HARTFORD, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team got goals from junior Spencer Naas (Minnetonka, Minn.) and sophomore Karl El-Mir (Montreal, Quebec) and 34 saves from freshman Adam Huska (Zvolen, Sweden) to come away with a 2-2 tie with No. 4/3 nationally ranked UMass Lowell Saturday afternoon from the XL Center. The Huskies take the three points on the weekend and are now 5-6-6 overall and 3-3-2 in Hockey East. The River Hawks are 8-5-3 and 4-3-1 in the league.
The two teams did all their scoring in the second period as the Huskies scored late in the period to tie the game at 2-2. For the second-straight night, Naas opened the scoring by picking up his seventh on the year at 6:33 in the second.
The River Hawks responded with a power play goal by Michael Kapla, his first of the season, and one from John Edwardh to take a 2-1 lead at 14:05 in the second. The Huskies struck for the tying goal at 18:57 as El-Mir got a deflection in front for his sixth goal on the season and a 2-2 tie.
Both teams got off 36 shots on the night with UMass Lowell going 1-for-3 on the power play and UConn going 0-for-3 with the extra skater. UMass Lowell freshman Garrett Metcalf got the start in goal and posted 34 saves in his season debut.
Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh – “I thought it was a terrific college hockey game. We knew that they were going to come out and play extremely hard. I knew they weren’t happy with their effort last night, and I thought we responded really well. We played an excellent first period. In the second period, Spencer had a nice goal to get us going. They scored a couple, and we stuck with our game plan, which I was really happy about. We didn’t get out-of-whack, and we were able to tie the game up. And then in the third period, it was a great hockey game: tremendous saves by Adam, and their kid Metcalf made some great saves as well. It was back and forth, and I don’t think the fans got cheated tonight for sure.”
For the second-straight season UConn took the season series with UMass Lowell. The Huskies are unbeaten in their last five meetings with the River Hawks (4-0-1). All five meetings have come with UMass Lowell being ranked in the top-five nationally.
The Huskies are now 3-5-2 this season against teams ranked in the national poll and 3-4-1 against teams ranked in the top-five.
Huska finished the weekend with a win and a tie against the River Hawks and is now 3-1-2 in Hockey East action this season.
Naas picked-up his seventh goal on the season, putting him second on the club in goals behind sophomore Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) who has 10.
El-Mir has six goals on the season, doubling his goal output from his freshman campaign.
The two teams played a scoreless first period. The Huskies got a pair of power play chances while the River Hawks had one. UConn doubled up UMass Lowell on the shot chart, 13-6.
The two teams scored both of their goals in the second period Saturday afternoon. The River Hawks held a 17-11 edge on the shot chart.
UConn’s Naas opened the scoring, picking up the puck in the neutral zone after Miles Gendron (Shrewsbury, Mass.) created a turnover. Naas drove to the left and fired a wrister to the far post, beating Metcalf glove side.
The River Hawks tied it at 8:25 with a power play goal as Michael Kapla scored his first of the year, finishing a pass from John Edwardh in front. Edwardh made it 2-1 UML at 14:05, finishing a feed from Joe Gambardella in the slot for his seventh.
The Huskies pulled even in the closing minutes of the period as El-Mir got position near the left post and was able to deflect a Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) shot from the point past Metcalf to make it 2-2 at 18:57.
Both Huska and Metcalf shined in the third period, keeping their opponents off the scoreboard with some solid saves. Metcalf turned away 12 while Huska nearly matched him with 11 stops. UConn got one power play chance in the third period and got four shots on Metcalf but couldn’t crack the netminder.
Shots went in favor of UML in the extra session, 2-1.
UConn will play host to UMass on Friday, December 9th at 6:30 pm. The game will be televised on American Sports Network (ASN) and on NESN.
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