2/19/16: Northeastern 5, UConn 2
The real Huskies continue to roll as they easily dispatch their Connecticut namesake. While it wasn’t the repeat bloodbath we all hoped for, it was still another good performance from Northeastern.
The first game was very reminiscent of last year’s series. Northeastern dominated UConn. Although UConn’s Tage Thompson continued his good run by scoring early, Northeastern quickly quieted them. After the Connecticut goal, NU scored four times in a ten minute period. UConn, in a change of pace from last year, actually pulled Rob Nichols in the first period. While that move succeeded in stopping Northeastern from scoring (other than the empty netter), it didn’t help the rest of the team out there. NU continued to pretty easily control the game. There was a period of time where our Huskies had it in the other Huskies’ zone for over four minutes. It was bad.
The next game, at Historic Matthews Arena, was a slightly different tale. A pretty even first period ended without a score, but the powerplay came through once gain for Northeastern in the second. They put up two on a five minute interference call on UConn. Connecticut was able to put a rebound past Ruck, and things started to look a little murkier than they previously had for NU, but a weird angle Kurker goal early in the third put Northeastern back up by two. Our Huskies were able to hold off a physical, high pressure opponent in that game, but it wasn’t as easy as the previous three games against them. They were able to stay (relatively) disciplined, which is a nice improvement from the first half of the season. The powerplay continues to be a strong point for Northeastern, scoring twice in each game, and contributing to one of my favorite recent developments: random Cockerill shots from the point resulting in goals.
With the sweep of UConn and two losses from Vermont on the weekend, Northeastern locks up sixth place in the Hockey East tournament. It will be a first round matchup against a recent opponent either way for the Huskies, as UConn and Maine are tied for that eleventh spot in the standings. My guess would be that it’s Maine, as they’re less likely to get points against Northeastern next weekend than UConn is against UNH. Either way, with this run the Huskies have set themselves up nicely for the tournament.