UConn men’s hockey’s three-game win streak came to an end on Saturday as the Huskies fell to the Boston University Terriers 2-0 at Agganis Arena.
On To Next Season
UConn’s loss, paired with Maine defeating Merrimack 3-2, means the Huskies are eight points away from the final spot in the Hockey East Playoffs with eight possible points left on the schedule. To get in, UConn would have to win their final four games in addition to Maine losing out. If that near-impossible scenario were to happen, the Huskies would win the tiebreaker by holding a 1-0-1 head-to-head advantage over Maine.
Now, UConn needs to turn their focus to building for next season and finishing the season strong. The team finally seemed to come together over the last four games but it simply came too late to overcome.
Offense Goes Quiet
Over the Huskies’ win streak, they scored 10 goals over three games. But against BU, UConn couldn’t find the back of the net, only the second time they’ve been shutout in the second half of the season. Head coach Mike Cavanaugh felt the Huskies didn’t keep the puck in the offensive zone enough.
“I didn’t think we had enough multiple shot shifts,” Cavanaugh said. “It would be a great chance but then be done. It was probably both ways. I don’t think either team was able to sustain zone time and wear the other team down. Sometimes the puck doesn’t go your way and you just have to keep putting forth that effort.”
UConn had a pair of breakaway chances in the final period but couldn’t beat Terrier goaltender Jake Oettinger.
“Oettinger was outstanding, he made some great saves,” Cavanaugh said.
Looking to the Future
With the whole UConn dug themselves in with the 12-game winless streak, they essentially needed to be perfect down the stretch. In a conference as good and as competitive as Hockey East is, that was a near-impossible task.
The good news is that the Huskies appeared to finally turn a corner with the win over Northeastern. If UConn can finish the season strong, regardless of record, it bodes well entering next season. Players like Ruslan Iskhakov and Tomas Vomacka emerged and will be expected to be key contributors next season.
At different points over the last few games, UConn played up to their full potential and looked unbeatable. While the loss of Miles Gendron, Karl El-Mir and Max Kalter will hurt, the Huskies’ young players should take a step forward next season.
If they can find their form consistently in 2019-2020, the Huskies can be one of the top teams in Hockey East.