After a 7-0 route of the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team (3-7-1) at the hands of No. 13 Northeastern (6-3-2) Wednesday night, the Wildcats looked to bounce back this past weekend in a two-game series against UConn (5-5-1). Unfortunately for the ‘Cats, the weekend didn’t go according to plan as they went on to get swept by the Huskies.
The Wildcats opened up the weekend traveling to Freitas Ice Forum in Storrs, Conn. to face a competitive Husky team. The Wildcats were also missing some of their top players for the weekend due to injury.
In the opening game, UNH saw two of their young players notch their first collegiate goals. The first coming from sophomore forward Lucas Herrmann which gave UNH the early 1-0 lead.
Not long after, UNH took a penalty allowing the UConn powerplay unit to get some time on the ice, which ended with the puck in the back of the Wildcats’ net.
UNH rallied back as first-year defender Luke Reid scored his first career goal to tie the game.
The scoring didn’t stop in the first period as the Huskies netted two more before period’s end. UConn junior forward Carter Turnbull scored his second of the game, giving his side the lead late into the first.
UNH answered with a goal from junior forward Jackson Pierson off a one-timer on the powerplay. The score stayed the same entering the second with the shot advantage in favor of UConn 14-8.
The second period was lackluster in comparison to the first as UConn was the only team to score even with UNH edging them in the shot department, 16-10.
It didn’t look good for the ‘Cats early in the third period as the Huskies took a 5-3 lead just three minutes into the last frame. UNH battled back later in the period, rallying to score two goals, one coming with an empty net. Junior forward Filip Engaras tied the game with just over 30 seconds left on the clock, forcing the game into overtime.
Overtime didn’t last long as Turnbull scored his third of the game to diminish the Wildcats’ effort and had them seeking revenge in game two.
Things didn’t go any smoother for the Wildcats in the next game in the Whittemore Center however, as they went on to lose 8-3.
UNH hung in during the first period as they scored two goals, keeping pace with UConn who tallied two of their own.
The second period is where things began to slip for UNH as they gave up two late goals.
“We got caught out there after a long powerplay, took a bad penalty and we were chasing the game after that,” said head coach Mike Souza. “It was pretty even. I know the shots were in their favor, but I thought we were playing pretty well.”
UConn went on to add another four goals to their total leaving UNH in the dust. The Huskies outshot UNH 31-24 in the loss. Junior goaltender Ty Taylor made 23 saves in the loss and the UNH powerplay went 0-4.
UConn head coach Mike Cavanaugh thought his team played well but also recognized the situation UNH was in.
“I understand that New Hampshire is really depleted. Without Crookshank, MacAdams, Kelleher and Maas. That’s four players that really play a lot of minutes for them.”
Souza also commented on not having those players out there.
“I’m not one to make excuses but it certainly puts more stress on guys,” Souza said. “It’s strange for us, we lost six guys all to injury and nothing to do with COVID. We just have to heal up a bit.”
UNH now falls to 3-7-1 on the young season and their next slate of games is another home and home matchup with No. 13 Northeastern this Friday, Jan. 22 (7 p.m.) and Saturday, Jan. 23 (time TBA).
Photo Courtesy of Larissa Biette