SCHENECTADY, N.Y. — Union was running on all cylinders heading into Thursday night’s game with Connecticut, outscoring visiting opponents 29-7 to begin the season.
The 16th-ranked Dutchmen jumped out to an early three-goal lead and looked to be on their way to another blowout of a visiting Atlantic Hockey team. But the Huskies came alive in the second period when they scored three consecutive goals, the final one coming with 2:13 left in the period, to tie the game, and were able to hold on for an impressive come-from-behind 3-3 tie.
“We got up and thought the rest of the game was going to be easy,” Union coach Nate Leaman said. “After we scored the third goal we got soft and complacent.”
It was UConn’s second 3-3 tie against a ranked opponent this season; they opened the season with a 3-3 tie at No. 7 Maine.
“Being in that experience is good,” UConn coach Bruce Marshall said. “Learning how to play in tough buildings gives us some confidence.”
Union’s quick start began exactly halfway through the first frame when Kyle Bodie scored his first goal of the season.
The play was initiated by a Greg Coburn shot from the blue line that sailed high and over the net. Luckily for the Dutchmen, the puck caromed off the glass and right on to the stick of Bodie, who was situated on the left side of the net. Bodie corralled the puck and put it into the Huskies’ net, catching UConn goalie Garrett Bartus out of position.
A little over three minutes later, Union’s national-leading power-play unit went to work for the first time. The Dutchmen capitalized with 27 seconds remaining in the man advantage when Daniel Carr gave his team a 2-0 lead.
Jeremy Welsh blasted a shot from the point that was deflected in front by Josh Jooris. With the puck sitting in the slot, Carr scooped it up and fired into the left side of the net.
Union extended its lead to three within the first few minutes of the middle period when Welsh scored off of a drop pass from Carr to the left of Bartus.
The Dutchmen went on the power play about 10 minutes later and looked to put the game away. But, the Huskies wouldn’t allow it as they scored a goal while down a skater.
With just a few seconds left in the man advantage, Cole Schneider flew down the right side of the ice and beat a Union defender. He took a shot that Union goaltender Troy Grosenick, who was making his first career start, was able to get a pad on, but the rebound landed right on the stick of Jordan Sims, who knocked the puck into the empty net for his first goal of the season.
“Short-handed goals are always nice,” Marshall said. “It gave the bench some momentum.”
The Huskies built off the momentum for the remainder of the period.
UConn cut the Union lead to one about three minutes later when Sean Ambrosie put a backhand shot from the slot past Grosenick off of a broken play just seconds after a Union penalty expired.
The game-tying goal was Sims’ second of the night. The play commenced when Union’s Mat Bodie turned the puck over to James Gallagher on the left boards at the Union blue line. Gallagher slipped the puck to Rui Encarnaco, who passed the puck cross ice to Sims. Sims received the pass and beat Grosenick over his glove.
“I was just waiting back door,” Sims said. “Rui made a good pass.”
It was the third time in seven games that the Dutchmen relinquished a three-goal lead.
“It’s the third time we’ve let the team back into it,” Union captain Brock Matheson said. “We’ve just got to understand how to put the nail in the coffin.”
Union had the best chance to win the game in the third period when Welsh skated in on a two-on-two and hit the right post with about 1:25 remaining in regulation.
In the extra frame, each team had decent scoring opportunities, but neither team was able to bury the puck, ending the game in a tie.
The Huskies will head home for the first time this season as they take on Canisius to open Atlantic Hockey play, while Union heads to Lake Placid to take on rival Rensselaer in the Halloween Faceoff.