By Calli Remillard, news staff
Extending their win streak to four games, the Northeastern University (NU) men’s hockey team completed the weekend sweep on the University of Connecticut (UConn). Seeing a win in Hartford on Friday and another victory on Senior Night at home on Saturday, the Huskies have now taken eighth place in the Hockey East standings, facing the final weekend of the regular season.
Starting the weekend in Hartford, the first period of the game against UConn saw a scoreless end. It was NU who drew blood first, with seven minutes left in the second period with a goal from senior forward Sam Kurker. The Huskies struck again five minutes later, with sophomore forward Adam Gaudette giving the team a two point lead as traffic at the net knocked it off its markings. The official call was a good goal, giving Gaudette his 22nd goal of the season.
With under two minutes to go in regulation, UConn pulled freshman goaltender Adam Huska to put an extra attacker on the ice in an effort to get on the scoreboard. But their efforts backfired when Kurker gained control of the puck and scored his second goal of the game in the empty net.
In his third career shutout, sophomore goaltender Ryan Ruck made 20 saves, and 11 in the third period alone to protect the Huskies’ lead.
“We’ve got some quality goaltending from [Ruck] and we’ve had it the last two games,” head coach Jim Madigan said on Saturday night.
At Matthews Arena on Saturday night, the Huskies took another win over UConn, the final score being 4-1. As part of Senior Night, the Huskies honored their nine graduating players: Forwards Sam Kurker, Zach Aston-Reese, Brendan Collier, John Stevens, Tanner Pond, Mike Jamieson and Ryan Rosenthal, and defenseman Jake Schechter.
“I’m proud to say they’re going to be Northeastern graduates in a few months,” Madigan said of the seniors. “I couldn’t be more thankful to that group of nine.”
The Huskies dominated the first period. After four minutes of play, Aston-Reese got Northeastern on the board, scoring his 25th of the season. Less than three minutes later Aston-Reese scored again, and with 7:48 left the first, Gaudette gave the Huskies a three point lead to close out the third. All three of the first period goals were assisted by junior forward Nolan Stevens.
UConn cut NU’s lead down to two, scoring early in the second period. Aston-Reese secured NU’s lead and completed the hat trick with 3:32 to go in the second, and the Huskies finished the game with a three point lead over UConn.
Aston-Reese is now tied at 17th in all-time scoring at Northeastern, with 141 points. His three hat tricks this season are the most recorded by a Husky in the last 30 years.
The team has heated up over the last few weeks, and are hoping to carry this heat with them into the playoff season.
“This is the best time to get hot, going into the playoffs,” Aston-Reese said of the team’s weekend sweep.
Looking ahead, the Huskies will wrap up the regular season on Friday and Saturday with a pair of games in Orono, Maine, against the University of Maine.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics