Huskies can’t hang on against QU
Published: Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2013 23:01
Physical play nearly pays off
As has been the case all season, physical play kept the UConn men’s hockey team in contention on Tuesday night, and it nearly got them a historic win against No. 2 Quinnipiac.
The Huskies fell to the Bobcats 2-1 in Hamden on a late power play goal, but there was a lot of positives to take away from the game, particularly the aggressive play on defense, as UConn used their bodies to both take Quinnipiac’s skaters out of the play and stop pucks from reaching goaltender Matt Grogan.
“We try to bang hard and wear them down,” Grogan said. “In our zone we’re good. Teams that like to play down low, like Quinnipiac tonight, they were creeping down low but we were dealing with them, banging them as much as we could.”
UConn has proven to be a grinding team throughout the season. What the team lacks in offense and finesse, they make up for in playing a physical game that makes life difficult for their opponents. Quinnipiac struggled to get into a rhythm when UConn started to play physical.
“That’s the way we have to play,” said Interim Head Coach David Berard. “We have a blue-collar group of guys. Most nights, we’re not going to be as talented as the teams that we’re playing, but one thing that we stress is that we can do little things that make a difference.”
Huskies continue to rise up for big games
Quinnipiac is ranked No. 2 in the nation and has three NHL Draft picks on their team, but that did not scare the Huskies, who have now played three ranked opponents and kept the game close in all three periods.
“We just try to prepare our guys the same way every game,” Berard said. “We want to play our game. Obviously there’s things that you have to try to take away, and there’s things that Quinnipiac does that other teams in our league don’t do. But we don’t try to do anything different, and I think because of that our guys have confidence.”
The Huskies knew their opponent was one of the best in the nation, but Berard knew he had to be confident going in.
“If we get nervous as coaches, our guys will get nervous as players, and that’s not going to be a good recipe for success.”
UConn uses Quinnipiac as a guideline for new arena
With the men’s hockey team moving to Hockey East in 2014, UConn will need to move into a new arena and the school used the trip to Quinnipiac to study the setup and atmosphere of the TD Bank Sports Center, which was nearly filled to capacity on Tuesday.
“It’s a great rink, I mean it’s a beautiful facility. We have to make a decision at some point what our plan is going to be. Whatever they ultimately decide to do, that’s going to be out of our control. To have a rink like this on campus in this type of facility would be unreal, and certainly an upgrade over the Freitas Forum. It’s a nice little place, but if you want to play big-time college hockey, you want to have a big-time environment, this is about as big time as it gets.”