In the opener of the first round of the Hockey East Tournament, UConn took a loss to Northeastern on Friday night 3-1, despite playing a strong game.
UConn dictated play in the first period but Northeastern headed into the first intermission with a lead.
“I thought we had a great first period,” head coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We out-shot them 11-to-6 but were down 1-0.”
On the power play, Garret Cockerill took a hard shot from the top of the right circle and it got through a heavily screened Adam Huska to open the scoring just over 10 minutes into the game.
The second period was a carbon copy of the first. UConn played well and out-shot Northeastern, but the home team got another goal just after halfway through.
Brendan Collier stuffed one past Huska off a rebound after he had stopped numerous chances in the sequence 11:58 into the period to make it 2-0.
UConn almost scored on a short-handed chance late in the second, but Maxim Letunov could not complete the wraparound as the puck fell just short of crossing the line.
“They said it was just centimeters from not being a goal,” Cavanaugh said. “Sometimes that’s just the way it goes.”
UConn made it close with a late goal in the third.
With a 6-on-4 advantage, UConn could not convert until just after the penalty expired. Freeman whacked at the puck until it found the back of the net with 1:21 to go.
Huska returned to the crease on the ensuing face-off and left again with about a minute left. Unfortunately, Northeastern’s Nolan Stevens buried an empty-netter to make it 3-1.
With 24.7 seconds to go, UConn kept fighting. It looked like the visiting Huskies got one off the stick of Tage Thompson, but he was ruled offside.
UConn was unable to find another chance as the game went final. Adam Huska finished with 26 saves.
The two teams play again on Saturday night, with puck drop at 7 p.m. in a do-or-die game for UConn in the best-of-three series.
UConn Head Coach Mike Cavanaugh postgame:
Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan postgame:
Photo Gallery credits: Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog