For the third straight year the University of Connecticut men’s hockey team was knocked out in the first round of Hockey East postseason play.
UConn went down fighting cutting two two-goal deficits in the second period against Northeastern, but could not complete the comeback as a major misconduct penalty on Evan Richardson in the third period sealed a 6-2 victory for Northeastern.
Adam Huska made a series of highlight-reel saves throughout the first two periods that kept UConn’s postseason hopes alive, but the NU power play was too much for UConn in the third.
Early in the first period, Brendan Collier scored at 4:09 for Northeastern. Lincoln Griffin and Matt Filipe got the assists as Northeastern scored off the faceoff. Northeastern pressured throughout the first half of the period, but late on UConn was able to produce some offense as Northeastern outshot UConn 10-9 in the period.
With Jeremy Davies one on one with Adam Huska with a little under 10 minutes left, the Slovenian made a clutch save to keep UConn alive.
At the tail end of the period with 11.9 seconds left Spencer Naas almost put UConn on the board, but Northeastern goalie Ryan Ruck made the goal line save.
There was a lot more action in the second period of play as four goals were scored.
Zach Aston-Reese doubled Northeastern's lead as he scored on the rebound as Northeastern had a three-on-two breakaway. Aston-Reese is the nation's leading scorer with 30 goals and 61 points on the season.
After a Huska save UConn flew across the ice and Max Kalter fired a shot that Ruck saved, but Brian Morgan put in the rebound for UConn’s first goal of the night.
Northeastern would answer shortly after as Dylan Gaudette places beat Huska off the power-play as Northeastern capitalized on the extra man to take a 3-1 lead.
UConn would pull within one-goal once again as Miles Gendron shot from around 30 feet and scored as the puck took a slight deflection and Ruckhad issues controlling the shot.
In the third period, senior Evan Richardson got called for major-game misconduct and was ejected for contact to the head with a hit on NU’s Garret Cockerill, which all but sealed the game for Northeastern as they capitalized on the major penalty with three power-play goals.
John Stevens scored to the right of Huska with 8:46 left. Sikura with the assist on the goal, which was Northeastern's second power play goal of the night.
Less than two minutes later Stevens scored another. Northeastern once again took advantage of the power play.Jeremy Davies scored the third power play goal of the period, ending a 3:31 span that saw three goals for NU.
With the win, Northeastern advances to the Hockey East semifinals against No. 1 seed UMass-Lowell and improves to 10-0-0 all-time against UConn. UConn has not won a Hockey East tournament game in its three seasons in the league, with its last postseason win coming against Robert Morris in the Atlantic Hockey quarterfinals in 2013.
Antonio Salazar is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.