UConn’s season ended on Saturday night when Northeastern served them a 6-2 defeat at Matthews Arena in Boston, Massachusetts.
“I thought it was a great hockey game until we took the five-minute major,” UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh said.
With 9:35 remaining in the then-3-2 contest, Evan Richardson took a penalty for hitting from behind. He was given a game misconduct and a five-minute major.
Adam Huska made 28 saves and faced nine shots during Northeastern’s extended session with the extra man.
Northeastern had a 1-0 lead after 20 minutes and despite all the stats being even with chances at 20-to-18 and shots at 10-to-9, both in favor of Northeastern, it felt that the home team was better.
Northeastern had more dangerous chances and was able to convert where UConn was not.
Brendan Collier beat Adam Huska right off of a face-off and it was 1-0.
The second period was not what UConn wanted, despite scoring twice.
For much of the first six-plus minutes of the middle stanza, Northeastern owned possession of the puck and if it weren’t for shots missing the net, they would have had seven or eight shots on goal.
Northeastern made it 2-0 8:06 into the period on a rebound. Nolan and John Stevens had a 2-on-1 on Philip Nyberg. Nolan Stevens’ shot was stopped by Huska, but Zach Ashton-Reese was all alone trailing to bury the rebound.
The goal seemed to wake UConn up, as the visitors turned it on the second half of the period, scoring just over four minutes later.
Corey Ronan was stopped by Ryan Ruck on his shot from the right side, but he could not stop Morgan. His seventh of the year brought UConn to within one.
An inopportune penalty gave Northeastern their two-goal advantage back. Adam Gaudette had some space at the bottom of the left circle and his one-timer made it 3-1.
UConn did not score on any of their power plays but got one off of a man advantage inside two minutes remaining.
Miles Gendron took a hard slap shot from the top of the right circle and it bounced off of a Northeastern player’s skate and behind Ruck to make it a 3-2 game.
The visiting Huskies came out hard in the third but were served a blow when Evan Richardson was given a game misconduct and was ejected.
“I thought it was setting up for an exciting finish, but we took a five-minute major and we didn’t kill the penalty, plain and simple,” Cavanaugh said.
“No one said we couldn’t kill that penalty.”
Northeastern scored three goals on the five-minute power play and by the time Justin Howell came out of the box, UConn was unable to mount enough of an attack to force overtime.
UConn finishes their season at 12-16-8, with an 8-10-4 regular season record in Hockey East.