WORCESTER, Mass. – UConn's Robby Nichols posted a 38-save shutout as the Huskies defeated the Holy Cross men's hockey team, 5-0, at the Hart Center in Atlantic Hockey action. With the loss, the Crusaders fall to 9-18-3 overall (8-12-3 AHA), while the Huskies advance to 16-10-4 overall (13-7-3 AHA). The teams concluded their three-game regular season series this evening and Connecticut came out the victor, winning the series 2-1-0.
The Holy Cross men's hockey program held its fifth annual "Pink the Rink" event tonight. The team wore special edition pink and white jerseys to show its support for breast cancer awareness. The jerseys were auctioned off throughout the game with all proceeds going to Pink Revolution. The jerseys in the auction sold for more than $3,000. A ceremonial puck drop featured Nancy Vidal, the mother of sophomore Matt Vidal (Manorville, N.Y.). Vidal and junior Tommy Dwyer (Ridgefield, Conn.) presented a check for $5,000 to Pink Revolution from the Power Play Points for Pink organization. Breast cancer survivor Robin Batchelder performed the national anthem. Also a limited amount of special edition "Pink the Rink" t-shirts were sold, along with a chuck-a-puck competition during an intermission and a 50/50 raffle. The mission of Pink Revolution is to support early detection and prevention strategies, fund clinical research advancements and promote survivorship programs in Central Mass. through its affiliation with the UMass Memorial Comprehensive Breast Center.
The game was also Winter Homecoming and the Holy Cross Club of Greater Worcester gave out a Homecoming MVP trophy following the game. This year, the trophy was given to UConn's freshman goalie Nichols as he posted a shutout and posted 38 saves.
In the first period, the Huskies applied pressure to the Crusader defense quickly. Just 4:20 into the game, they forced junior goalie Matt Ginn (Lindsay, Ontario) to make a diving save to prevent the first goal. Billy Latta crossed the puck to the opposite side of the blue line to Trevor Gerling. Gerling gave the puck to Brant Harris at the top of the crease, but despite his efforts Harris could not beat Ginn. UConn got on the scoreboard first at 7:44 when a scramble in front of the net allowed for Cody Sharib to score a goal. At 12:00 minutes, sophomore Tim Driscoll (Hingham, Mass.) tried to even the score with a wrap around goal, but Nichols made the save. Jordan Sims tried to give the Huskies a 2-0 lead when from the top of the crease he fired in two shots, and on the second rebound Joey Ferriss knocked the puck in behind Ginn. The Huskies held a 2-0 lead entering the locker room after one period of play and outshooting the Crusaders 18-15.
The second period brought more success to the Huskies as they tallied two more goals. On a power play chance early in the second period, the Huskies added another goal to their lead. Latta got his first point of the night when he gave the puck to Jacob Poe. Poe fired the puck in from behind the circle and beat Ginn to make the score 3-0 just 0:40 into the period. Toward the end of the period, the Huskies Brent Norris added another UConn goal to the scoreboard. Patrick Kirtland earned the first assist as he fired a shot on Ginn and Norris picked up the rebound that knocked up into the empty part of the net giving 4-0 lead at 17:26. The Crusaders took a penalty with 1:01 remaining in the period, giving UConn the advantage for a full minute at the end of the second. Though they were down an attacker, the Crusaders put up a fight as senior assistant captain Adam Schmidt (Warrington, Pa.) went for his third short-handed goal of the season. Schmidt wound up the boards, but was unable to pass the puck off. He picked it back up and point-blank fired a shot with less than a second of time left, but Nichols made the save.
The third period allowed for UConn to continue its shutout despite Holy Cross' efforts. At 8:19, the Huskies tried to increase their lead when Sharib went for his second of the night. Ginn made a sprawling save to block the shot in the corner of the crease. At 9:39 the Huskies tried again when they caught Ginn behind the net. Christian Neumann tried to get a shot off on the open net from the slot, but sophomore Joe McNamara (Chestnut Hill, Mass.) blocked the shot cutting off the Huskies' chance. At 13:14, the Huskies scored the final goal of the game and their fifth of the night. Kyle Huson took a shot from the top of the slot that Ferriss redirected behind Ginn for his second of the night. The Crusaders fought back and with just over a minute remaining in the contest freshman Brett McKinnon (Kelowna, British Columbia) caught a pass from Vidal and took a shot that Nichols blocked up and out with his chest.
Ginn posted 36 saves during the night, while Nichols tallied 38. The Crusader defense blocked 15 shots led by McNamara's three. UConn went 1-for-6 during the night on the power play while the Crusaders did not convert any of their four chances. The Crusaders came out victorious from the dot as they went 39-26 during the contest. Freshman Mike Barrett (Orland Park, Ill.) led the Crusaders winning 14 of his 19 faceoffs. Schmidt appeared in his 142nd game tonight tying him for the sixth most games by a player at Holy Cross.
The Crusaders return to action on Friday, Feb. 21 when they host AIC for the first game of a home-and-home series with a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.
For the third straight season, every time the Holy Cross men's hockey team scores a power play goal in the Hart Center, money pledged will benefit PINK Revolution. The Crusaders have scored eight power play goals at home. For more information and to donate go here:http://www.powerplaypointsforpink.com/.
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