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UConn Men’s Hockey Battles Back To Tie Merrimack, 2-2

The Huskies and Warriors tie for the third straight game.

Joe Masonius had game-tying goal for UConn.
Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Mike Cavanaugh’s UConn Huskies and Merrimack couldn’t find a difference on Friday night at Lawler Rink in North Andover, Massachusetts as the two teams skated to a 2-2 tie.

David Drake and Joe Masonius scored the UConn goals while Rob Nichols made 39 saves, his second-highest total on the year.

The first 20 minutes did not go very well for the Huskies, but they were able to escape with a scoreless tie thanks to the play of Rob Nichols, who made eight saves, including stops on three Warrior chances in the first three minutes. Two of them occurred while the Huskies had a man advantage. Merrimack was playing like the better team.

“We didn’t come out as strong as we wanted to,” Nichols said. “We were on our heels there for a bit.”

The play was more balanced in the middle period, but the Warriors ended it with the lead.

Hampus Gustafsson kicked off the scoring 6:43 into the first period. He and Brett Seney found themselves behind the UConn defense and Gustafsson beat Nichols on the rush to make it 1-0.

Less than 90 seconds later, Merrimack scored on the power play to make it 2-0.

Jared Kolquist took a feed from Seney, who had two assists, and scored on what was Merrimack’s only power play shot in three chances.

“Our penalty kill has been strong all year long,” Cavanaugh said. “They made a great play.”

Drake scored his third of the year on assists from Jesse Schwartz and Evan Richardson to make it 2-1 when he beat Collin Delia from the top of the left circle.

“Dave was there, picked his head up, saw an opening and made a great shot,” Masonius said.

Masonius would net the game-tying goal with under a minute left.

Tage Thompson sent the puck from the left half-boards over to Masonius at the center point. His shot had eyes and found the back of the net with 33 seconds left.

“Luckily the rebound came out right to Tage and he just hit me with a pass as quick as he could,” Masonius said. “It was more getting pucks to the net.”

The two teams went to overtime and couldn’t be separated after the five-minute extra session even though Merrimack led in shots, 7-to-1.

UConn (10-10-7, 6-6-3) will take on the Warriors again Saturday at the XL Center. Puck drop is at 3:05 p.m.

Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh, Joe Masonius, Rob Nichols Postgame: