 1-0 lead just 3:20 into the first period and George made it 2-0 6:22 into the second. Freshman Brent Norris scored the lone Husky goal in the second period, his ninth of the season, but SHU goaltender Alex Vazzano held UConn in check the rest of the way. Vazzano finished the night making 25 saves to grab his second win over UConn on the season.
Scouting the Colonials... Robert Morris made their way to the quarterfinals after beating the #12 seeded Army Black Knights in three games last weekend. The Colonials opened the series with an 8-4 win but Army answered in game two winning 4-2. In the decisive game three Sunday night, Army grabbed a 1-0 lead in the second period before the Colonials stormed back with goals by Greg Gibson, David Friedmann and Andrew Blazek to win the game and the series, 3-1. The Colonials come in as one of the top-scoring teams in the league and the country averaging 3.35 goals per game, ranking third and ninth, respectively. After a 2-12-2 start to their season, the Colonials have been the best team in Atlantic Hockey since the calender turned to 2014. Since January 1st, RMU has posted a 13-5-3 mark, tying them with Boston College for the most wins in the spring semester. During that stretch, the Colonials have scored 137 goals and a total of 217 points, both tops in the country. Leading the way this season has been junior forward Cody Wydo who tied with Bentley's Brett Gensler for the AHA lead in scoring with 45 points. Wydo's 25 goals this season is tops among AHA leaders and rank him fourth among the NCAA's top-goal scorers. Sophomore forward Zac Lynch is tied for fifth in the league in scoring with 40 points on 17 goals and 23 assists. Lynch has four of the team's six shorthanded goals this season. The Colonials are second in the league in penalty minutes, averaging 12.9 per game, and are last on the penalty kill at 74.5 percent (123/165).
Last Meeting with Robert Morris... The Huskies and Colonials split their two meetings in Storrs, both posting lopsided wins. In game one, seniors Billy Latta and Brant Harris were responsible for all the scoring as the Huskies came away with a 5-1 win. Latta recorded the first hat-trick of his career, scoring a goal in each period including his fifth on the power play. Harris tacked on a pair of goals, one game after recording his first career hat-trick in a 6-2 win over RIT. UConn scored on their first two-shots of the game, chasing RMU goaltender Terry Shafer. Senior Matt Grogan made 22 saves in picking-up the win. The Colonials flipped the tables on the Huskies in the second meeting, scoring three times in the first period en route to the 6-1 win. RMU got a pair of goals from Cody Wydo while Shafer rebounded with 25 saves to earn the win in goal. The Huskies saw their streak of 28-straight penalties killed off come to an end in the loss.
AHA Playoff History... UConn has advanced to the semifinals of the Atlantic Hockey playoffs four times in the league's history but have never made it to the championship game.
2012-13: Beat Robert Morris in quarterfinals, 2-0 (W, 4-3, W, 4-1); Lost to Mercyhurst in semifinal (L, 4-1)
2011-12: Beat Canisius in first round, 2-0 (W, 4-3, W, 4-0); Lost to Air Force in quarterfinals, 2-1 (L, 4-3, W, 3-1, L, 4-3)
2010-11: Beat Mercyhurst in quarterfinals, 2-0 (W, 5-2, W, 4-3 ot); Lost to RIT in semifinal (L, 4-2)
2009-10: Beat Bentley in first round (W, 2-1); Lost to RIT in quarterfinals, 2-0 (L, 4-3 ot, L, 4-1)
2008-09: Lost to Sacred Heart in first round (L, 4-2)
2007-08: Lost to Sacred Heart in quarterfinals, 2-1 (L, 6-5, W, 3-2 ot, L, 4-1)
2006-07: Beat Mercyhurst in quarterfinals (W, 5-4); Lost to Army in semifinal (L, 3-1)
2005-06: Beat Sacred Heart in quarterfinals (W, 4-1); Lost to Holy Cross in semifinal (L, 4-1)
2004-05: Lost to Mercyhurst in quarterfinals (L, 7-4)
2003-04: Lost to Sacred Heart in quarterfinals (L, 3-0))