HARTFORD, Conn. – Northeastern got a pair of goals from Sam Kurker and a 20 save effort from goaltender Ryan Ruck to post a 3-0 win over the UConn Huskies Friday night from the XL Center in Hartford. The Huskies were shutout for the second time this season and the first time at home since November of 2015 as they drop their third-straight.
UConn falls to 10-13-8 overall and 6-9-4 in Hockey East with the loss while Northeastern picks-up their third-straight win to improve to 14-12-5 overall and 7-9-3 in the league.
Ruck made 11 of his 20 saves in the third period on the way to earning his first shutout win on the season. NU’s Adam Gaudette scored the Huskies’ other goal and added a pair of assists for a three-point night.
After a scoreless first period, Northeastern chipped in two in the second from Kurker and Gaudette. The NU defense continued to clamp down in the third and Kurker added an empty net goal at 18:23 to seal off the important league win.
Freshman goaltender Adam Huska (Zvolen, Slovakia) made 30 saves in taking the loss for UConn.
Northeastern jumps the Huskies in the Hockey East standings into ninth place, one point ahead of UConn in 10th.
Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh – “"I think the story of the game is that we didn’t generate any offense or get our crowd into the game. I didn’t like our first period. We weren’t under siege, but I didn’t think we had a lot of jump or a lot of energy. The second period was more of the same. In the third period, we showed a little bit of fight and got a few more pucks to the net, but we didn’t have the energy that we used to with this team. It’s something that we have to figure out - something that I have to figure out - and our players need to come together as a group. Its game 31 today, and to not have the type of energy you need when getting ready for the playoffs was disappointing. As a coaching staff we need to be better, and as a team we need to be better."
Northeastern remains unbeaten in the all-time series with UConn, moving to 7-0-0 all-time. UConn is 0-3-0 at the XL Center against NU, falling by a combined score of 14-3.
The last time UConn was shutout at home in the XL Center it was a 2-0 loss to Army on November 10, 2015. The Huskies only other shutout loss this year came against Maine, 4-0, at Frozen Fenway.
Huska’s 30 saves marked the 12th time this season he has stopped 30 or more shots in a game.
The two teams skated to a scoreless first period with Northeastern holding a 9-4 edge on shots. UConn had the only power play chance in the first period.
Northeastern broke the scoreless tie at 12:52 in the second period. Sikura dug the puck out from behind the net and got it Gaudette who fired on net but had his shot blocked. Kurker was there to clean up the loose puck and put it home for his second on the year and a 1-0 lead.
Gaudette made it 2-0 at 17:43 on a play that was reviewed. Gaudette collected a rebound and charged hard to the net stuffing the puck past Huska before knocking the net off. It was originally called no-goal but after a review the call was reversed for Gaudette’s 22nd on the season.
The Huskies got off 11 shots in the period, but could not solve Ruck. UConn pulled Huska with 2:19 left for the extra skater, down 2-0. Kurker was able to collect the puck in the neutral zone and skate in for an empty net goal with 1:37 left to ice the win.
UConn will close the series tomorrow night at Northeastern’s Matthews Arena. Opening face-off is at 7:30 pm.
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