By: Dan McLoone
BOSTON – In the last regular-season home game for Northeastern, the Huskies took a big step in securing at least two more games at Matthews Arena with a 4-1 win over UConn on Saturday night.
On Senior Night, the Huskies honored their nine-man senior class of Zach Aston-Reese, Brendan Collier, Mike Jamieson, Sam Kurker, Will Messa, Tanner Pond, Ryan Rosenthal, Jake Schechter and John Stevens with a pregame ceremony before completing the weekend sweep of UConn.
Northeastern (15-12-5, 8-9-3) continued with its proclivity for finding the back of the net in the first period, surviving an early rush from UConn and potting three goals in the opening frame. Aston-Reese got the scoring going just four minutes into the game, firing a shot past UConn (10-14-8, 6-10-4) netminder Rob Nichols. The senior assistant captain doubled the lead three minutes later, tapping home a beautiful pass from Nolan Stevens on the doorstep to make it 2-0.
Adam Gaudette made it 3-0 with eight minutes left in the first period, tying a Northeastern record with his 14th power play goal of the season. UConn got one back just two minutes into the second period, as Maxim Letunov picked up his seventh goal of the season.
Aston-Reese completed the hat trick with three minutes left in the second period, firing a shot from the blue line that bounced off of Nichols’ chest and into the back of the net. The tally gave Aston-Reese his third hat trick of the season after previously potting a treble against Michigan State and Clarkson.
UConn tried to mount a comeback in the third period, but the Northeastern defense held strong, finishing the weekend seven for seven on the penalty kill. Ryan Ruck made all the stops he needed to in net, finishing the evening with 24 saves.
With the win and New Hampshire’s loss to Boston University, Northeastern moved up to eighth place in the Hockey East standings and now controls its own destiny heading into the final week of the regular season. The Huskies will look to secure a first-round home playoff series when they travel to Maine to take on the Black Bears for two games. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday, with pregame coverage of both games starting 15 minutes earlier on WRBB.