HARTFORD, Conn. - The UConn men's hockey team fell to the Army West Point Black Knights, 2-1, Friday night in their home opener at the XL Center. Junior Brian Rigali (Libertyville, Ill.) scored the lone UConn goal in the loss as the Huskies fall to 0-1-1 on the year.
All the scoring took place in the second period on Friday as Army got goals from junior John Zimmerman and sophomore Daniel Haider on the way to victory. The Huskies were 0-for-4 on the power play and despite dominating the third period, outshooting Army 13-7, they couldn't find the tying goal.
UConn sophomore Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic) made 25 saves for the Huskies in taking the loss. Army's Trevin Kozlowski stopped 27 shots as the Black Knights move to 2-0-0 on the season.
Both teams had a slow start in the first, each managing six shots apiece and both coming up empty on a power play chance.
The Black Knights struck for the game's first goal of the night, coming at 3:17. Coming off a face-off in the UConn zone, center Dominic Franco won the puck back to Zimmerman at the point who absolutely blasted one, placing it top-shelf past Vomacka for a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies answered right back, scoring just 31 seconds later. Sophomore Marc Gatcomb (Woburn, Mass.) dug a puck out along the left boards and back to freshman Carter Berger (N. Vancouver, B.C.) who threw a shot on net through traffic. Rigali was camped in front and got the tip to beat Kozlowski tying it at 1-1 at 3:48.
Army jumped back in front at the 15:50 mark as defenseman Marshal Plunkett carried the puck into the zone, around the net and fired on Vomacka. The sophomore made the stop but the Haider was sitting at the far post to clean up the rebound for a 2-1 lead.
UConn was all over Army in the third, holding a 13-7 edge on shot but came up short of a tying goal. The Huskies had a few solid scoring chances with Kozlowski making a sprawling save on a 2-on-1 UConn chance while freshman Vladislav FIrstov (Yaroslavl, Russia) and Gatcomb both hit the post.
The Huskies pulled Vomacka in the closing minutes and got a good look off a face-off with 2.4 seconds left. Sophomore Kale Howarth (Red Deer, Alberta) ripped a shot but Army's Colin Bilek threw himself in front of it to block it away, preserving the win.
The Huskies return to the XL Center on Saturday afternoon for a match-up with Rensselaer at 3:35 pm. On Saturday, UConn will be honoring the 1999-2000 Huskies on the 20th anniversary of their MAAC Championship season.