Dec. 3, 2009
STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men’s hockey team is on the road once again when they travel to Erie, Pa. for a weekend series at Mercyhurst on Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5 at 7:05 p.m.
The Huskies are coming off of a 0-2 week falling to Holy Cross 5-0 in their first Tuesday night meeting of the year and dropping a 8-1 decision to non-conference foe Brown on Saturday evening.
Mercyhurst enters this game with a 6-9-1 record, 6-5-1 AHA while the Huskies are 2-10-2 on the year, 2-6-2 AHA, good enough for eighth. The Lakers are tied for third in the league.
The Huskies are led by a trio of freshmen. Sean Ambrosie (Moorhead, Minn.) has recorded three goals and five assists this season. Also racking up the points is Alex Gerke (Tomah, Wisc.) who, as a defenseman, has recorded three goals and four assists on the season after his one goal, one assist weekend against Air Force. All but one of Gerke’s points have come in conference play
Also helping to lead the Huskies is freshman goaltender Jeff Larson (Ballwin, Mo.) who recorded the first two wins of his college career against AIC on Nov. 6 and 7. Larson has a 3.49 GAA this season already making 395 saves on the season for a .896 save percentage. On November 20 against Air Force, Larson recorded a career best 49 saves on the night which was good enough for fifth on the All-Time Division I Single Game Saves List.
Mercyhurst already has five players with 10 or more points on the season and is led by Brandon Coccimiglio who, in 16 games, has racked up eight goals and eight assists for 16 points. Twenty different Lakers have recorded multiple points this season, including Grant Blakey who leads the team with a +11.
In the net, Ryan Zapolski has notched 430 saves on the year, the most in the country, in 15 games played also recording a 2.82 GAA and a .913 save percentage. Zapolski is the current AHA Goaltender of the Week after helping the Lakers to their second-consecutive series sweep with back-to-back wins over American International last weekend and finishing with 69 saves during the series.
FOLLOW THE GAME: The game can be seen in their entirety on the B2Network via UConnHuskies.com and can be followed via Gametracker.
SCOUTING MERCYHURST: Mercyhurst is 6-9-1 on the year, 6-5-1 AHA entering their final two weekends of hockey before the semester break. The Lakers began their season on a five-game winless streak before earning their first victory at Army on October 25. Mercyhurst began their year on a eight-game road trip starting at the Kendall Classic before traveling to Western Michigan. Next they moved onto Army and Bentley before coming home to face Canisius in a home-and-home series.
Mercyhurst fell in both games to Canisius and RIT but has one their last four games sweeping Holy Cross and American International in the last couple of weekends by a score of 19-4. After they play UConn they will head to Air Force for the closing weekend of their fall season.
SERIES PAST: UConn and Mercyhurst have met 35 times in the past as the Lakers hold a 25-8-2 advantage. Since the two teams joined the Atlantic Hockey Association, the Huskies have recorded half of their series wins and ties, but Mercyhurst still leads the series 16-4-1.
Last year, UConn dropped each of its games against Mercyhurst by a combined 26-9 score, but in the 2007-08 season the Lakers were winless against UConn as the Huskies posted a 1-0-1 record.
HUSKIES LAST TIME OUT: The Huskies went 0-2 on the week taking on Holy Cross in their first Tuesday night game of the season and Brown in an out-of-conference game on Saturday night. UConn scored just one goal in the two games , which was recorded by senior captain Michael Coppola against Brown.
The Huskies met with Holy Cross on Tuesday night and after battling for two period, Holy Cross put four on the board in the final period of play to finish with a 5-0 score.
UConn returned to the ice on Saturday night when they headed to Brown for their 10th road game of the season as they fell to the Bears, 8-1. Brown got five goals on the board in the first period and added another two in the second before the Huskies were able to score in the third period of play. Coppola notched his third goal of the season with some help from freshman Evan Carriere (2nd assist) and junior Jeff Sapieha (4th assist).
SAVE MACHINE: Rookie Jeff Larson set a career high on Friday, November 20 against Air Force. The Falcons took 51 shots on goal on the night and Larson allowed just two to get by him for making 49 saves which is good enough for fifth on the UConn All-Time Division I Single Game Saves List. He ended the game with a save percentage of .960.
Larson has already made 395 saves this season in just 14 games averaging just over 28 saves per game.
The amount of saves that Larson has made in his 14-game career is one of the highest in Atlantic Hockey as-well-as the country. His 395 saves (28.2/game) are second-most in Atlantic Hockey to only Ryan Zapolski of Mercyhurst who has recorded an NCAA best 430 saves in 15 games this season (28.6/game).
In the nation, Larson’s total number of saves are third best.
THE CLASS OF 2009: Of the eight freshman that joined the Huskies this season, six of them have played in almost every game. [Miles Winter is sitting out the season after transferring from Quinnipiac, while Matt Grogan will be joining him.]
Forward Sean Ambrosie leads the team in points recorded this season with eight (three goals, five assists) followed by defenseman Alex Gerke who has seven points on the year (three goals, four assists.) Forward Jim Gallagher also has four points on the year coming on a goal and three assists.
Tom Janosz, a defenseman, has played in all 14 games on the season recording an assist while forward Evan Carriere has seen his share of time on the front line playing in 11 games this year, recording two assists.
In goal, Larson has played in all 14 games turning in a 2-9-2 record already making 395 saves on the season for a 3.49 GAA.
OLSON’s OFFENSE: Junior assistant captain Andrew Olson (Alexandria, Minn.) is back at it as one of the Atlantic Hockey’s top scorers. In his first 14 games this season Olson had notched four goals which ranks 19th in Atlantic Hockey. All four of his goals have come in AHA play which ranks 13th in the league.
ALL-AROUND AMBROSIE: Freshman Sean Ambrosie (Moorhead, Minn.) is a leader on both the UConn hockey team and in the rankings. Ambrosie has recorded three goals and five assists on the year.
BEYOND THE BLUE LINE: Freshman Alex Gerke (Tomah, Wisc.) ranks second on the team in points scored this season with seven, Gerke is also a top-defender on the team. He has tallied three goals and four assists this season which puts him among the leagues best as one of the top scoring defenders in the league and one of the top scoring freshman as well.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK (PART II): For the second time this season, a UConn freshman has earned Rookie of the Week honors. This time it was goaltender Larson who was honored after earning the first two wins of his collegiate career against American International.
Larson allowed just two goals on the weekend for an outstanding 1.00 GAA. He played all 120 minutes between the pipes making 48 saves for a career best .960 save percentage.
ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: After his performance against Ferris State, University of Connecticut freshman Sean Ambrosie (Moorhead, Minn.) earned AHA Rookie of the week honors.
Ambrosie recorded two points on the weekend tallying his first collegiate goal and assist in the series against Ferris State. Ambrosie earned his first assist of the season on Daniel Naurato’s goal in game one that gave the Huskies a 1-0 advantage over their CCHA opponent. He notched the first goal of his career in game two. His goal was the only one of the game for the Huskies and came in the second period.
SPREAD OFFENSE: This season, 19 different Huskies have already tallied a point, 14 of those players have scored a goal and 16 players have tacked on an assist.
Of the 19 point-getters, 13 have recorded multiple points this season.
FOUR AWAY FROM 300: Head Coach Bruce Marshall, in his 22nd year at the helm of the UConn Hockey program is closing in on winning his 300th game. Marshall currently holds a 296-319-59 record, 64-89-17 in Atlantic Hockey play.
HUSKIES IN NOVEMBER/AT HOME: The Huskies posted a 2-6-2 record in November. The series’ with AIC and Air Force were the lone home games of the fall season for the Huskies, both coming in November.
UConn won both of their games against AIC earning their first victories of the season to begin the 11th month of the year earning a 0-1-1 record against Air Force to have a 2-1-1 record at home during the fall season.
TO BE IN THE LEAD: When UConn is in the lead after the second period, they have not lost a game this season.
The Huskies were up after the middle period both times in their victories over AIC.
When UConn trails, or is tied, after the second period they are 0-10-2 on the year.