HARTFORD, Conn. - UConn junior Joey Ferriss (Novi, Mich.) scored his first goal of the season as the Huskies and Rensselaer Engineers skated to a 1-1 tie Tuesday night in a non-conference match-up in front of 3,879 fans at the XL Center in Hartford. The Huskies are now 2-5-4 overall on the season and return to Hockey East play this weekend hosting No. 11 ranked Vermont and No. 3 ranked Boston University.
RPI, now 5-7-1 overall on the season, got a 33 save night from senior goaltender Scott Diebold who stopped 13 UConn shots in the third period to help preserve the draw. RPI's Drew Melanson scored the lone Engineer goal, his first of the season, in the closing seconds of the second period.
The Huskies killed off a first period RPI power play, running their streak to 16-straight kills dating back five games. UConn went 0-for-4 with the extra skater on Tuesday night, coming up short on some quality chances in front by Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) on the Huskies lone first period power play.
Ferriss got the Huskies on the board at 2:57 of the second period, scoring his first of the season. Freshman David Drake (Naperville, Ill.) fed the puck to Ferriss in the neutral zone, getting the sophomore forward in good position to challenge the RPI defense. Ferriss turned on the jets and beat the defender to the front of the net where he deposited the puck past Diebold, glove side for a 1-0 lead.
The Engineers turned up the offensive pressure and at the nine minute mark got a breakaway as Viktor Liljegren came in from the right win on Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) but was denied. Just a minute later, Mark Miller rang the post for RPI. In the closing seconds of the period, RPI earned a power play as UConn's Trevor Gerling (Seattle, Wash.) was whistled for hooking at 19:39.
RPI found the equalizing goal with just 2.3 seconds on the clock on a Melanson one-timer. Matt Neal collected the puck on the left wing and fired a pass to Melanson who was waiting at the post, one-timing past Nichols for his first on the year. The power play goal was the first allowed by the Huskies since skating to a 2-2 tie with Merrimack on October 31st.
The Huskies played their strongest hockey of the night in the third period, getting off 13 shots while forcing Nichols to make just four saves. UConn got a three-on-two breakout just over four minutes into the period but Cody Sharib (Needham, Mass.) was denied at the right post. Just over 1:30 later, sophomore Evan Richardson (Nanaimo, British Columbia) threw a wrist shot of the right post on a two-on-one break. Gerling followed that with a one-timer blast from the point that Diebold just got his skate on to keep the game tied.
After keeping the Huskies at bay in the third, the Engineers turned the tables in overtime and rang up seven shots on goal, keeping the Huskies buried in their zone for stretches. Nichols was up to the task and finished the night with 24 stops to preserve the tie.
The Huskies finished with a season-high 34 shots on goal while holding RPI to 25.
The Huskies are back at home and return to Hockey East play when they host the #10 ranked Vermont Catamounts Friday night at the XL Center. The opening face-off is scheduled for 5:30 pm.