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UConn Men’s Hockey Ties No. 4 UMass Lowell, 2-2

The Huskies picked up a valuable three points across their weekend series.

Spencer Naas follows through on UConn’s first goal in the second period.
Spencer Naas follows through on UConn’s first goal in the second period.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

After winning in Lowell on Friday night, the UConn men’s hockey team skated to a 2-2 tie against the No. 4 UMass Lowell River Hawks on Saturday at the XL Center.

“They’ve given us a hard time the last few years,” Lowell head coach Norm Bazin said postgame.

Spencer Naas scored his seventh of the year, while Karl El-Mir picked up the game-tying goal late in the second period. Freshman goalie Adam Huska made 34 saves on 36 shots on the afternoon.

“He had a great weekend. You look at Adam, he has three wins on the road versus Notre Dame, BU and Lowell,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said after the game.

The first period was all UConn. They spent almost the entire first five minutes in the offensive zone and when the River Hawks had the puck, it was often for short amounts of time and they were not able to get multiple shots off in one possession.

“I think our guys came out hungry,” Cavanaugh said. “I think that’s the sign of a good team, that they don’t rest on their laurels from the win the night before.”

UConn could not convert on their 12-to-6 lead in shots as the game was in a scoreless tie after 20 minutes.

Naas opened the scoring 6:33 into the second period with a breakaway goal. Miles Gendron poked the puck out to center ice and the junior assistant captain did the rest, beating the Lowell defense.

Less than two minutes later, UMass Lowell’s vaunted power play broke through after being 0-for-17 in their last three games plus this afternoon. Michael Kapla scored his first of the year to tie it 8:25 into the second.

John Edwardh beat Huska short side from the left circle at 14:05 to take the lead for Lowell, but UConn stormed back to score before the period was through.

Joe Masonius took a pass from Max Kalter and took a hard shot from the left point. El-Mir deflected it in 18:57 into the period to tie the game up at two.

“Part of our game plan was to get pucks to the point,” Cavanaugh said. “They really will collapse down low.”

The third period, especially in the final minutes, saw chance after chance for both sides. UConn held a slight edge in shots (12-to-11) with many more close calls. However, no one could push one through.

“We were trying to get the game winner,” Bazin said. “They had the momentum there for a minute or so. Sometimes you have to bend and not break.”

After nothing was settled in regulation, the two teams battled through a scoreless overtime to complete the game in a tie.

UConn (5-6-6, 3-3-2) has one more game before the holiday break, against UMass at the XL Center. Puck drop is at 6:30 p.m.

Photo gallery:

UConn’s Mike Cavanaugh, Adam Huska & UMass Lowell’s Norm Bazin: