HARTFORD, Conn. - The UConn Huskies used a strong defensive performance to come away with a 3-3 tie with the No. 12 nationally ranked UMass Lowell River Hawks Friday night from the XL Center in Hartford.
The Huskies allowed just 15 shots on goal and got a pair of power play goals to come away with a point in the opening game of a weekend Hockey East series with the River Hawks. UConn moves to 2-5-2 overall and 1-3-1 in the league. UMass Lowell is now 7-2-4 overall and remains unbeaten in Hockey East at 4-0-3.
The Huskies finished the night 2-for-4 on the power, getting extra man goals from senior Alexander Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) and sophomore Kale Howarth (Red Deer, Alberta). Sophomore Marc Gatcomb (Woburn, Mass.) chipped in with his third on the season to round out the UConn scoring.
Senior Wyatt Newpower (Hugo, Minn.) finished with a pair of assists while sophomore goaltender Tomas Vomacka (Trutnov, Czech Republic) needed to stop just 12 shots on the night.
The River Hawks also scored twice on the power play with Connor Sodergren notching his first goal of the season and Colin O'Neill also getting in on the action. With the Huskies leading 3-2 late in the second period, UML's Matt Brown provided the game-tying goal with 44 seconds left in the period, his fifth goal on the season. Goaltender Tyler Wall made 29 saves for the River Hawks.
The Huskies had good puck possession throughout the first period and had an 11-3 edge on shots but UMass Lowell took the first lead of the game on their first shot of the night. The River Hawks got their first power play chance at 10:22 and took advantage as Sodergren gave his team a 1-0 lead at 12:08. Charlie Levesque sent a feed from the left circle to Sodergren in the right circle who buried the one-timer chance for his first on the year.
UConn got their first power play look at 17:56 in the period and tied the game up with just their second power play goal of the season. Freshman Yan Kuznetsov (Murmansk, Russia) fed Payusov in the left circle from the high point and the senior rocketed a one-time chance past Wall, glove side and through traffic, for his first on the year.
Each team scored twice in the second, trading goals and starting with the River Hawks second power play goal of the night at 10:00. UML got the puck in deep to O'Neill in the right circle who fired a wrist shot past Vomacka to the far post to take a 2-1 lead.
The Huskies answered right back just 54 seconds later as Gatcomb picked-up his third goal on the season. The puck cycled to sophomore Ryan Wheeler (Lancaster, N.Y.) at the top of left circle and he fired on net. Gatcomb got position in front of Wall and punched in the rebound to tie it at 2-2.
UConn took their first lead of the night with their second power play tall coming at 18:08. Sophomore Ruslan Iskhakov (Moscow, Russia) fed the puck up the boards to senior Benjamin Freeman (Falmouth, Maine) just inside the blue line. Freeman got the puck on net where Howarth was able to redirect in front of Wall to put UConn up 3-2.
The River Hawks answered that with a late break-away goal at 19:16. Off a UConn turnover in the neutral zone, Chase Blacknun thread a pass to a streaking Brown who buried his break-away chance to knot it at 3-3 into the third period.
The Huskies got the only power play chance of the third period but couldn't get anything thru to Wall. The River Hawks had their most productive shot period of the night in the third, but Vomacka turned away all six chances to keep the game tied.
The Huskies had three great looks in the extra session, the best by junior Brian Rigali (Libertyville, Ill.) who got a break-away chance but came up empty.
The Huskies and River Hawks close out their weekend series on Saturday night from Tsongas Center in Lowell. Opening face-off is scheduled for 6 pm.