STORRS, Conn. - The University of Connecticut men's hockey program opened the 2012-13 campaign with an exhibition against York University and came away with a 3-3 tie at the Mark Edward Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs on Saturday afternoon.
The Huskies open the regular season at Hockey East foe UMass on Friday, October 12 at 7 p.m. in Amherst, Mass. That game can be heard at 91.7fm and WHUS.org.
"We haven't had a full week of practice yet, but I thought our energy was really good, having just gotten together really," said UConn Head Coach Bruce Marshall. "I thought we played our systems really well for the first time out."
Connecticut held a 3-2 edge late in the game behind goals from Brant Harris, Joe Birmingham and Cody Sharib but allowed York to net the equalizer with just eight seconds remaining in regulation. Neither team would score in the overtime period.
"You always want to win no matter what, but I think the main thing as that we have to focus on finishing the game when we're eight seconds away from a win, whether it's an exhibition or not," added Marshall.
"Our motto this year is finish," said UConn senior captain Sean Ambrosie. "It's something we have to learn and something we'll use as we go on this year. Our goal is to win the AHA Championship. I'm a senior and I've never won a championship here. That's the goal."
York University competes in the Canadian Interuniversity Sport. The players in the CIS are able to play professional hockey and return to college.
In a spirited first period that saw 35 minutes of penalties, York came away with a 2-1 advantage after the first 20 minutes. A 1:10 stretch resulted in all three first-period goals.
"Taking penalties is something we have to look at. We need to focus on that," said Marshall. "We got a little discombobulated and we lost a couple guys. That changed our power play and we had some different guys out there. We would have liked to work on that a little more with the full unit but we got a power-play goal regardless."
York's Chad Hohmann beat UConn senior goaltender Garrett Bartus from up close at 10:31 to make it 1-0 after passes from Jeremie Perron and Brett Miller.
The Huskies responded just 20 seconds later with a one-timer from sophomore forward Cody Sharib in the slot. York capitalized on a power play at 11:41 to go back ahead, 2-1. Ryan Kerr finished from the left point, beating Bartus through heavy traffic.
Connecticut's freshman Joe Birmingham, one of nine freshmen on the ice for the Huskies, equalized at 6:32 of the second period. Birmingham buried a rebound from in front after an Evan Carriere shot. Alex Gerke started the play from the UConn defensive zone, finding Carriere in the neutral zone.
Senior assistant captain Brant Harris gave Connecticut the lead at 12:53 of the third with a power-play goal in front. The lead wouldn't stand, however, as York's John de Gray scored on UConn senior Matt Grogan through traffic at the left point with eight seconds left and the extra attacker on the ice.
Grogan finished with seven saves in 20 minutes while Bartus notched 14 stops in the first two periods of action.