HARTFORD, Conn. – The UConn men’s hockey team was outshot 49-18 on the way to a 5-2 loss to Northeastern at the XL Center in front of 5,689 fans in the first game of a weekend Hockey East series. The freshman trio of Max Letunov (Moscow, Russia), Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) and Joseph Masonius (Spring Lake, N.J.) was responsible for the Huskies two goals in the loss.
The Huskies fall to 9-18-4 overall and 4-11-4 in Hockey East with the loss and are now 0-4-3 in their last seven league games. Northeastern has lost just once since January 1st as they improve to 13-13-5 overall and 7-8-4 in the league.
Thompson and Masonius each scored power play goals for UConn with Letunov adding assists on both tallies to set add to his team-leading point total. Letunov has 35 points on the season (15g/20a), breaking the UConn Division I rookie record for points previously held by Cole Schneider (33p – 2010-11). Letunov also holds the UConn rookie mark for goals with 15 and ties Schneider for the rookie assist mark at 20.
UConn struck first on Friday night as Thompson continued his deadly scoring touch on the power play with his NCAA leading 11th on the season. Thompson collected a pass from Masonius on the left face-off dot and buried a one-timer on Northeastern goaltender Ryan Ruck at 2:56 for a 1-0 lead.
From there it was all Northeastern in the first period as the Huskies put up four-straight goals and outshot UConn 20-6 in the first 20 minutes. Nolan Stevens and Patrick Schule scored back-to-back goals just 37 seconds apart to knot the game and then put Northeastern up for good. Stevens buried a puck through traffic at 4:59 and Schule stuffed in a rebound in front at 5:36 for a 2-1 lead.
UConn fell victim to a turnover deep in their zone when Mike McMurty picked-off a break-out attempt and skated into the slot to beat Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) one-on-one. Northeastern made it 4-2 at 15:46 as Kevin Roy scored the first of his two goals on the night, finishing off a tic-tac-toe goal at the right post on the power play, his second this season. UConn went to back-up goaltender Tanner Creel (Arlington Heights, Ill.) after the fourth Northeastern goal.
Masonius cut the Northeastern lead in half in the second period scoring the Huskies second power play goal of the night. The freshman defenseman took a feed at the point from Letunov off the right boards and beat Ruck with a slap shot top-shelf for his fifth on the season.
Northeastern put the game away in the third as Roy collected his second, finishing off a back-door pass from Sam Kurker at 5:53 to put the Huskies up 5-2. NU held UConn to just five shots in the third. Creel would finish the night with 28 saves while Nichols took the loss making 16 saves in the first. UConn allowed a season-high 49 shots on goal in the loss.
UConn and Northeastern will close out their home-and-home series Saturday night from Matthews Arena in Boston. Opening face-off is scheduled for 7:05 pm.
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