COLUMBUS, Ohio. – UConn sophomore Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) scored a pair of power play goals and senior goaltender Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made a career-high 46 saves as the Huskies came away with a 3-3 tie with the No. 14 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes Saturday afternoon at the Value City Arena. The Huskies are now 3-3-5 overall while Ohio State is 6-1-4 on the year.
The Huskies found themselves down 3-2 midway through the third period when grad student Brian Morgan (Windham, N.H.) scored the game-tying goal, his second goal on the weekend, to help send the game to overtime and give UConn a tie.
UConn opened the game building a 2-0 first period lead on the strength of their special teams as Thompson buried a pair of one-timers in the game’s first 10 minutes. Thompson struck for his first just 2:30 into the game, scoring off a feed from Morgan. He picked-up his seventh goal on the year at 9:45, connecting on another one-time attempt.
The Buckeyes scored once in every period Saturday afternoon and dominated the shot chart in the second and third periods, 37-7. Senior Nick Schilkey and sophomore Mason Jobst each scored a goal and added an assist. Senior David Gust scored the Buckeye’s other goal, his fourth of the series.
The Huskies went 2-for-4 on the power play while Ohio State was 1-for-4. The Buckeyes finished with an overall shot advantage of 49-17. Senior Christian Frey made 14 saves in goal for Ohio State.
The Huskies are now 2-5-2 against teams from the Big Ten all-time. Under Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh, UConn is 0-3-2.
The UConn power play continued to click, scoring twice to mark the seventh-straight game the Huskies have recorded a power play goal. The Huskies have had a power play goal in eight of the first 11 games. Thompson is now tied with Letunov with three power play goals. The sophomore led the country last season with 13 power play goals.
Thompson leads the team with seven goals and 14 points. The two-goals mark his second multi-goal game of the season and fifth of his career. It was also his fourth multi-point game this year, and 12th of his career. Morgan picked-up his first career multi-point game for the Huskies with a goal and an assist.
Over the last five games, Thompson has eight points (3-5-8) and will take a three-game point streak into next Friday’s match-up with Boston University. Maxim Letunov (Moscow, Russia) had an assist and now has a three-game point streak heading into next weekend.
Nichols made 24 saves in the second period, setting a new Value City Arena record for saves in a period. His 46 saves is his highest total since a 44 save effort in a 1-0 win at Maine last season.
Following the overtime, the two teams held an exhibition penalty shot shootout. Tied 1-1 after the first three rounds, UConn won the shootout in sudden death thanks to Kasperi Ojantakanen (Helsinki, Finland).
The Husky power play struck twice in the first period, both off the stick of Thompson. UConn got their first at 2:30 as Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia) fired from the blue line with the rebound coming out to Morgan in the slot. He slid a pass to Thompson waiting in the circle who one-timed a shot past Frey for a 1-0 lead.
Thompson got his second at 9:45, blasting a wicked one-timer, bar down, off a feed from Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.). Letunov started the play feeding Masonius at the point.
Ohio State got one back at 12:11 as Jobst picked up his third on the season. Schilkey threw the puck on net off the right half boards where Jobst picked it up in front and was stopped by Nichols. The sophomore collected the rebound and put it home to cut the UConn lead to 2-1.
Masonius was called for a five-minute major and game misconduct for contact to the head with 52 seconds left in the first, giving the Buckeyes 4:08 left on a power play to start the second period.
The Huskies killed off the penalty but Ohio State would find the tying goal at 4:36. Matthew Weiss dug the puck out of the right corner and fed Schilkey in the slot who whipped a wrist shot past Nichols top-shelf to tie it at 2-2. It was Schilkey’s team-leading 10th goal on the season.
Ohio State dominated the shot chart in the second period, firing 25 shots on Nichols to just two shots for UConn.
The Buckeyes jumped in front 3-2 just 1:11 into the third, scoring on the power play. Gust notched his fourth goal of the weekend, burying a one-timer at the left post off a pretty feed by Jobst in the slot.
The Huskies got the tying goal at 10:20 off the stick of Morgan, his second on the weekend. Miles Gendron (Shrewsbury, Mass.) fired wide of the net and Morgan picked up the puck and swooped behind the net, coming around to whip a wrist shot past Frey.
Ohio State got two shots off in the overtime and the Huskies one. UConn was called for a penalty at 4:25 in the overtime for too many men on the ice and were able to kill off the remaining time to preserve the tie.
UConn will return home after five-straight on the road next Friday night to play host to Boston University in Hockey East action. Opening face-off is at 7:05 pm.
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