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Hockey East Playoffs Preview: UConn at Northeastern

UConn looks to get their first win of all-time against the other Huskies.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

Live Updates- Saturday:

First Period:

0:00- And the game is on! Adam Huska is between the pipes with Karl El-Mir, Maxim Letunov and Tage Thompson playing forward. David Drake and Derek Pratt the defensive pair.

4:09- Brendan Collier with a nice shot off the face-off and Northeastern has a 1-0 lead.

13:45- lots of back-and-forth action. Only one goal and zero penalties called tonight so far.

16:52- UConn on the power play. Garret Cockerill to the box for hooking.

20:00- not a bad period from UConn, but it wasn't one that would help them force a Game 3.

Second Period:

0:00- And the period is on! As it stands, there are 40 minutes left in their season, unless they can turn the tides.

6:18- that was really bad. SOG are 3-to-1 but it has been much, much worse than that. I count three turnovers in the defensive zone that have led to chances.

8:06- Zach Ashton-Reese nets his 30th of the year. He cleans up the rebound from Huska after he made a nice save.

8:35- Evan Richardson to the box for hooking. Things do not look good for UConn.

10:35- no goals for Northeastern there.

12:20- Brian Morgan gets a goal but it's under review.

Good goal!

13:56- Justin Howell to the box after a shoving match with Tanner Pond.

14:30- Adam Gaudette finds some space below the left circle nad it's a goal.

15:49- Zach Ashton-Reese to the box for high-sticking. UConn is with the man advantage.

18:01- Miles Gendron scores on a shot from the top of the right circle and deflected in off a skate. 3-2 game in Boston.

20:00- 20 minutes to save their season. 3-2 game after 40 minutes.

Third Period:

0:00- and the period is on!

10:35- media timeout. I think that's the third or fourth whistle this period, UConn is still searching for a goal. They are down on shots, 5-to-2, but have had decent possession.

10:35- Evan Richardson's career could be done. He gets a game misconduct for a hit on Grant Cockerill and Justin Howell will serve the five-minute major coming.

11:13- goal number one on the power play off the stick of John Stevens from the high slot. Howell will serve the whole five minutes no matter what.

13:10- John Stevens scores again.

14:52- Jeremy Davies puts in the thid goal of the power play.

15:52- Howell is free.

17:27- Brian Morgan heads down the tunnel. Joe Masonius will serve his minor penalty.

20:00- that will do it for UConn's season.

Live Updates- Friday:

First Period:

0:00- and the game is on! Adam Huska is the starter in net with David Drake and Derek Pratt in front of him. Karl El-Mir, Maxim Letunov and Tage Thompson the forwards.

2:13- Brian Morgan to the box for hooking. First power play for either team in a scoreless contest.

4:13- the penalty kill looks good early and the Huskies look strong in the early going.

8:48- Spencer Naas off for slashing. Northeastern is 0-for-1 on the power play early and did not look good in their first effort.

10:36- Northeastern gets a goal. It was Grant Cockerill with a shot from the top of the right circle. 1-0 Northeastern.

14:17- Tanner Pond guilty of a hook. 1-0 Northeastern and it's UConn's first shot on the power play.

16:17- lots of good shots but no goals.

20:00- UConn won the period, in my opinion, but Northeastern is up 1-0 courtesy of a great shot by Cockerill.

Second Period:

0:00- and the second period is on! UConn is in search of a tying goal.

6:51- Brendan Collier for tripping. UConn had a strong second act but no goals. Let's see what they do with this one.

11:58- goal Northeastern on a rebound. Ruck is making the saves he needs to make and Northeastern has a couple strong goals.

13:18- David Drake off for holding. Northeastern gets their third chance, they're 1-for-2.

15:18- Maxim Letunov has a great chance at the end of the kill but cannot put it in.

15:48- that chance is now being reviewed. This could be HUGE.

No goal on the lengthy review.

17:42- Nolan Stevens is in the box for slashing. Time for UConn to start to mount a comeback or it might be too late.

19:04- Karl El-Mir is down in a heap and play stops.

20:00- things seem to be dire for UConn. Karl El-Mir did not look good to return and they are down another goal.

Third Period:

0:00- and the period is on! Karl El-Mir was out for his first shift with Letunov and Thompson.

12:00- no goals, no penalties. Just a couple of almost chances for UConn.

16:38- Brendan Collier to the box.

17:10- net empty.

18:39- Corey Ronan stuffs in a chance and it's 2-1! Cavanaugh takes his timeout and Huska returns to the net.

19:36- Tage Thompson gets a goal, but it's under review.

No goal, apparently Thompson was offside.

20:00- final. UConn is down 1-0 in this best-of-three.

Preview:

February was an inconsistent month for UConn Men's Hockey. It started off with a pair of ties, had four losses in the middle, and finished with a sweep of New Hampshire.

UConn laid a pair of eggs against Northeastern as part of the six-game winless streak which knocked the Huskies out of a hosting spot for the first round. Had the Huskies scraped away with a point against Northeastern, UConn would be playing in front of a friendly crowd at the XL Center instead of on the road.

Friday’s game was a 3-0 loss for UConn that was utter domination by Northeastern. UConn didn’t get its 10th shot on net until the third period and Ryan Ruck saw only 20 shots, stopping all of them. On Saturday, UConn played better, but Northeastern was able to beat Rob Nichols while UConn was unable to beat Ruck and Northeastern won 4-1.

UConn is now 0-8-0 against Northeastern all-time and now needs to beat the other Huskies twice in Matthews Arena in order to move on to the next round of the playoffs in this best-of-three series.

The bracket (below) will be re-seeded after each round.

Courtesy of PrintYourBrackets.com

Northeastern has outscored UConn 7-1 on the season, but UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh doesn’t think that matters.

"If we’re playing well, I’m confident in our brand of hockey," he said.

The Huskies are also fortunate with their goaltender situation. In earlier years, Rob Nichols would have to play every game that mattered and would be burned out by the end of the year, particularly given his injury history.

This year, he has gotten 15 starts to Adam Huska’s 19, giving Cavanaugh flexibility with his goaltenders that Northeastern just doesn’t have.

"We’ve been playing it by ear all year long," Cavanaugh said.

He does not know who will be starting between the pipes for the Huskies on Friday, but UConn will see Ryan Ruck.

UConn will also see Zach Ashton-Reese, Dylan Sikura and Adam Gaudette. The trio, who are first, third and fourth in Hockey East in points, respectively, scored five of Northeastern’s seven goals two weekends ago.

"There are no secrets this time of year," Cavanaugh said about defending Northeastern’s high-powered offense. "If you focus too much on defense, the offense struggles. You have to play 200-foot hockey."

Northeastern struggled in its final series, getting a split against Maine at Alfond Arena, but head coach Jim Madigan is also optimistic.

"This is a whole new season," he said. "What happened last weekend or two weeks ago means nothing. It has no meaning."

Northeastern and UConn will play a best-of-three series at Matthews Arena for the right to move on to the quarterfinals. Puck drop on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday if necessary will all be at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday's games will be broadcast on WTIC 1080 AM and all tournament games will be streamed here, with multiple purchase packages available.