When the Huskies lost goaltender Adam Huska to a left wrist injury, it looked like the season was about to slip from UConn.
Instead, the Huskies have rallied around senior goaltender Tanner Creel and have rattled off five straights wins, the longest streak since head coach Mike Cavanaugh took over. The only team in college hockey hotter than the Huskies is Boston University who have won their last six.
If the Huskies want to keep the streak alive, they’ll have to beat one of their toughest opponents of the season, No. 11-ranked Northeastern in their own building. Northeastern has won their last eight games at Matthews Arena.
Luckily for UConn, they might already have the blueprint for beating their Hockey East rivals. UConn came out on top in the two teams’ previous matchup, a November showdown in Hartford.
Northeastern had the edge in shots, 27-18, but UConn received goals from four different players to upset Northeastern 4-1. Northeastern has one of the deadliest offenses in all of Division I Hockey, averaging 3.39 goals per game, first in Hockey East.
UConn will have to do all they can to disrupt Northeastern’s offensive flow. They’ll have to play physical, get sticks in passing lanes and limit turnovers and even then it might not be enough.
That’s where Tanner Creel comes in. Since letting up 3 goals in a loss to Providence on Jan. 18, Creel has been lights out between the pipes. Creel is 5-1 as a starter this season with a .914 save percentage and a 2.51 goals against average. If those stats were extended over the full season, he would be fifth in Hockey East in both categories.
UConn’s offense also might be clicking at the right time to keep pace with Northeastern. Senior Corey Ronan won Hockey East Co-Player of the Week honors for his three-point performance last weekend that also included the game-winning goal against Boston College. Sophomores Benjamin Freeman and Wyatt Newpower also had career weekends, both registering a goal and an assist in their win at Brown. Freeman has now collected at least point in four straight games, the longest in his short college career.
UConn and Northeastern will drop the puck at 7:00 p.m. The game can be caught around New England on NESN.
Bryan Lambert is a staff writer for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.