Game Recaps

Hockey East championship roundup – night 1 – UConn and UMass victorious

By James Garrison

The 2022 Hockey East Championship kicked off Friday at TD Garden with semifinal action featuring the University of Connecticut, Northeastern University, UMass Amherst, and UMass Lowell. UConn and UMass both took their respective contests to advance to the championship.  

Game 1 – UConn vs. Northeastern

The first matchup of the day saw the No. 4 University of Connecticut Huskies (20-15-0 10-14-0, Hockey East) take out the No. 1 Northeastern Huskies (25-12-1, 15-8-1 HE) 4-1 in commanding fashion. With the win, the UConn will advance to the first Hockey East Championship game in school history. 

“It took us too long to get going,” Northeastern Head Coach Jerry Keefe said in his post-game press conference. “I thought the better team won.”

UConn and Northeastern would trade tallies in the first period. UConn junior forward Vladislav Firstov found the puck in front of the net to put UConn up 1-0 at 8:21 of the first period. 

Northeastern quickly answered on the power-play though, as junior forward Aidan McDonough wired home a one-timer past Darion Hanson to even the game up at one at 5:47 of the first period. 

The game would stay deadlocked at two until junior defenseman Roman Kinal put home the rebound past Devon Levi after freshman forward Chase Bradley rang the post off of the rush at 15:28 of the second period. 

Sophomore forward Ryan Tverberg added another tally for UConn later in the period with a fantastic individual effort –– forcing Levi to go down and sliding it past him to put the Huskies up 3-1. 

Senior forward and captain Carter Turnbull closed out the game with two massive hits to get the crowd going once again. Senior Marc Gatcomb iced the contest with an empty netter to give the Huskies the 4-1 final. 

With the win, UConn will play in their first ever Hockey East Championship game Saturday night. As they had the first game, the Huskies had to wait and see who their opponent would be for the Championship. 

Game 2 – UMass Amherst vs. UMass Lowell

The second of the two semifinal games saw two rivals take each other on in the battle of UMass. The UMass Minutemen (21-12-2, 14-8-2 HE) took the contest over the UMass Lowell Riverhawks (21-10-3, 15-8-1 HE), 3-1 to advance to their second straight Hockey East Championship game. 

“I liked our effort, I thought our execution was off,” Riverhawks Head Coach Norm Bazin said in his post-game press conference.

Last year, the two sides faced off in the Hockey East Championship, with UMass taking the contest, 1-0. This year’s playoff matchup saw another physical, tight checking game for two teams that had already seen each other three times this season. 

In the first period, the Minutemen were able to draw first blood on the power-play. Senior forward Garrett Wait was able to bat the puck home on a second-chance opportunity right in front of the net to get the Minutemen on the board at 7:33 of the first. 

After their first goal, UMass continued their push. Senior forward and captain Bobby Trivigno sniped one home off of the rush to put the Minutemen up 2-0 just 1:43 after Wait’s tally. Trivigno was named the Hockey East player of the year on March 15. 

The Riverhawks were able to cut the Minutemen’s lead in half with a late push in the second period. Graduate defenseman Nick Austin fired the puck from the point and freshman forward Matt Crasa was able to tip it home at 3:23 of the second period. 

Crasa would once again be the center of attention in the third period, but for the wrong reasons. Mid-way through the third, Crasa fanned on a clearing attempt in front of his own net, only to see the puck find its way past Riverhawks goaltender Owen Savory. 

“I’m not sure what that was,” said Bazin. “That’s a tough one to describe.”

The nightmarish misplay padded the lead for the Minutemen for the final seven minutes, which they rode out to the final buzzer to take home the victory. 

The Minutemen will look forward to Saturday, as they hope to capture their second straight Hockey East Championship against the University of Connecticut Huskies, with puck drop set for 7:00pm at the TD Garden.

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