On Tuesday evening in Boston, Massachusetts, the University of Connecticut Huskies took on the No. 20 Northeastern University Huskies in a game that proved to be quite the dogfight. Both teams came into this game with relatively slow offenses and great defense, but you wouldn’t know it from watching this one.
After a number of icing infractions to begin the contest, this game got off to quite the fast start. In just the fifth minute of action, Northeastern’s Tyler Spott dished it to Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, who sent a pass to Ty Jackson, who was in perfect position right in front of UConn keeper Hanson and the net. Jackson collected the pass and did a nice two-touch move to maneuver the puck past Hanson to take the lead for Northeastern.
In the ninth minute, Connecticut missed a few nice opportunities and the frustration led to sophomore Nick Capone committing a cross-checking penalty. Despite this, grad student Kevin O’Neil broke away for a menacing, shorthanded one-on-one with keeper Devon Levi, who saved the initial shot and the follow up attempt.
Northeastern failed to capitalize on the power play, and fresh after Capone exited the penalty box, the puck found the sophomore and he ended up with a breakaway alone against Levi. After a few touches, Capone drilled the beautiful equalizer.
With four minutes left in the first period, UConn developed a nice offensive attack that saw Junior Vladislav Firstov get the puck on the right side of the ice from Ryan Tverberg. He delivered an uninteresting pass in the middle to Ryan Wheeler, who hit a long shot that snuck past Levi to take the lead.
Not two minutes later, O’Neil sliced through the left side of the defense on the break and dished it to a trailing Capone in the middle, who put the puck past Levi to take a 3-1 lead for his second score of the game to conclude the first period.
Looking for some increased effort coming out of the locker room, Northeastern began playing with some increased physicality. Evidently, this led to a hooking penalty on Matt Choupani. Interestingly, Northeastern was the team that ended up with the best opportunity here, despite being shorthanded, with a one on one between Fontaine and Hanson that ended up as a save for the grad student. Just 12 seconds later, Fontaine launched another shot that hit the pipe to keep things unchanged.
On a nice drive by Northeastern, Connecticut’s Roman Kinal committed a hooking penalty to give the Huskies a power play. Halfway through the power play, junior Aidan McDonough broke his stick on a shot, which was directly followed by a tripping penalty by Marc Gatcomb. Not too long after that, in the 33rd minute of play on the three on five, a scrum in front of the goal formed and McDonough drilled the puck into the net, while keeping his stick intact this time, reducing the difference to one goal.
With a bit over four minutes to play, Tverberg dealt it to Capone, who sent the puck to freshman Chase Bradley right in front of the net with Levi out of position. Bradley stuck it in for his first collegiate goal to extend the Connecticut advantage to 4-2.
Just 15 seconds into a new power play from a Capone boarding call, Jordan Harris gave it to McDonough, who delivered the puck to Justin Hryckowian, who netted Northeastern’s second power play goal of the period.
Less than a minute later, Gatcomb got the puck from a Jonny Evans pass and sent it into the back of the net to increase the UConn lead to 5-3 to end the period.
Only four and a half minutes into the final segment of play, Wheeler pushed Jackson into the UConn goal after a failed Northeastern attempt, leading to a powerplay that ended up without any goals.
The final 15 minutes of action was uneventful thanks to Hanson’s impressive goalkeeping, giving UConn a much needed 5-3 victory on the road against a ranked Northeastern squad. The game was Connecticut’s third straight win in the series, making it 6-10 in favor of Northeastern.
Capone’s Masterpiece — Capone had a game to remember, notching two goals with an assist to go with it. These goals were the sophomore’s first two of the season, which is a promising sign moving forward that he will certainly look to build on. Having this type of performance against a ranked team is also a good omen and perhaps we will be seeing more big games from him moving forward.
Hanson’s Handiwork — Despite surrendering three goals to a Northeastern team that doesn’t have much of an offense, the grad transfer keeper from Union College put on an excellent show. He kept things steady when it mattered, not giving anything up in the third period. Hopefully the goaltender can keep up the good work, as Hockey East play starts to get into full swing.
Skid Stopped — After dropping two straight on the road to unranked Ohio State, Mike Cavanaugh’s squad likely had a much more pleasant bus ride back to Storrs with this win under their belt. It’s the team’s second ranked win of the season, with their first coming within a mile of last night’s at Boston University. It seemed like the Huskies always had an answer to Northeastern’s attack and stayed the course thanks to Cavanaugh’s words.
This Saturday, the Huskies will travel to Hanover, New Hampshire to take on Dartmouth.