Men's Hockey: Huskies lifeless in weekend series with Northeastern

Northeastern's Dylan Sakura (#9), Sam Kurker (#10), and Adam Gaudette (#8) celebrate a goal. UConn forward Kasperi Ojantakanen (#23) looks on from the crease as goalie Adam Huska's (#30) diving effort wasn't enough. (Mustafe Mussa/The Daily Campus)

Due to a lack of offense, the UConn men’s hockey team were swept by Northeastern this weekend losing 3-0 and 4-1.

UConn could not get their offense going this weekend and the scoreline showed it, as they were outscored 7-1 in the two games. The Huskies were held scoreless at home and did not score their first goal of the series until the second period of the second game.

“Tonight’s story of the game is that we didn’t generate any offense. I didn't like our first period. We weren't under siege but I just didn’t think we had a lot of jump or a lot of energy," head coach Mike Cavanaugh said after Friday's loss.

The Huskies have dropped back two spots in the Hockey East standings and have likely lost the chance to have home ice in the first round of the conference tournament. As things stand UConn would be visiting Merrimack in the first round of play in a best-of-three series.

On Friday night UConn welcomed Northeastern to the XL Center.

Through one period the teams were scoreless as UConn could not capitalize on their power play opportunity.

We weren’t under siege but I just didn’t think we had a lot of jump or a lot of energy.
— Mike Cavanaugh

At 12:52 in the second period, Northeastern took the lead. Sam Kurker put the puck in the roof of the net after a loose puck landed at his feet. Adam Gaudette and Dylan Sikura were credited with the assists on the goal.

The Huskies doubled their lead at 17:43 as Gaudette got on the scoresheet himself this time crashing into Adam Huska in the process. The goal was initially called a no-goal, but after review the call was reversed. Jeremy Davies got the assist on the play.

UConn’s offense picked up in the third getting off 11 of their 20 total shots off in the last period.

With 2:19 left Cavanaugh pulled Huska in attempt to mount a comeback, but Northeastern was able to take advantage of the open net and Kurker nabbed his second of the game on a breakaway.

“In the third period we showed a little more fight but it was not the energy we are used to with this team,” Cavanaugh said.

On Saturday the two teams faced off at Matthews Arena. UConn got off to a much better start out offensively outshooting Northeastern 13-11 in the first period, but Northeastern ended the period with three goals. The nation's leading scorer Aston-Reese scored back-to-back goals at 4:16 and 7:12 and Gaudette notched his third goal of the series and 23rd on the season at 12:12.

In the second period UConn was able to get a goal of their own scoring less than two minutes into the period. Max Letunov scored his eighth goal of the season snapping a five game scoreless run. Towards the end of the period Aston-Reese completed his hattrick notching his 27th goal of the season.

UConn's Benjamin Freeman looks to make a pass during the Huskies' game against Northeastern Friday, February 17, 2017. (Angie DeRosa/The Daily Campus)

“I thought for two periods, we played really well regardless of the score.  We were down 3-0 and we out-chanced them 27-13.  We played a great period of hockey and I told our guys to keep playing that way,” Cavanaugh said. “ Credit Northeastern. When they did get a chance they buried them."

The Huskies return to action next weekend to take on New Hampshire in a home and home series. The two games will have major implications on the Huskies postseason.


Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at antonio.salazar@uconn.edu.