The Northern Arena NHL 20 2v2 Cup is live! After last month’s successful NHL 20 1v1 Cup that ended with a nail-biting finish, Northern Arena decided to expanded the tournament. 31 goalies and 31 skaters paired up to duke it out for their share of $5,000. Here’s a look at the best matches from the first week of NHL 20 2v2 Cup action.
NHL 20 2v2 Cup: Boston v.s. Montreal
The NHL 20 2v2 Cup broadcast kicked off with one of the best rivalries in the NHL: Boston and Montreal. Michael “Nuge” Nugent returned to represent the Boston Bruins, and drafted Cameron “MyLittleRevvy” McKenna to join him. The two dropped their first two matches against the Ottawa Senators and Buffalo Sabres, but were hoping to bounce back against the Canadiens in the first live match of the tournament.
Michael “miviens” Viens stepped up to represent the Montreal Canadiens in the NHL 20 2v2 Cup. The Habs had placed fourth in the Eastern Conference under Nicholas “JTF2x” Morissette in last month’s cup. Viens took the reins from Morissette and enlisted Olivier “Sorokinx90” Thouin as his netminder.
The two narrowly lost 7-5 to the Columbus Blue Jackets to start the season. They took a big win against the Washington Capitals to even out their record going into the broadcast.
Viens kicked things off early with a top shelf snipe in the slot on McKenna. Nugent rushed up the ice and tried to tuck it past Thouin, but the Habs’ goalie kept it out for his first save of the night. Viens secured a 2-0 lead late in the first period after an icing call brought the faceoff to the Bruins end. Nugent kept the pressure on with some solid scoring chances, but couldn’t sneak one past Thouin. While the Canadiens walked into the second with a two goal advantage, the Bruins were not out of the game by any means.
Nugent spent plenty of time in the Habs’ zone, but it was Viens who sniped the first goal of the second period at the halfway mark. An unfortunate own goal from Nugent snuck by McKenna to give the Canadiens a solid four goal lead. The Bruins finally found the back of the net to cut the lead to three in the third period. A between-the-legs deke almost gave the Bruins a second goal, but Thouin stood on his head to prevent it. A failed clearing attempt gave Viens his fifth goal to pad the lead out. The Canadiens took the first live match of the NHL 20 2v2 Cup in a much closer match than the score showed.
The Rematch: Columbus Blue Jackets v.s. Carolina Hurricanes
One of the most hyped matches of the evening was the rematch of last cup’s Eastern Semifinals between Columbus and the Canes. Justin “Regs” Reguly knocked Matthew “TSCookie” Gutkoski out of the tournament and Gutkoski was out looking for revenge.
The Blue Jackets picked up Bobby “Egokiller43” Pickard in the goalie draft. They squeaked past the Habs in their first match of the week before taking down the reigning Northern Arena champion David “JR Pens” Roebuck in a 6-3 victory. With a 2-0 record, Columbus came into this match looking ready to take on the Hurricanes.
Reguly had an unbelievable season in the first Northern Arena Cup, going completely undefeated until losing in the Eastern Conference finals to Roebuck. Looking to repeat that success, he drafted Konstantinos “Kasimis96” Kasimis for the 2v2 Cup.
The pair started strong with a 9-3 victory over Tampa Bay before getting caught up in a slug fest with the New York Rangers. They pulled off a 12-8 win over the Rangers to also go into the Columbus match with a 2-0 record.
Both teams traded scoring chances and big saves to keep the game ultimately scoreless through the first period. Reguly opened things up early in the second with a huge snipe past an out-of-position Pickard. Kasimis came up big for the Canes throughout the second, until Gutkoski finally snuck one by with two minutes remaining in the period.
The two teams went back and forth up the ice in the third, neither finding the go-ahead goal for the first half of play. The Blue Jackets kept the pressure on, and snuck one by with less than five minutes left in the third. It looked like Gutkoski and Pickard would hand the Canes their first loss as time ticked down. But Reguly tucked one past Pickard with only 30 seconds left in play to tie things up. This one would need overtime to find the rematch winner.
It didn’t take long for a winner to be decided, though. An unlucky turnover in the neutral zone gave Gutkoski a breakaway. Despite being chased by three Carolina players, Gutkoski sniped one five-hole past Kasimis. Reguly made a diving poke check to stop it, but fell short. The dream of another perfect regular season for the Canes was shattered as Columbus got its revenge.
Wild, wild west
The second night of the Northern Arena broadcast featured some of the best in the west, and it did not disappoint. The Minnesota Wild and Anaheim Ducks had the honor of kicking off the night. Anaheim came into the match ready and looking red hot. After a shaky 7-3 loss to Dallas to open the season, Gabriel “Gabseh” Sirois-Milhomme and goalie Dom “Duukk” Dubé turned the gas on in the west. They shut out Calgary 8-0, stalled the Jets out 6-2, and pounced on the Coyotes with an 8-4 win.
The Wild came into this tournament with a fresh set of faces from last Cup. Braydon “Dang” Lambert took the skater reins over from Alex “Kanger” Kanga and brought in Justin “TheCreasePolice” Maravegias as his goaltender.
The pair got off to a rough 0-2 start after getting smoked by the Golden Knights and Canucks. They bounced back with an 8-4 win over the Kings, and a narrow 2-1 victory of over Chicago. The Wild looked to keep the winning streak alive going up against Anaheim.
The game started off with Lambert pouring the pressure onto Dubé, but the Ducks’ goalie held strong. Sirois-Milhomme found the first goal early in the first off a one-timer past Maravegias. He quickly found a second one minutes later, to give the Ducks a two goal lead over the Wild. Lambert would respond quickly however, dancing around behind the net before getting a filthy up close tuck past Dubé. The Ducks would hold off Lambert for the rest of the period to head into the second with a one goal lead.
But they couldn’t hold him off for long in the second period. A point blank snapshot skipped through Dubé’s five hole to tie things up at 2. The Wild almost had a third goal when they walked into the Duck’s zone 2-on-0. Dubé kept his cool and came up with a huge save to keep things even going into the third.
Lambert capitalized with a quick go ahead goal only thirty seconds into the third. The Wild wouldn’t hold that lead for long, as Sirois-Milhomme dangled through the defense for a beauty goal on Maravegias. The minutes bled away and it looked like this would have to go into overtime. But Lambert played the spoiler and sniped one by the Ducks to get the game winning goal with only five minutes left in the game. The Wild snapped the Ducks three game win streak to go on one of their own.
Northern Arena NHL 20 2v2 Cup action continues
There’s still plenty of time to catch all the action with three weeks left to go in the Northern Arena NHL 20 2v2 Cup. Matches go live every week on the NHL 20Cup Northern Arena Twitch stream or the official Xbox Mixer stream. Be sure to stay tuned to SQUAD for more highlights, interviews and coverage as the NHL 20 Cup continues all month long.