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UConn men’s hockey ties No. 12 Providence, 3-3

The Huskies play with a highly-ranked opponent once again.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

UConn men’s hockey battled to a 3-3 draw against the No. 12 Providence Friars on Friday night, a fair result for both sides all things considered.

Here’s what went down:

Rollercoaster ride

It was a wild back-and-forth affair with both teams taking a lead at one point but neither going ahead by more than one goal.

Providence opened the scoring when Tyce Thompson — the younger brother of former UConn star Tage Thompson — finished a rebound off a save from Huskies’ goaltender Tomas Vomacka.

However, UConn closed to period with two unanswered goals: the first a tip-in from Benjamin Freeman off a shot from Yan Kuznetsov; the other a lightning-quick wrister from Carter Turnbull from a face-off.

In the second period, the visitors netted a pair of strange goals to re-take the lead, 3-2. The first was shot from the side that somehow wiggled its way past Vomacka’s pads and into the net just as a scrum dislodged the post. On the second, Carter Berger’s attempted clearance hit Zac Robbins and landed right in front of Jack Dugan, who buried it into the goal.

The Huskies drew even once again in the third period thanks to a play of individual brilliance by Turnbull. The sophomore got the puck in UConn’s defensive zone, charged up the left wing towards net, deked out the goaltender and flicked it into the open net. If it wasn’t the best, it’s certainly in contention for the Huskies’ Goal of the Year.

Power play struggles

While a tie against the No. 12 team in the country is nothing to scoff at, UConn probably won’t be totally thrilled with its performance. The Huskies went 0-for-6 on the power play on the night and didn’t look particularly threatening on all but one of them.

Despite the extra skater, UConn struggled to possess the puck in the offensive zone and even when it did, the team just passed it around and only fired a handful of shots at net.

On one power play, the Huskies flashed the unit’s potential by peppering the net with shots and even hitting the post but just couldn’t light the lamp. Other than that two-minute span, it was a tough night for UConn’s power play.

Overall, the power play continues to be a major area of weakness for the Huskies. Entering the weekend, UConn ranked 50 out 60 teams in the country in power play percentage of .111. After Friday night, it has scored three times on 33 changes, .091 percent.

Missed opportunities

Along with the toothless power play, UConn will be kicking itself for its missed chances throughout the night. The Huskies caught Providence on the break numerous times but just couldn’t beat goaltender Michael Lackey.

In the second period, Jordan Timmons forced a turnover right in front of the Friars’ net but couldn’t finish. In the third period, Brian Rigali broke free after his defender fell down but had his shot turned away. Similarly, Benjamin Freeman streaked towards net with no defense after catching Providence on a shift change but failed to beat Lackey.

Between those chances and the power plays, UConn certainly didn’t lack the opportunities to put another goal or two on the board.

UConn goals

Other notes

  • Ruslan Iskhakov was a late scratch due to an illness. The team hopes he’ll be available for Saturday’s game, though that’s still up in the air.
  • The Huskies unbeaten streak is now three games, all of which have come against a ranked team.
  • For the second Friday in a row, UConn tied the No. 12 team in the country 3-3 at the XL Center.
  • UConn earns points against Providence for just the third time in Hockey East. The Huskies’ are now 1-8-2 in conference play against the Friars.

Up next

UConn makes the return trip to Providence on Saturday at 7 p.m. looking to claim three out of four points the hard way for the second weekend in a row.