Providence 3, UConn 1
With sophomore goaltender Adam Huska unavailable, Connecticut had to turn to the unproven Tanner Creel once again on Saturday night.
Creel stopped 27 of 30 shots in Thursday’s loss to the Friars. Saturday, he was better and so were his teammates.
The Huskies defeated Providence, 3-1, Saturday at Schneider Arena. Creel finished the game with 26 saves on the 27 shots he saw in the game.
“I was really proud of the effort right from the get-go,” UConn coach Mike Cavanaugh said.
UConn established a 2-0 lead with a pair of power-play goals. Johnny Austin’s came in the opening period. Joseph Masonius doubled the lead at 8:05 of the second period before Brian Pinho cut the lead in half at 14:19.
The Friars put 14 shots on Creel in the second period but couldn’t get any closer. In the third, it only for more frustrating. PC attempted more than 20 shots in its search of the equalizer. However, only five shots got through to Creel, and he turned all five away. PC also finished the night 0 for 7 on the power play.
“(We) played hard, but the story of the game was our power play didn’t get it done,” PC coach Nate Leaman said. “Give (UConn) credit. We had 21 shot attempts in the third and only five got to the net.”
[[Maxim Letunov]] scored with 53 seconds left in regulation sealed the win for UConn and ended a six-game losing streak. The Huskies hadn’t won since a 4-2 victory over Colgate to end the first half on Dec. 8. UConn’s three goals were the most it scored since the Colgate win. During the six-game losing streak, UConn scored only three goals total.
UConn’s win moved it into seventh place in Hockey East standings. PC remains in third place, now tied with BU. Perhaps more importantly, PC dropped to 12th in the Pairwise.
Vermont 6, UMass-Lowell 3
Saturday night looked familar for a while as far as both Vermont and Massachusetts-Lowell were concerned. UVM jumped out to a big lead, and Lowell quickly looked to erase it.
Something was different, though.
The Catamounts held and defeated UMass-Lowell, 6-3. The loss ended a nine-game winless streak overall. It was also UVM’s first win over UMass-Lowell in its last 11 tries. The Catamounts were 0-10-1 in their previous 11 games with UML.
Liam Coughlin finished the night with a hat trick, including the game-cliching goal at 18:27 of the third period. Before that, he scored in the first period to make it 2-0 and second period to make it 4-0. His second proved especially important because UML would score three times before the period ended.
Tommy Panico, Ryan Lohin and John Edwardh each scored in a span of 9:13 to nearly eliminate the UVM lead. It was beginning to look a lot like Friday night when UVM blew a two-goal and fell apart in overtime. Lowell’s 20-8 shot advantage in the middle frame on Saturday didn’t help matter as the third began.
However, the Catamounts avoided another collapse. Ross Colton scored to make it 5-3 at 10:44 before Coughlin sealed the win with the empty-netter.
“We went through a tough time in the second period with all the penalties, and things weren’t going in our direction,” UVM coach Kevin Sneddon said. “I liked the way we composed ourselves at the end of that period, and I loved the way we played in the third.
“They tried to put a push on, and I thought our guys were great in both ends of the rink and obviously that was a big goal for us to get that two-goal lead.”
UVM goaltender Stefanos Lekkas finished the night with 35 saves on 38 shots.
With the loss, UML adds to a string of difficult losses to bad teams.
Northeastern 5, UMass 0
Northeastern was more unlucky than bad in Friday’s loss to Massachusetts.
Saturday, the Huskies were good, lucky and ruthless. They dominated from start to finish in defeating the Minutemen, 5-0, at Matthews Arena in Boston.
Dylan Sikura got NU started 31 seconds into the games. However, the story of the night was Nolan Stevens.
The senior scored three times, assisted on Sikura’s goal and received 22 minutes in penalties, including a game misconduct in the third.
The Huskies outshot UMass 37-19 in the game, claiming the lead early and keeping their foot on the gas throughout the night.
The win elevated Northeastern to first place in the Hockey East standings, jumping idle Boston College. NU is now one point up on BC. However, the Eagles have one game in hand.