November 7, 2013

Atlantic Hockey: Cav cracks the ice

By Allen Lessels

UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh had to wait a few games to get his first career win, but he only had to wait 24 hours to get his second. (Photo: UConn Athletics)

Connecticut got first-year coach Mike Cavanaugh his first win on Friday night with a 4-2 decision over Army in Storrs.

Second night, same as the first.

The Huskies did it again and posted a 4-2 home win over Sacred Heart to double their and Cavanaugh’s win total. It was an extra game between the two teams this season and thus a nonconference game. The teams still have three league games left to play.

Special teams were huge for the Huskies. They scored once on three power play chances on Friday night and tripled up with a 3-for-5 effort on Saturday.

"On two of those power play goals we had the puck in the zone for almost all of the two minutes," Cavanaugh said on the school’s web site after Saturday’s game. "They were dangerous the whole time."

Senior forward Billy Latta scored the power play goal on Friday and came back with two more on Saturday.

Latta’s first goal on Saturday put UConn up 3-1 early in the second period and proved the game-winner. His second, late in the same period, closed out the scoring.

"We talked all week about how important it is to get one power play goal a game," Cavanaugh said. "It just gives you a much better percentage chance of winning. And then we get three."

The penalty killing helped, too. The Huskies successfully killed off seven of the eight power plays against them, including all five against Army.

"I thought our penalty killing was strong on the weekend," Cavanaugh said. "We did nice job of filling lanes and blocking shots and pressuring when we had to."

Junior forward Trevor Gerling was another of the offensive standouts. He figured in each of the scores against Army with two goals and two assists.

Senior Matt Grogan and freshman Robby Nichols each picked up a win in net. Grogan made 24 saves against Army for his first victory of the season and Nichols had 30 saves in his collegiate debut against Sacred Heart.

The Huskies are off this weekend and play Holy Cross at home on Tuesday.

They have Bentley at home on Friday, Nov. 15 and then get their latest taste of what is to come on Sunday, Nov. 17, with a game at Boston University.

UConn is leaving Atlantic Hockey after this year and joining Hockey East for the 2014-15 season.

The BU game is the first of potentially three games the Huskies will play against Hockey East teams before the post-season.

UConn takes on Sacred Heart again in the first round of the UConn Hockey Classic on Dec. 29 in a game that will count in the league standings. The next day UConn will play either UMass or Quinnipiac.

The Huskies also have a game at Providence on Feb. 11.

Player of the Week

Cody Wydo, jr., F, Robert Morris

Wydo scored all the goals in an assortment of ways - one even strength, one on the power play, one on a penalty shot and then a final one with 12 seconds left to play and the Colonials skating with an extra attacker – in his team’s 5-4 loss to Penn State.

Game of the week

AIC at Bentley, Friday, Nov. 8

The Yellow Jackets and Falcons each go looking for their second Atlantic Hockey win of the season. The game is the only one for each team this weekend. Bentley beat Army, 5-2, on Saturday and AIC knocked off Sacred Heart, 4-1, on Oct. 26.

Atlantic Hockey Power Rankings
  1. Air Force (5-3-0, 3-1-0) – Senior goalie Jason Torf tossed a 39-save shutout at RIT on Friday night. The next night Mercyhurst got to Torf and two other Falcon goalies for an 8-2 win. Air Force is off this weekend and plays Robert Morris at home on Nov. 16.
  2. Niagara (1-4-1, 1-1-1) – The Purple Eagles were off last weekend and play 10 of their next 12 on the road, starting at Ohio State on Friday and Saturday. Niagara has allowed 16 goals in its last four games.
  3. UConn (2-2-1, 1-0-0) – The Huskies scored four goals in eight power play opportunities in 4-2 victories over Army and Sacred Heart. Senior forward Billy Latta had three of the power play goals.
  4. Mercyhurst (2-5-1, 1-0-0) – The Lakers opened the Atlantic Hockey portion of their schedule in a big way with an 8-2 win at home against Air Force on Saturday. Junior forward Matthew Zay and junior defenseman Tyler Shiplo each had a goal and two assists.
  5. Canisius (1-4-0, 0-2-0) – The Golden Griffins were outshot 85-45 in a pair of losses at Miami, 3-0 and 5-2. Canisius is at Robert Morris on Friday and plays Mercyhurst at home on Saturday.
  6. Sacred Heart (2-5-0, 1-2-0) – The all-freshman line of Evan Jasper (2-1-3), Justin Danforth (1-3-4) and Jordan Minello (1-3-4) led the Pioneers in a 4-3 loss at Holy Cross and 4-2 setback at UConn. Sacred Heart is at Penn State on Friday.
  7. AIC (1-3-0, 1-0-0) – Freshman goalies Ty Reichenbach (42 saves) and Hunter Leisner (36) each took a turn in 5-4 and 4-0 losses at Michigan State. AIC is at Bentley on Friday night and at Holy Cross the next Friday, Nov. 15.
  8. Bentley (2-6-0, 1-1-0) – The Falcons picked up their first league win at Army, 5-2, on Saturday. AIC is at Bentley on Friday. Junior Alex Grieve has five goals and three assists and junior defenseman Steve Weinstein is at 0-8-8.
  9. Holy Cross (1-5-0, 1-0-0) – Freshman forward Mike Barrett has two goals for the Crusaders and 10 other players have one goal each. Eighteen players have at least one point and no one has more than three.
  10. Robert Morris (0-5-1, 0-0-1) – The Colonials look for their first win in home games against Canisius on Friday and RIT on Saturday. Junior forward Cody Wydo had all four goals in a 5-4 loss to Penn State and has seven for the year.
  11. RIT (0-4-2, 0-1-0) – Junior Jordan Ruby made 21 saves in RIT’s 2-0 loss to Air Force at home on Friday in its league opener. The Tigers are at Mercyhurst on Friday and at Robert Morris on Saturday.
  12. Army (0-4-0, 0-2-0) – The Black Knights went 0-for-10 on the power play in losses to UConn, 4-2, and Bentley, 5-2. Army will try again to gets its 2-for-24 power play going this weekend with games at Holy Cross on Friday and at Boston College on Sunday.