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Hockey East: UConn ties up BC

In Boston College's first game after head coach Jerry York earned his 1,000th career victory, the Eagles skated to a 3-3 tie with UConn on Saturday at Conte Forum.

Matt Dewkett

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. -- A night after Boston College head coach Jerry York earned his 1,000th career head coaching victory, it was only fitting that former assistant Mike Cavanaugh brought his University of Connecticut team to Chestnut Hill on Saturday.

The Huskies gave York and the fourth-ranked Eagles everything they could handle as the teams skated to a 3-3 tie in their second and final Hockey East meeting of the season.

UConn freshman Max Letunov scored his team-leading 11th goal of the season at the 11:10 mark of the third period, responding the Eagles' go-ahead marker in two consecutive periods.

The teams finished dead even in the shots on goal department, 31-31.

For Cavanaugh, who assisted York on the BC bench from 1995-2013, the game was an excellent bounce-back effort from Friday's 4-2 loss to Vermont.

"I was clearly very excited and pleased with the effort that our team showed tonight," Cavanaugh said. "I challenged them to play a 60-minute game, or 65, whatever it was going to take. I think I can sit here and say we did."

BC, which beat UMass by a 8-0 score for York's 1,000th win on Friday night in Amherst, sees its record move to 16-4-4 on the season and 9-1-4 in Hockey East play.

"It was a really even hockey game, if you look at it," York said. "Connecticut battled us for the 65 minutes and there was not much difference in the clubs tonight. I thought there were stretches that we played very, very well at, and there were stretches that UConn kind of took over."

The teams played a pretty entertaining first period, which finished in a 1-1 tie and with BC holding a slim 12-11 shots on goal advantage.

It was actually the Huskies that found the back of the net first as sophomore Jesse Schwartz scored his third goal of the season at the 7:16 marker. BC junior Thatcher Demko left a big rebound out in the slot, but Schwartz cleaned up the loose puck to propel the visitors ahead.

Senior Travis Jeke leveled the score at 17:05, taking junior Chris Calnan's cross-ice pass and beating UConn's Tanner Creel from just outside the crease. Jeke's goal was just his second this season and the fifth of his career.

BC jumped out to its first lead of the night 2:30 into the second as sophomore Alex Tuch strode down the right wing and fired a perfectly placed shot off the post and over Creel's shoulder.

"It's really similar to his freshman year. He started real slow and then came on like a real big-time player late last year," York said of Tuch. "He started slow for us, but then kicked it into gear right after Christmas. We look forward to him being this type of player down the stretch."

Creel faced the bulk of his work in the first period, stopping 11 of the 12 shots he faced. He stopped nine more in the third and one in overtime for a 28-save performance.

"He was good," Cavanaugh said. "I told him before the game that Tom Brady was a backup one time too. We buy equipment for him, he has a jersey. You have to expect he's going to play. To his credit, Robby is our No. 1 goaltender and he's worked hard."

The Eagles' lead was short lived in the middle stages of the period as UConn captain Patrick Kirtland ripped a hard shot from the far side at 7:28. Kirtland's goal leveled the score at 2-2 and broke his four-game scoreless drought.

"I don't think it was one of those games like last year where we needed 45 saves and acrobatic saves to beat them," Cavanaugh said. "We played a very solid game and I was very happy with our performance."

As he has done all season, however, BC freshman Colin White came through in the clutch and gave the hosts their second lead of the night at 16:15.

The Hanover, Mass., native continued his team-leading offensive effort, scoring his 14th goal of the season on a rebound effort in the low slot. White cleaned up an errant puck that came off sophomore Zach Sanford's initial try for his third goal in four games.

Letunov tied the score for the ultimate time with a perfect shot from the slot for the lone goal of the third period. He took freshman Tage Thompson's pass and roofed a shot over Demko from just above the tops of the circles.

It was a special night for York and Cavanaugh, but York's former "student" was certainly happy not to be victim to career victory No. 1,001.

"I'm glad he got it (on Friday)," Cavanaugh said. "I helped him get enough, he didn't need to get one more."