BOSTON, Mass. – The UConn men’s hockey team dropped a 4-1 decision to Northeastern Saturday night from Matthews Arena in Boston. The Huskies were swept for the second-straight weekend and are winless in their last eight Hockey East games (0-5-3) as they fall to 9-19-4 overall and 4-11-4 in the league.
Northeastern picked-up their fifth-straight win and are unbeaten in their last six (5-0-1) as they improve to 14-13-5 overall and 8-8-4 in Hockey East. NU continued their torrid pace in the second semester, raising their record to 11-1-2 since January 1st.
UConn senior Patrick Kirtland (Rocky Hill, Conn.) scored the lone Husky goal Saturday night. Junior Rob Nichols (Dallas, Texas) made 29 saves in net in taking the loss. UConn freshman Max Letunov (Moscow, Russia) added an assist on the Kirtland goal, his 21st of the season, setting a new UConn Division I rookie record for assists (20 – Cole Schneider, 2010-11). Letunov now holds the UConn Division I rookie marks for points, goals and assists.
Following a scoreless first period, Northeastern got a five-minute power play chance at 4:20 of the second period and took full advantage with a pair of power play goals. UConn sophomore Derek Pratt (Mount Hermon, Mass.) was given a five-minute major for interference on a hit on Zach Aston-Reese at mid-ice. Northeastern scored the game’s first goal at 6:21 as defenseman Garret Cockerill whipped a wrist shot past Nichols, top-shelf, from the high left point for a 1-0 lead.
NU made it 2-0 just 53 seconds later as Nolan Stevens came-up with his team-leading 15th goal on the season. John Stevens played the puck in deep to Adam Guadette behind the net who one-touched it to Stevens right in front for a one-timer and a 2-0 lead at 7:14.
UConn got a late second period power play chance when Aston-Reese was whistled for charging on a collision with Nichols in net with 50 seconds to play. The Huskies struck to cut the lead in half with 35.1 left. Tage Thompson (Orange, Conn.) fired slap shot from the point that Ryan Ruck turned away but Kirtland swept in and blasted home the rebound from the left circle for his seventh on the season, sending the Huskies into the second intermission down 2-1.
Northeastern extended their lead to 3-1 at 4:22 of the third period as Kruker burst up the right wing and fired a wrist shot on goal form the right circle that handcuffed Nichols and beat the goaltender five hole. UConn continued to press for offense and pulled Nichols with just over two minutes left to try and cut into the deficit. NU senior Kevin Roy got free and chipped in an empty net goal at 18:24 to seal away the win and the weekend sweep.
The Huskies will close out the regular season next weekend with a home-and-home series against New Hampshire. UConn will host the Wildcats on Friday, February 26th for “Senior Night” and travel to UNH on Saturday, February 27th.
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