Jan. 18, 2014
ERIE, Pa. – The University of Connecticut men’s hockey team battled back from being down 3-0 in the second period and took home their second-straight Atlantic Hockey Association tie at Mercyhurst University, 3-3, Saturday night from Erie, Pa. Senior Billy Latta (West Chester, Pa.) scored the game-tying goal at 17:07 in the third period as the Huskies split the four points with the Lakers on the weekend and are now 10-7-4 overall and 8-4-3 in the AHA.
UConn senior Brant Harris (Estevan, Saskatchewan) collected a pair of assists on Saturday night giving him 100 points for his career (49g/51a). Harris becomes the 27th player in program history to reach 100 points in a Husky uniform and the sixth during the Division I era (1998-present).
The Lakers (13-9-4, 11-1-3 AHA) struck first, converting the game’s first power play opportunity. Junior Daniel Bahntge gathered the puck behind the net and fed senior captain Nick Jones waiting in the right slot. Jones was patient with the puck, avoiding an UConn defender looking for a block before snapping a wrister past Matt Grogan (Gilbert, Ariz.) at 13:04.
Mercyhurst used little time in the second period to push their lead to 3-0, scoring twice within the first 2:11 of play. The Lakers made it 2-0 just 1:06 into play as sophomore Anthony Mastrodicasa got his third of the year right off a face-off. Junior Ryan Misiak won the draw back to classmate Tyler Shiplo who blasted a slap shot that Mastrodicasa deflected home.
The Lakers made it 3-0 scoring their second power play goal of the night at 2:11. Bahntge let fire from just inside the blue line, getting his shot through traffic and past a screened Grogan for his 10th of the season. UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh used a time-out to regroup and also went to freshman goaltender Robby Nichols (Dallas, Texas).
The Huskies responded with a pair of goals 2:26 apart to pull themselves back into the game. UConn got their first power play of the night at 3:30 when Matthew Zay was called for slashing. The Husky special teams got on the board just under a minute in with the extra skater as senior Jordan Sims (Toronto, Ontario) notched his fourth on the year. Latta fed classmate Harris from behind the net but his shot was turned away at the left post. Sims crashing the net was able to get a stick on the rebound and poke it home.
Sophomore Shawn Pauly (Bellingham, Wash.) got his seventh goal of the season thanks to a great individual effort at the 6:43 mark. Freshman Christian Neumann (Naperville, Ill.) kept the puck in the zone at the blue line and rifled a shot toward goal. Junior Cody Sharib (Needham, Mass.) got a stick on the shot with his deflection heading wide before Pauly was able to get the puck past Jimmy Sarjeant as he went sliding to the ice.
The Huskies kept pushing in the third period and were able to find the equalizer, scoring on a power play opportunity at 17:07. Latta buried his team-best sixth power play goal of the season, blasting a one-timer from the left circle. Pauly sent a perfect pass from the right circle, forcing Sarjeant off his spot as Latta was waiting to put it home knotting it at 3-3.
The game took a wild turn with 1:21 left in the third when Mercyhurst’s Kyle Dutra and UConn’s Harris collided at the scorer’s box, shattering the glass to cause a delay. The game was halted for roughly 38 minutes for clean-up and repairs to take place.
When play resumed, the two teams went to overtime for the second-straight night and a pair of brilliant saves by Sarjeant kept the Huskies from completing the comeback win. Pauly got a shot off point blank off a face-off with 15 seconds left and again before the horn sounded with Sarjeant stopping both to preserve the tie.
UConn will take on AIC next weekend in a home-and-home AHA series. The Huskies will travel to AIC on Friday, January 24th and host the Yellow Jackets at Freitas Ice Forum Saturday, January 25th. The puck will drop at 7:05 pm both nights.