The 6,298 spectators who attended the UConn men’s hockey final home game of the regular season on Friday night were treated to an evening full of excitement as their Huskies defeated the UMass Minutemen by a score of 4-0.
Upcoming graduates Ryan Tyson, Trevor Gerling, Cody Sharib, Brad Smith, Jacob Poe and Tom Comunale were all honored during a special pregame ceremony on senior night at the XL Center, but once the puck dropped, the Huskies came were all business.
Junior Shawn Pauly opened the scoring at 8:38 of the first period, and UConn simply did not look back from this point onward. Just under five minutes later, Patrick Kirtland extended the score for UConn when he was the benefactor of a beautiful pass from line-mate Corey Ronan.
Fittingly, senior Trevor Gerling scored his 11th goal of the season on the night in which he was honored. The goal also proved to be timely, as UConn had temporarily taken its foot off the gas pedal for a brief stretch of sequences in the second period.
“Trevor was able to turn the momentum with a pretty nice backhand goal,” Coach Cavanaugh said after the game.
Senior Cody Sharib tallied his seventh marker of the season to put an exclamation point on UConn’s dominating victory.
“Before the game started we challenged the team. If this was going to be our last game at the XL Center this season, to finish it the way we started it. And I think we did. It was evident in that first period when we were really dominant,” Cavanaugh said.
The head coach also made it a point to thank the crowd at his team’s home venue for their passion and support throughout their inaugural season in the Hockey East conference.
“I have to credit this crowd. With the games played here at the XL (Center), we lead Hockey East in attendance. I have to commend the crowd here, and the fans of Hartford for the support we’ve had all season.”
This game had special meaning for the six graduating seniors on UConn’s roster.
“All the seniors told me in previous years that the four years go quick. I didn’t believe them, and here I am after our last regular season game and it went fast. So I guess (my message is) to just enjoy every minute and every day you come to the rink. Make it special,” Gerling said.
The Huskies will be watching the scoreboard on Saturday to find out who their first playoff opponent will be. Coach Cavanaugh denies having a preferred matchup.
“Wherever we have to go, we’ll go and play our game and play really hard. It’s playoff season, and the whole slate is wiped clean now. So take our record, and just wipe that clean. It’s whoever can win two games first next weekend will advance,” Cavanaugh said.