Huskies split weekend series with RIT
The UConn men's hockey team was unable to gain any ground in the Atlantic Hockey standings, remaining in eighth place after splitting their weekend series with Rochester Institute of Technology.
The weekend started on a high note for the Huskies (11-12-3, 8-9-2 AHA), who took the first game of the series 3-1. But RIT responded in a big way on Saturday, defeating UConn 7-1.
With eight games remaining before the AHA Tournament, the Huskies are in eighth place in the conference with 18 points, holding a tiebreaker over both RIT and Army.
The teams in the middle of the conference standings will be fighting for valuable points over the next four weeks. Only four points separate the eighth-place Huskies from fourth place, and only five points separate them from second place. The top four teams receive a bye into the quarterfinals of the AHA Tournament. The next four teams will host a lower seed in the first round.
Had the Huskies won both games, they would have been tied with Canisius for fifth place.
It looked like the Huskies were on their way to a sweep after the first game. UConn used sound defense to grab a 3-1 win.
Defenseman Tyler Cooke opened the scoring with the first goal of his career with 36 seconds remaining in the first period.
UConn were able to pad their lead with two goals in a 30-second span during the middle of the second period. Trevor Gerling notched his eighth goal of the season on a power play, as the Huskies' special teams continue to improve.
Thirty seconds after Gerling's goal, which ended up becoming the game-winner, Evan Carriere picked up his third goal of the season, putting the Huskies ahead 3-0.
UConn were relentless defensively. Once again, senior goaltender Matt Grogan had a big game, stopping 34 shots en route to his sixth win of the season. The Huskies are 6-2-2 in games when Grogan has been part of the decision.
It was another physical game by the Huskies' skaters, as they blocked 21 total shots.
RIT added a late power play goal, but they were unable to get back in the game, sending UConn into Saturday with the momentum, or so they thought.
Saturday was a game that UConn will hope to forget very soon.
The two teams went into the first intermission tied 0-0, but the Tigers were the benefiters of a lot of bounces and bad breaks for the Huskies. The Tigers scored seven goals in the final 37 minutes of play to pull back level with UConn in the AHA standings.
If there is a positive for the Huskies, it is that their goal came on yet another power play. Jordan Sims scored his seventh of the season just before the second intermission.
The Huskies' power play has improved drastically since the start of the season, and now has a 15 percent conversion rate.
UConn will look to bounce back next weekend, when they play a home-and-home series with seventh-place Bentley. The first game is on Friday in Waltham, Mass. at 7:05 p.m. Saturday's game is in Storrs at 7:05 p.m. Both games will be on WHUS 91. 7 FM.
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