HARTFORD, Conn. – UConn got goals from senior Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) and sophomore Brent Norris (Ottawa, Ontario) and a 33 save effort by sophomore Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) in net to come away with a 2-2 tie against the No. 13 nationally ranked Providence Friars Wednesday night at the XL Center in Hartford. The Huskies picked-up a point in the Hockey East standings and sit at 5-6-4 in league play on the year.
Nichols needed to make just five saves in the first period but the ice tilted the Friars way in the second as the sophomore netminder had to make 15 stops. Providence finished with a 35-25 edge on shots and twice erased Husky leads to earn a point as well on the night.
UConn come out flying to start the first period and finished with a 12-5 edge on shots over the first 20 minutes of action. The Huskies jumped out to a 1-0 lead just 2:08 into the first period on Norris’ second goal of the season.
Husky freshman Jeff Wight (Coquitlam, British Columbia) won a puck battle deep in the corner and sophomore Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia) kept control of the puck in the PC zone. Richardson fed it back to Wight in the right circle and he slid a cross-ice pass Norris at the left post who one-timed it in a 1-0 lead.
The Friars pulled even at 9:36 as Brooks Behling buried his first on the season, whipping a wrist shot off a rebound from the slot through traffic and just past a scrawling Nichols. The Huskies opened the second period wasting little time in grabbing the lead back.
After UConn’s second power play expired 34 seconds into the second period, UConn kept possession of the puck in the zone and Gerling found a rebound of a Richardson shot in the slot and slid the puck past Jon Gillies for his ninth of the season. Gerling’s goal came just 37 seconds in to the period to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead. Richardson notched his second assist on the night, giving him his first career multi-point game.
The Friars got their first power play chance at 4:54 in the period as Ryan Segalla (Rockland, Mass.) was called for a high stick. UConn’s Ryan Tyson (Harleysville, Pa.) looked to clear on the first possession but tried to clear the puck playing with a broken stick resulting in a delay of game call. The Friars got a 5-on-3 power play chance for 1:30 and they wasted no time in capitalizing. Providence needed just 11 seconds to tie the game at 2-2, as Ross Mauremann buried a rebound with a wrist shot from the slot. It was Mauermann’s sixth on the season.
Providence finished the second period outshooting the Huskies 16-7 and had a 9-6 edge in the third but couldn’t crack Nichols the rest of the way. The Huskies got a grade-A scoring chance with six and half minutes left in the third. Richardson and Wight got a two-on-one break-away chance but an amazing save by Gillies kept the game tied. Richardson broke down the right wing and put a pretty pass on the stick of Wight who looked to have an open net for the go-ahead goal. Wight one-timed his shot but a diving Gillies just got his stick on the puck to deflect it wide keeping the game tied.
The Huskies went to overtime for the third-straight game and ninth time this season. The Friars tested Nichols with five more shots on goal but the sophomore goaltender stood tall and delivered UConn the tie and point. The tie, UConn’s seventh on the season, tied them with American International for the most ties in the nation this season.
UConn and Providence will face-off again on Saturday night from Schneider Arena. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7:00 pm.
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