UConn men's ice hockey begins season with exhibition
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 22:10
While National Hockey League owners and players squabble over the future of their league, the UConn men’s hockey team will return to the ice on Saturday at 3 p.m. in an exhibition game against York University from Canada.
The Huskies did not exit the 2011-12 season quietly. Bruce Marshall’s squad had a less-than-stellar 16-19-4 record overall but went 12-12-3 in the Atlantic Hockey Association, a record that totals 27 points (two points for a win, 1 for a tie or overtime loss). 27 points allowed them to squeak into the conference tournament as the No. 8 seed, earning them home ice in the first round.
UConn was able to sweep Canisius in the first round, earning a date with Air Force, the No. 1 seed, in the quarterfinals. It took the Falcons three games to beat the Huskies and in each loss, the score was 4-3.
Saturday’s exhibition will help the Huskies gauge where they are as a team heading into a season that requires them to replace six players.
Junior Brant Harris is the top returning option in the attacking zone after producing 18 goals and 15 assists last season. Harris will prove vital once again on special teams this year after finishing tied for sixth in the nation last season with 10 power play goals.
Another important returnee for the Huskies, who should feature on Saturday, is senior goaltender Garrett Bartus. Bartus led the nation in saves last year with 1,179, a total that missed the Atlantic Hockey record by one save. In 2011-12, he also set the UConn single-season record for shutouts with five. The Illinois native’s 2,816 careers saves is a school record and he is one win away from breaking the school record.
The Lions of York University will be UConn’s lone preseason opponent and are looking for a turnaround season of their own. A member of the Ontario University Athletics West division in Canada, the Lions went 14-14 in regular season play last season. Last season, York went 0-6 in preseason play, including losses to UConn’s AHA opponents Robert Morris and Mercyhurst. This season has been quite different so far. York has won its four nonconference games in Canada by scores of 5-1, 7-1, 6-4 and 7-1.
UConn’s regular season campaign begins Oct. 12 with a game at Massachusetts. The Huskies first regular season home game is Oct. 27 against Providence.