Nov. 23, 2012
By Tierney Corrigan - UConn Athletic Communications
UConn Hockey closed out last season in a 2-1 loss in a best of three series in the AHA Tournament against Air Force. The final score for both of the lost games was 4-3, setting the stage for the ultimate match up when the two teams would meet again this year. Failing to close out what they thought would be their championship season, was tonight a marker for a future championship or just another regular season game?
In our post game interview, Assistant Coach David Berard commented on just what he thought about tonight's match up. "I think any time you can beat a championship level team, it gives you a lot of confidence that you can play at that level. Our standards for our program, is that we want to compete for a championship. In order to compete for a championship you, have to play those teams and you have to beat them. So every time you beat a team like that, you get a little notch in your belt and you get that confidence. So it's a big game and we're going to celebrate it for the next hour or so, and then tomorrow we have to get up and do it again and have a new challenge in front of us."
So far this season the Huskies have seen just as many highs as they have lows. Consistency on the road has been hard to come by for this team. Starting off with two losses to Massachusetts and Holy Cross, the Huskies needed to find their groove. The team did find their niche several times, posting up a tie at home against Union, the number eight team in the country. As well as wins against Sacred Heart and Merrimack and of course Air Force tonight.
However, it is keeping these consistent winning streaks that seems to be a point of struggle. Berard discussed consistency in the future post game. "I would think that with consistent play comes consistency as far as your results are concerned. I think our guys are getting comfortable with what we're asking them to do. We don't try to complicate things. We just want them to take a game plan and then execute it, work hard within our structure, and then just go out and play. We did make some minor changes a few weeks ago because we thought the guys were playing a little bit tight. We've freed them up a little bit to just get out, and skate and play. It has made a big difference. I'm hopeful with confidence we're going to score more goals, get more opportunities, and get more wins because of it."
Billy Latta a junior on the team and an assistant captain banked two assists for the only goals made during the game, setting the stage for tonight's win. When we asked him how important this game was to he and he teammates Latta commented, "Yeah there is a lot of motivation, fuel to the fire from last year, and the freshman kind of fed off of what we were saying. They got a feeling that last year didn't settle well with us."
Clearly the fire was fueled, and the win well deserved by the Huskies working hard to make a comeback after last years losses. Adding to Latta's earlier comments about the freshmen, on average seven to eight see ice time per game. When asked how new players are assimilating Latta said, "They are adjusting well, as anyone knows college is different than high school or prep school. But they are adjusting well, and everyone has a role and they are playing those roles well."