ORONO, Me. – UConn freshman Max Letunov (Moscow, Russia) scored on the power play at 2:52 of the third period, providing the tying goal as the Huskies come away with a 1-1 tie Saturday night against the University of Maine in a Hockey East match-up from Alfond Arena. The Huskies take three of the four points on the weekend as they improve to 8-13-2 overall and 4-7-2 in Hockey East.
Letunov scored his ninth goal of the season and his first on the power play. He now has 25 points on the year and has had a point in 11 of his last 12 games. The Huskies got 38 saves from junior Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) in net on the night. Over the weekend, the junior netminder stopped 82 of the 83 shots he faced.
The Huskies finished one-of-six on the power play and killed off both Maine chances with the extra skater. The Black Bears finished with a 40-34 edge on shots.
After a scoreless first period the Black Bears broke the scoreless tie with a shorthanded goal at 9:04. Maine’s Mark Hamilton was called for interference at 8:50 sending UConn on their second power play of the second period. The Huskies set up in the zone but a cross ice pass from freshman defenseman Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) was broken up at the blue line by Swavely who took off on a break-away chance.
Swavely ended Nichols’ bid for a third-straight shutout, beating the goaltender top-shelf, stick side for his sixth on the season and a 1-0 lead. The goal ended a streak of 162:21 without a goal for Nichols dating back to the 4-2 loss to Michigan Tech in the Desert Hockey Classic three games ago.
UConn got their fourth power play chance of the night just 2:06 into the third period and Letunov came up with the tying 46 seconds later. Masonius collected the puck in the UConn zone and fed Letunov into the neutral zone. Letunov broke free on a rush and weaved his way through the Maine defense to go one-on-one with goaltender Matt Morris. He went to his backhand to beat Morris to the low right post, just beating his outstretched pad for the equalizer.
The Huskies got two more power play chances in the third period but couldn’t come up with the go-ahead score. Nichols had a brief scare in the third, going down on a scrum in front and was forced to the bench with 11:53 left. Sophomore Tanner Creel (Arlington Heights, Ill.) come in and made a save in 3:49 of action before Nichols returned.
In the overtime the Black Bears got three shots on net to UConn’s two before the whistle.
The Huskies will return to their home ice at the XL Center for the first time since December 11th when they play host to the University of Vermont on Friday night, January 22nd. The puck will drop at 8:30 pm and the game is slated to be televised on the American Sports Network and locally on NESN and SNY.
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