NOTRE DAME, Ind. – UConn sophomore goaltender Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) matched his career-high with 41 saves as the Huskies skated to a 3-3 tie at Notre Dame Friday night at Compton Family Ice Arena. The Huskies and Irish will take the match-up again on Sunday back in Connecticut at Webster Bank Arena in Bridgeport.
Nichols’ 41 saves matches the 41 stops he made earlier this season in a 2-1 overtime loss at Merrimack. The Huskies are now 4-4-1 in Hockey East play this season and 7-10-4 overall.
The Irish got on the board first immediately following the first penalty of the night. UConn’s Ryan Segalla (Rockland, Mass.) was called for a five-minute major for hitting from behind and given a game misconduct. Notre Dame’s Peter Schneider was called for elbowing as well setting up two minute of 4-on-4 hockey before an Irish power play.
Notre Dame took the lead on the ensuing power play as Steven Fogarty played it back to defenseman Jordan Gross from the right circle. Gross sent the puck over to Robbie Russo who blasted a slap shot through traffic in the high slot for his eighth of the season and a 1-0 lead at 6:27.
UConn’s Naas tied the game and extended his goal-scoring streak to five-straight games with his 10th on the season at 13:30. Classmate Corey Ronan (Franklin, Mass.) won a puck battle behind the net and slid the puck to fellow rookie Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland) who was able to center a pass to Naas right in front who buried the wrister top-shelf. His 10 goals now ties him with BU's Jack Eichel for the rookie lead in goal scoring in the nation.
Notre Dame jumped back in front at 8:45 of the second period on Mario Lucia’s 14th goal of the season. Gross fed a pass from the high point to Austin Wuthrich at the right post who quickly shuttled it over to Lucia on the right post who backhanded it into an empty net for a 2-1 lead.
The Huskies tied it and then grabbed their first lead of the night with back-to-back goals just 1:21 apart. Sophomore Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia) and Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) got loose through the neutral zone on a two-on-one break out. Richardson carried the puck up the right wing and fed it just under a sliding defenseman to Pauly who chipped it into the empty net to knot the game at 2-2 at 14:35.
UConn’s Ryan Tyson (Harleysville, Pa.) helped create another break-out goal for the Huskies, blocking a shot inside the blue line. Junior Joey Ferriss (Novi, Mich.) collected the loose puck and quickly fed a streaking Cody Sharib (Needham, Mass.) who got behind the Irish defense and free for a break-away. Sharib beat Peterson snapping off a shot glove side for his fourth of the season and a 3-2 lead at 15:56.
The Irish got a power play at 9:53 in the third on a Jacob Poe (Arlington, Texas) holding call and found the tying goal in the closing seconds of the power play. The puck cycled to Russo at the point who blasted a shot into traffic. The puck deflected off a scrum in front as Nichols struggled to find the puck. Wuthrich found the loose puck and quickly shoveled it in for the tying goal at 11:37.
The Huskies would get a late power play coming with 2:19 left in the third but failed to generate a shot on goal with the extra skater as the Irish killed it off. The two teams headed to overtime where Nichols continued to stand tall for the Huskies, turning away five shots in the extra session, none bigger than a point blank save on Wuthrich in front to preserve the tie.
Notre Dame finished with a 44-20 edge on shots on the night. The Huskies came up with 22 blocked shots.
The two teams will meet again on Sunday afternoon at Webster Bank Arena with opening face-off schedule for 12 noon.