STORRS, Conn. - The UConn Men's Hockey Program will play its season opener against UMass at the William D. Mullins Memorial Center in Amherst, Mass. on Friday, October 12. The action starts at 7:00 p.m. as the Huskies, who finished last season 16-19-4 (12-12-3 AHA), look to begin the season on a high note against a Minutemen squad that ended its 2012 campaign 13-18-5 (9-14-4 HEA).
The game can be heard at WHUS.org, 91.7fm. There will be a live video stream linked to UConnHuskies.com.
Connecticut will open the season looking to find replacements for the production of All-AHA First Team selection Cole Schneider, who left after his sophomore season to sign a professional contact with the Ottawa Senators. Schneider set UConn single-season records in goals (23) and points (45) as a sophomore.
UConn will hope to improve on an offense that finished third nationally on the power play after scoring on 25.7-percent of the chances in 2011-12. The Huskies will look to their 16 returning letter winners, including senior captains Alex Gerke (Moorhead, Minn.) and Sean Ambrosie (Tomah, Wis.) for leadership as the team has added 10 new skaters for the 2012-2013 season.
Junior forward Brant Harris (Estevan, Saskatchewan), who finished 2011-12 second on the team in goals and points, will lead a strong offense that returns five of its six top scorers. On the defensive end, Gerke and fellow senior Tom Janosz (Elma, N.Y.) look to direct a sturdy defense headed by senior goaltender Garrett Bartus (St. Charles, Ill.). Bartus finished last year as UConn's all-time leader in saves (2,816) and as the national leader in saves for the 2011-12 season with a remarkable 1,179 stops. He also enters the season as one of USCHO's Top-10 Goalies to Watch in 2012-13.
The Minutemen finished last season with eight skaters above the 20-point mark and return four in 2012-13. With the loss of junior Forward TJ Syner to the Hershey Bears of the AHL, Conor Sheary (Melrose, Mass.) leads the way for the offense after completing last season with 35 points on 12 goals and 23 assists. The defense is spearheaded by juniors Adam Phillips (Farmington Hills, Mich.) and Conor Allen (Chicago, Ill.). Sophomore Kevin Boyle saw the majority of the action last season and finished with an 8-7-4 record and a 3.00 goals against average.
UMass won the last meeting, 5-1, on December 5, 2008, and owns the all-time edge, 8-23-2.
The Huskies are set to open Atlantic Hockey Association play on October 26th in Worcester, Mass. against the Crusaders of Holy Cross while the Minutemen begin their Hockey East season on October 19th against No.2 Boston College.