Men's Hockey: Huskies drop Game 1 of AHA Quarterfinals at home
The UConn men's hockey team, the No. 4 seed in the Atlantic Hockey Tournament, dropped the first of a three-game Quarterfinal series against Robert Morris, the No. 5 seed, 3-0 at the Freitas Ice Forum.
Robert Morris was led by freshman goaltender Dalton Izyk, who posted a shutout starting in place of injured starter Terry Shafer.
The Colonials broke the 0-0 deadlock with just 46 seconds remaining in the second period. Sophomore David Friedman fed senior Andrew Blazek, who was in open ice at the point. Blazek blasted a shot on net which squirted through UConn goaltender Robby Nichols' five-hole, and junior Jeff Jones was able to stuff home the loose puck for his ninth goal of the season.
UConn was given an opportunity to pull even just 15 seconds later as Robert Morris sophomore Matt Cope was sent to the penalty box for hooking. The Huskies, who are just 4 of 47 (.085) on the power play since Feb. 1, including 0-for-4 Friday night, registered just a single shot with the man advantage and were unable to put home a goal.
"We had a decent amount of shots, but they were mostly one-and-done chances after we shot on net," senior captain Brant Harris said. "We need to be able to get more bodies to the net to get those rebounds and win the puck battles in the corner."
Robert Morris doubled their advantage 6:53 into the third period. Junior Cody Wydo gathered a pass from senior Evan Renwick at the left dot and wristed a shot towards Nichols. The shot deflected off UConn defenseman Ryan Segalla and fluttered over the head of Nichols and found twine.
The Huskies had two power play opportunities in the third period with a chance to pull within one, but could not convert on either.
"We couldn't get any pucks to the net on the power play," UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh said. "We've got good players on our power play and I think that is something we can change in a heartbeat. We had four power plays and only three shots on net, that has to be a point of emphasis for us."
The nail in the coffin came with 1:42 remaining in the game, as sophomore forward Brandon Denham netted a goal off the post from the left faceoff circle for the Colonials.
The Huskies will now face a win-or-go-home scenario on their own ice Saturday night, and will need to win back-to-back games, which they have not done since Jan. 24 and 25 against AIC, to advance to the Semifinals for the third time in four years.
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