By JERRY TRECKER
Special to the Chronicle
Jesse Schwartz backhanded home the tying goal in the final minutes Saturday afternoon to complete a personal 3-goal weekend and get the University of Connecticut men a deserved 1-1 tie with nationally-ranked Ohio State, a needed reward from the weekend series.
Schwartz, who had scored twice Friday in an opening-night loss, finished with assists from Adam Karashik and Karl El-Mir at the 16:41 mark of the third period to give the Huskies (3-8-2) full value for working to the end of a tight, spirited battle. UConn dominated the 5-minute overtime but could not find a game-winner.
Adam Huska was a standout in goal for UConn, especially in the middle period when he had to fend off Ohio State power-play chances. He finished with 24 saves.
Friday night's 5-4 loss was a season-long deja vu all over again. The Huskies fell into an all-too-familiar 3-0 hole and ultimately were unable to completely dig their way out. Missing a penalty shot and failing to score on a 5-minute power play in the final 10 minutes of the game also contributed to the defeat.
Backup goalie Tanner Creel got his second start of the year but rebounds were a first-period problem, Matthew Weis scoring twice as the Buckeyes took a 2-0 lead. Creel seemed to lose sight of the puck when Dakota Joseph made it 3-0 early in the second, but that goal was a signal for the Husky revival.
Schwartz and Spencer Naas scored for UConn but, in between, Benjamin Freeman could not convert a penalty shot after he was pulled down on a clean breakaway. As a result, Ohio State carried the 3-2 lead into the third and immediately added a Mason Jobst power-play goal to regain the 2-goal advantage.
Schwartz scored again for UConn but Christian Lampasso answered a minute later, forcing Cavanaugh to hook Creel for Huska. That shut the door on the Buckeyes, but the Huskies failed to score when Lampasso collected a major penalty and Max Kalter's tally with 2:46 left was nothing more than a tantalizing reminder of how costly the early deficit had been.
It's back to Hockey East action next weekend as the Huskies go to UMass-Lowell Friday (7:15 p.m.) before hosting the River Hawks Saturday (3:35 p.m.) at the XL Center.
The UConn women (4-4-3 overall, 0-3-2 WHEA) had a frustrating weekend, tied in the final minute Friday night at Boston University, then beaten 35 seconds into overtime Sunday at Maine.
Michelle Weis scored the winner for the Black Bears 12 seconds after a carry-over power play had ended to give Maine the 4-3 victory. UConn had come from behind twice to tie it, freshmen Natalie Snodgrass netting twice and Savannah Bouzide, once.
Justine Fredette and Snodgrass staked the women to a 2-1 Friday night lead but BU pulled its goaltender and scored with 50 seconds left in regulation time to grab a 2-2 tie.