HARTFORD, Conn. - UConn junior Alexander Payusov (Montreal, Quebec) scored a pair of goals as the Huskies came away with a 2-2 tie with New Hampshire in the Hockey East series opener Friday night from the XL Center.
The Huskies pick-up a point and end a nine-game Hockey East losing skid as they move to 7-14-2 overall and 2-10-2 in the league. The Wildcats see their record evened at 8-8-8 overall and 4-5-5 in the conference.
UNH's Max Gildon gave his team a 1-0 lead after the first before consecutive Payusov goals early in the second and then third periods put the Huskies in front 2-1. New Hampshire's Jackson Pierson scored the game-tying goal at 7:30 in the third to produce the final result.
UConn senior Karl El-Mir (Montreal, Quebec) extended his point streak to seven-straight games with the assist on Payusov's first goal. Freshman Jachym Kondelik (Bundejovice, Czech Republic) had a pair of assists to extend his point streak to six-straight.
Both teams scored on the power play with the Huskies going 1-for-5 and UNH going 1-for-4. Junior goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) stopped 29 saves while UNH goaltender Mike Robinson stopped 23.
UNH got the game's first power play and took advantage, taking a 1-0 lead at 4:20 on Gildon's fourth of the season. The sophomore defenseman took the puck from Ara Nazarian on the right half boards and circled back to the high point. Gildon threw the puck on net through traffic and beat Huska low to produce the period's only goal.
The Huskies had 30 seconds left on a power play to open the second period that UNH was able to kill off but UConn did a nice job of keeping possession of the puck and struck for the tying goal at 49 seconds. Kondelik dug the puck off the boards and got it to El-Mir who fed Payusov in the left circle. The junior buried the one-timer for his team-leading 12th on the season, tying it at 1-1.
UConn made it 2-1 on with an early third period goal, coming just before their fifth power play chance of the night expired. Kondelik battled to keep the puck in the zone and sophomore Adam Karaskik (Ridgefield, Conn.) fed Payusov in the slot and he stuck a wrister past Robinson for his 13th and a 2-1 lead at 3:41.
The Wildcats would knot it back up at the 7:30 mark. Pierson took a feed from Charlie Kelleher on the left wing and fought his way to the net, burying one top shelf for his seventh on the season to pull the game even at 2-2.
The Wildcats put two shots on goal to the Huskies' one in the extra session and just missed ending the game with just over a minute to go. Coming off an odd man rush, junior Liam Blackburn rang one off the post but the Huskies cleared away the loose puck on the way to preserving the tie.
The Huskies and Wildcats will meet again on Saturday night from the Whittemore Center in Durham, N.H. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7 pm and the game is available on ESPN+.