Durham, NH – The Huskies and the Wildcats played their second in as many nights, as UNH took home a 3-0 victory down at Matthews Arena on Friday night. On this night, the teams played a very even first half of the game, leaving the first period scoreless and staying that way for the first 30 minutes of the game. The second half of the second period, however, was a much different animal. UNH scored two quick ones in 40 seconds to take a 2-0 lead in the second period, as Nick Sorkin scored on the power-play and Casey Thrush would answer moments later.
UNH added a pair of power-play goals in the third period, while its counterpart added a lone goal. New Hampshire was 3-4 on the power-play and Northeastern was 1-7. UNH completed the weekend sweep of the huskies with the 4-1 win. The win was UNH’s fifth consecutive and it improved its record to 6-5-1 overall, 4-2-0 in Hockey East. The loss dropped the Huskies record to 6-5-0, 1-4-0 in the conference.
What I Saw
- Northeastern played a great first two periods and at times took it to UNH, but they were unable to capitalize or find a way to get a puck past Casey Desmith. It was a top to bottom struggle to get into position to bury the puck. Northeastern had seven opportunities on the power-play and all but one it failed to generate quality opportunities. Much like last night it struggled to get into the quality scoring areas that UNH does so well keeping its opponents out of. It had more opportunities tonight, but second chances were almost non-existent.
- UNH capitalized on a rattled Northeastern team immediately following its first goal. Just as it seemed NU was settled and was going to recover from giving up a devastating goal, the Wildcats came down on a broken play and Casey Thrush put UNH up 2-0. The goals were 40 seconds apart and the response was less than stellar. From then on, Northeastern was never able to assert itself, like it had in the first 30 minutes of the contest.
What I Thought
- What else can be said of Casey Desmith in recent weeks. Desmith had a shutout streak of 156:44 coming into the night and he added 42:34 in tonight’s game, which gave him 199:17 of scoreless goaltending. After struggling a bit in the early going, Desmith has done nothing but impress in recent weeks. His play tonight kept his team in the game throughout and he gave them an opportunity. UNH took the opportunity and ran with it. The Huskies had many great chances but Desmith was up to the task.
- Northeastern got plenty of chances on the power-play in the third period, having four power-plays. They were able to get some chances on those but nothing dangerous. For UNH though, they did a phenomenal job on the PK in the game. The difference in the game was special teams, as NU went 1-7 on the power-play, while its counterparts went 3-3 on the man advantage. UNH’s PK came in ranked last in Hockey East but left in 10th, passing its opponent.
What They Said
Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said,
“I liked our effort in the game. From last night to today it was night and day. We played with energy, effort, we competed, we battled, we played with a good mindset and played well up until we gave a couple of goals late in the second period.”
“This league is just too tight, where if you don’t execute for 60 minutes it’s going to cost you.”
UNH coach Dick Umile said,
“Casey played well in net for us and made some key save for us in key times. It was a good hockey game; the score was not indicative of the game. It was a well fought game by both teams.”
UNH goaltender Casey Desmith said,
“The team is really playing good defensive hockey, especially last night. It was a good defensive tonight as well and I could give a lot of credit to my team and their defensive effort.”
What Else You Should Know
UNH will play an absolutely crucial road series at Providence next weekend. The Wildcats have moved themselves up to 18th in the Pairwise after an abysmal start but it will need to start picking up crucial wins and picking them up fast. Two wins against PC could go a long way in proving that it belongs near the top teams of the country.
Northeastern will play a road and home series next weekend against Merrimack College. It has now lost five out of its last six contests, after beginning the season 5-0-0. Consistency and simplicity will be exactly what it needs going forward.