Matt Grew had a hand in each Connecticut score with a goal and three assists, but Mercyhurst rallied to a 4-4 tie Friday night with a goal in the final minutes.
With UConn leading late, Mercyhurst tied the score after UConn’s Beau McLaughin was assessed a high-sticking penalty. Pete Rynshoven scored with 1:26 left on the clock for the draw.
Even with the tie, the Lakers are now winless in their last six games while the Huskies are winless in their last four. Mercyhurst is now 4-9-2 overall and 4-2-2 in the MAAC, while UConn is 4-11-2 and 3-6-2, respectively.
Despite being outshot 40-26, the Huskies trailed only once in the game, 3-2 early in the third period. Connecticut broke on top at 5:01 of the first period on a power-play goal by sophomore forward Tim Olsen.
The Lakers tied it at 9:15 of the first on the third of the year by junior forward Shane Relihan, helped by senior forward P.J. Hiscock and sophomore defenseman T.J. Kemp.
UConn wasted little time in reclaiming the lead when sophomore forward Grew scored at 9:32. There was no further scoring in the period as Mercyhurst outshot the Huskies 14-8.
Mercyhurst junior forward Mike Carter scored the second period’s lone goal, his fourth, at 8:29 with help from freshman forward Scott Reynolds and sophomore forward David Wrigley. Mercyhurst outshot UConn again by an 8-5 count.
The third period was packed with plenty of action, including four goals and a Connecticut penalty shot.
With the Lakers down a man early in the third, referee Gary Hughes awarded the Huskies the shot, ruling that a Mercyhurst player covered the puck with his glove in the crease. Grew was chosen and ultimately stopped by Mercyhurst junior goalie Matt Cefelli just 1:15 into the third period.
The rejuvenated Lakers killed the remainder of the penalty and then took their first lead when Wrigley found the back of the net at 3:26 with help from senior forward Adam Rivers.
But Connecticut would not fold, and scored back-to-back goals later in the period (senior forward D.J. Miller at 7:54 and senior forward Kurt Kamienski at 14:09) to move ahead 4-3.
But UConn took the late penalty and, following a Mercyhurst timeout, junior forward Rynshoven knotted things at 4-4 with his second goal of the campaign.
Rynshoven, who had missed the prior six games because of injury, was assisted by sophomore forward Rich Hansen and junior forward Adam Tackaberry. Both teams had chances in the game’s final seconds and the five-minute overtime, but couldn’t capitalize.
Cifelli stopped 22 of 26 Connecticut shots while UConn sophomore goalie Jason Carey snared 36 of 40, including Wrigley’s point blank shot with 43 seconds left in regulation.
The tie snapped a streak of seven straight Mercyhurst wins against the Huskies, including a 6-2 win at Connecticut earlier in the season. The two teams will conclude the weekend engagement Saturday at 7 p.m.