No. 10 Northeastern completes weekend sweep with 5-3 victory over No. 20 Maine

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – Different day, same result.

Five different Huskies found the back of the net and freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau made 17 saves to lead No. 10 Northeastern to its second consecutive 5-3 win over No. 20 Maine.

The win improves Northeastern to 14-5-3 overall and 10-3-1 in Hockey East.

After sophomore Grant Jozefek scored the game’s first goal at the 5:10 mark of the opening period to give the Huskies the early lead, Maine (11-9-2, 5-6-1) netted a pair courtesy of Alexis Binner and Mitchell Fosiser.

Although Maine outshot Northeastern 9-8 in the second period, Eric Williams and Dylan Sikura found the back of the net to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Northeastern put the game away in the last five minutes of the third period, receiving goals from Brandon Hawkins (15:10) and Nolan Stevens (18:57). Maine forward Nolan Vesey scored on the man-advantage with 41 seconds remaining, but the comeback effort fell short.

The Huskies will be back in action next weekend when they take on UMass-Amherst in a home-and-home series beginning at the Mullins Center on Friday night. WRBB will have complete coverage.

 

No. 10 Northeastern skates to 5-3 win over No. 20 Maine

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – No. 10 Northeastern and No. 20 Maine were the two hottest teams in Hockey East heading into Friday night’s game at Matthews Arena.

The Huskies entered the contest with a seven-game unbeaten streak. Maine was 6-0-2 since returning from the Friendship Four in Northern Ireland.

But on this night, it was the Huntington Hounds who kept the good times rolling. Behind two goals from Adam Gaudette and 30 saves from freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau, Northeastern skated to a 5-3 win in game one of the series.

The win improves Northeastern to 13-5-3 overall and 9-3-1 in Hockey East. It was the fifth consecutive home win for the Huskies over Maine (11-8-2, 5-5-1), and pushes Jim Madigan’s squad to 8-2-1 over the Black Bears in their last 11 meetings.

After falling behind 1-0 on a power play goal from Eduards Tralmaks midway through the first, the Huskies scored the next four goals to take a 4-1 lead at the 13:39 mark of the second period.

Adam Gaudette scored the first two, netting a power play goal at the 11:16 mark of the first on a one-time feed from Jeremy Davies at the left dot. Just 1:31 later he scored again after crashing the net on a Dylan Sikura shot and jamming the rebound past Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman (33 saves).

Northeastern scored its second power play goal of the game with just under five minutes remaining in the opening frame. With just 17 seconds gone on the man advantage, Matt Filipe sent a pass across the goal line to an open Grant Jozefek. The sophomore corralled the puck and sent it over the pads of Swayman for his sixth goal of the season.

Bobby Hampton pushed the Huskies lead to 4-1 on his fourth goal of the season. After collecting a pass from Gaudette at the point, freshman defenseman Collin Murphy sent a shot down low that Hampton redirected into the back of the net.

The Black Bears would not go away easily, though. Emil Westerlund cut the deficit to 4-2 at the 16:40 mark of the second on a rebound out in front and Brady Keeper scored early in the third on a weak side tap-in goal to bring the Black Bears within one.

Unfortunately for Maine, its comeback effort would fall just short.

Dylan Sikura – who missed out on a spot on the Canadian Olympic team – put the game away with his 11th goal of the season with just 1:24 remaining in regulation. Although he initially appeared to be offside, the senior assistant captain kept a foot on the line before receiving a leading pass from Biagio Lerario that he turned into a breakaway goal.

The Huskies will be back in action at Matthews Arena on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Black Bears at 5 p.m. Josh Brown, Joe Barbito and Max Willner-Giwerc will be on the call, with pregame coverage beginning at 4:45 p.m.

Northeastern names Jeff Konya new director of athletics

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Photo courtesy of Oakland University athletics

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – Northeastern University has selected Jeff Konya to be its next director of athletics, the school announced in a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Konya will replace Peter Roby, who announced his intention to retire in 2018 last year after over a decade on the job and 15 years at the university.

“Northeastern is a university with limitless potential,” Konya said. “I am humbled by this opportunity and I look forward to working with the talented and committed coaches, student-athletes, and staff. We will remain committed to a high standard of student athlete-success, which has been a hallmark of this department, and we will unleash the full potential of this athletic department to garner national recognition and to match the unprecedented trajectory of the university.”

Prior to coming to Northeastern, Konya served as director of athletics at Oakland University for the past three-and-a-half years. Under his leadership the university won three-straight McCafferty Trophies, given to the all-sports champion of the Horizon League. He was also named one of Under Armour’s Athletic Directors of the Year in 2016-2017.

Often looking to break new ground, Konya made waves in 2016 when he hired co-head baseball coaches. This was the first time anything like that had been done at the Division 1 level. He also launched the popular Black & Gold Awards, which honored Oakland athletics in an Oscars-Style ceremony at the Fox Theatre every year.

“People make places,” Konya said. “You can accomplish great things when you have a singular mindset and vision and when you get buy-in from folks. I have an internal saying – I strive for perfection, will settle for excellence.”

The move came as a surprise to some in the Oakland community. Last June Konya agreed to a contract extension that would keep him at the school through 2022. This came after reports that he was a finalist for the Eastern Michigan AD job.

Konya, who graduated from Princeton University in 1995 and completed his J.D. at the University of Iowa in 1998, served as director of athletics at Cal State Bakersfield from 2010-2014. Prior to that he was AD at Northeastern State. Konya also has leadership experience at Southern Methodist University, Memphis, Bucknell and University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Jeff Konya is a proven leader who has the passion and the vision to drive our athletic programs to new levels of success,” said Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun. “When I met with Jeff during the search process, I was immediately struck by his energy, his entrepreneurial spirit, and the innovation that has defined his career. These are Northeastern values. And in Jeff, we found someone who shares those values.”

He will begin his tenure at Northeastern on February 1.

MBB upends JMU, 80-67: improves to 3-1 in CAA

by Matthew MacCormack

BOSTON — For the second time in nine days, the Northeastern men’s basketball team defeated conference foe James Madison, this time with a 80-67 victory at Matthews Arena on Sunday afternoon.

Sophomore guard Shawn Occeus led all scorers with 18 points on 4-5 shooting from beyond the arc, and redshirt junior point guard Vasa Pusica just missed a double-double with a 12 point, nine assist effort. The Huskies (10-6) improved to 3-1 in Colonial Athletic Association play, and swept the season season against the Dukes (4-13, 0-4 CAA) after pulling of an 81-70 victory in  Harrisonburg, Va. on December 30.

The Huskies gave a masters-level lesson in sharing in the Sunday matinee. Northeastern tallied assists on 24 of their 29 made field goals, with Pusica and Occeus (5 assists) combining for more than half the helpers.

“That’s our style,” head coach Bill Coen said post-game.

“You know we’re playing healthy basketball when we’re sharing the ball at a high rate, and getting a high ratio in terms of assists to made field goals. Today was a prime example of that.”

Sophomore forward Max Boursiquot (13 points) and freshman center Thomas Murphy (10 points) joined Pusica and Occeus in double figures. Four different players hit at least a trio of three pointers, as the Huskies connected on 47% of their looks from three and 55% of their field goals overall.

Freshman Darius Banks led the Dukes with 16 points, and classmate Matt Lewis poured in 14 from the other guard spot. Redshirt junior guard Stuckey Mosley battled foul trouble all evening long, racking up just nine points despite entering the game as the CAA’s second-leading scorer with 20.7 points per contest.

Junior center Anthony Green played just four minutes in the game, and didn’t suit up for the second half. Coen said post-game that Green was dealing with a stomach bug, and shouldn’t miss more time moving forward.

The Huskies next face a road trip down to the Carolinas. NU will battle at College of Charleston (11-5, 2-2 CAA) on Thursday at 7 p.m. and then at UNC-Wilmington (4-12, 1-3 CAA).

“Another exciting week in the CAA,” Coen said.

Going up against some great opponents and outstanding coaches. We’re going to have our challenges down south.”

Offensive outburst leads No. 9 Northeastern to 6-1 win over Bentley

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – After starting the second half of the season with a narrow 3-1 win over AIC and a 3-3 tie against Bentley, the No. 9 Northeastern men’s hockey team was looking for a statement win before heading back into league play next weekend.

The Huskies got just that on Saturday night at Matthews Arena. Behind two goals apiece from Adam Gaudette, Nolan Stevens and Brandon Hawkins, Northeastern (12-5-3) jumped ahead early and never looked back en route to a 6-1 win over Bentley.

The win improves the Huskies to 5-0-2 in their last seven games. The unbeaten streak Is the eighth longest in team history.

Freshman Cayden Primeau got the start in net for Northeastern, making 12 saves on the evening. Senior Jake Theut came in with four minutes left and made one save.

Gaudette got the scoring going at the 10:04 mark of the first period, scoring on an unassisted shorthanded goal. With the Huskies serving a too many men penalty, Gaudette went coast-to-coast and sent a shot on Bentley goalie Aidan Pelino (32 saves). Although he made the initial save, Gaudette tapped the rebound into the back of the net.

Nolan Stevens would score the next two for Northeastern, slotting power play goals at the 14:42 mark of the first period and 7:04 mark of the second. The first goal came via a feed from Sikura in front of the net, and the second was a deflection off a Jeremy Davies shot from the point.

Although the Huskies looked to be in control of the game, Drew Callin scored his fifth goal of the year at 13:53 in the middle frame to bring the Falcons within two. With Biagio Lerario in the penalty box for slashing, Callin patiently corralled a pass from Luke Santerno at the left faceoff dot and sent a shot into the top corner of the net.

That would be as close as Bentley would get. In his fourth game with the red and black, Brandon Hawkins opened the floodgates by scoring his first two goals as a Husky in the opening six minutes of the third period to extend the lead to 5-1.

The redshirt junior scored his first goal after receiving a Grant Jozefek pass in the slot and tapping it into the open net. His second goal came via a bomb from the blue line on a feed from Ryan Shea.

Gaudette would put the cherry on top with his 15th goal of the season at the 13:30 mark. Although Pelino made the initial save on his shot from the left dot, the junior tracked down the rebound and buried it home.

The Huskies will return to Hockey East action next weekend when they host Maine at Matthews Arena for a two-game series. WRBB will have complete coverage of both games.

 

No. 9 Northeastern skates to 3-3 draw against Bentley

By: Josh Brown

WATERTOWN, Mass. – When Dylan Sikura scored his tenth goal of the season at the 11:42 mark of the third period on Friday night at Ryan Arena, it appeared as if the Huskies would inevitably come away with a hard-fought win over Bentley.

The Falcons had other ideas. Sophomore Jonathan Desbiens scored the game-tying goal just 23 seconds later, and neither team could find the back of the net in overtime, propelling them to a 3-3 tie in game one of the series.

The result moves Northeastern to 11-5-3 on the season.

Freshman Cayden Primeau got the start in net for the Huskies, making 22 saves on the evening. Equally impressive was Bentley goalie Aidan Pelino, who made a couple of game-saving stops en route to a 33-save effort.

Goal scorers for the Huskies included Biagio Lerario, Adam Gaudette and Sikura.

After trading goals for the first two periods, Sikura gave Northeastern the 3-2 lead when he collected a pass from Garrett Cecere in the slot and fired it past Pelino. Unfortunately for the Huskies, the ensuing shift resulted in a three-on-two rush for Bentley. Although Primeau made the initial save on a Luke Santerno shot, he could not cover up and Desbiens poked home the loose puck.

The two teams will meet again on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena. WRBB will have complete coverage, with pregame analysis beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Despite late rally, Huskies hold on to defeat Elon 72-60

By: P.J. Wright

BOSTON – After Northeastern jumped out to a 21-point lead at halftime, Elon quickly came roaring back and brought the game to within six points with just under 13 minutes to play.

That’s as close as they would get.

The Huskies staved off the furious comeback to defeat the Phoenix, 72-60, on Friday night at Matthews Area. Northeastern improves to 2-1 in CAA play and 9-6 overall.

“I thought we got great contributions from up and down the lineup,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen. “Good teams are going to make a run, but I was really proud of our guys to withstand that run and hang on for the victory.”

Redshirt junior Vasa Pusica led the charge for Northeastern with 20 points, four assists, four rebounds while Devon Begley put together a solid game off the bench with 12 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the line, to go along with four steals.

Northeastern seemed to be everywhere on the defensive end, totaling 11 steals and forcing Elon to commit 19 turnovers.

“I though our defense ignited our offense,” Coen added. “We have a pretty together group and we got a lot of pride as well…and guys went out there and competed.”

Senior Dmitri Thompson and Junior Tyler Seibring scored 19 and 17 points, respectively, while Elon’s leading scorer, junior Dainan Swoope was limited to just five.

Northeastern will be back in Matthews Arena on Sunday afternoon to take on James Madison at 2 p.m. The Huskies came out on top in their last meeting, 81-70, on Dec. 30.

Huskies end 2017 with 3-1 win over AIC

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – With Dylan Sikura and Jeremy Davies in Switzerland for the Spengler Cup and defenseman Collin Murphy making his collegiate debut, it was a bit of new look Northeastern line chart on Saturday night against American International College.

It did not matter. Behind goals from Nolan Stevens, Zach Solow and Matt Filipe, the No. 8 Huskies ended 2017 with a 3-1 win over AIC in front of 1,357 fans at Matthews Arena.

The win sends Northeastern into the new year at 11-5-2 overall and 8-3-1 in Hockey East. The mark is the Huskies best start to a season since 2008-2009.

Freshman Cayden Primeau got the start in net for the Huskies, making 24 saves on the evening.

Although neither team found the back of the net in the first period, Stevens wasted no time giving the Huskies the lead early in the middle frame on a power play strike. After Adam Gaudette sent an off-angle shot off the left post, the senior captain deflected the loose puck past AIC goalie Stefano Durante

AIC answered at 14:27 of the second period when freshman sensation Brennan Kapcheck netted his fifth goal of the season. The defenseman deflected a Joel Kocur shot below the left arm of Primeau and into the back of the net.

Northeastern came out firing in the third period, and were ultimately rewarded with the winning goal courtesy of Zach Solow at the 7:17 mark. After collecting a feed from Brandon Hawkins in the neutral zone, the freshman danced his way along the right side boards and created enough space to get a shot on net from below the dot. Although Durante sealed off the angle well, Solow found a sliver of space to slot the puck.

Matt Filipe added an empty net goal to seal the victory.

The Huskies will be back in action next weekend when they take on Bentley in a home-and-home series beginning on Friday night. WRBB will have complete coverage of both games.

COLUMN: Entire second half a must win for Northeastern men’s hockey team

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Photo courtesy of Northeastern University Athletics

By: Joe Barbito

Unlike years past, the Northeastern men’s hockey team had a very strong start to the year. They swept BU in a home-and-home series, won two of three against Lowell, and have looked good-if-not-great in multiple facets of the game.

Much like past years, the Huskies must have a strong second half if they want a serious shot at an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Heading into their matchup with American International College on Saturday, Northeastern sits at No. 13 in the PairWise rankings, smack dab between No. 12 Providence and No.14 Boston College. The three schools currently represent Hockey East in the upper tier of the PWR, with the next highest school from the conference UMass (yes, the Minutemen) clinging to No. 22. This is a big difference from years past when the conference has been well-represented, including the 2016 tournament that featured six Hockey East teams.

With a weaker conference and a status as an at-large bubble team, Northeastern is faced with the task of beating a lot of middling opponents the rest of the season.

The toughest opponents left for the Huskies are Providence, whom Northeastern faces twice in January, and Boston College in the first round of the Beanpot. The biggest storyline for the rest of the season will be the relative position of the Huskies, Friars and Eagles. Providence is three years removed from a national title and has joined Boston College as one of the top teams in Hockey East year after year.

So neither the Eagles nor Friars are on my list of “middling teams” left for Northeastern.

The easiest matchup on the schedule is the two-game home series with Maine. This is a team that Northeastern has consistently beaten over the past few years, and two years ago they won four consecutive games over the Black Bears at Matthews Arena.

After that, Vermont is the next toughest. The Catamounts are #54 in PWR but consider this: when Northeastern beat UVM at home in November, it was their first win over the Catamounts since January 2015. During that stretch the Huskies went 0-3-2.

For whatever reason, UVM has some edge on the Huskies. That cannot stop NU from sweeping this series.

Bentley and AIC are part of the Atlantic Hockey Conference, which has given Hockey East teams fits this season. Bentley has won its last six, including an overtime win over Lowell. The Falcons have been impressive, but are still a bottom-of-the-pack team in the Atlantic.

AIC boasts one of the most impressive rookies in the country, Brennan Kapcheck, and pulled off a 3-2 overtime win against Penn State in October. Jeremy Davies and Dylan Sikura will be gone for the AIC game, so this could pose a serious issue for Northeastern.

This leaves UMass, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and the Beanpot second round game to decide the fate of Northeastern. The Minutemen have been better than expected, and New Hampshire looked like the real deal for a little, but this is an overall mediocre group. The second round of the Beanpot will either be a championship or consolation game against Boston University or Harvard.

You tell me which of these teams strikes fear into your heart after how Northeastern has played this year.

This is a crew that Northeastern is suited to defeat. You can believe the Minutemen hype, but any team blown out by UConn 8-2 is probably masking some big issues. UNH has three wins since the beginning of November. UConn has zero 10-goal or 20-point scorers. NU has already handled BU, and Harvard has been one of the biggest disappointments in the country.

The trap games against the bad teams are going to be the hardest for the Huskies. They can barely afford losses to their fellow bubble brethren. Frankly, their best bet is just to win the conference tournament come March.

But this is a rare opportunity for the Huskies to put together a complete season, something that has not been seen on Huntington Avenue in years.

Their last hot start was in 2013, when they rattled off five non-conference wins to open the year before limping into the playoffs and getting smacked by UNH.

In 2009 they had something resembling a normal season, but were only able to emerge 16-16-2 (11-14-2).

We must go back to 2008 when the Huskies went 25-12-4 (18-6-3) for the most recent consistent season in Husky memory.

For the first time in a decade, Northeastern can be a relevant national hockey team. They can compete for an NCAA bid and push for a Frozen Four berth. But none of these things can happen if they roll over this spring. For the Huskies, every game is a must win.

Bonnies throttle NU, 84-65

By Michael Petillo

OLEAN, N.Y.– After what was a fairly close first half, Northeastern came out flat in the second period and ended up dropping a tough road contest against A-10 foe St. Bonaventure 84-65.  The loss brought an end to the Huskies 5-game win streak and extended the Bonnies win streak to 6 games.

The big story of the game was Matt Mobley, as the Bonnies’ senior guard stepped up with 19 first half points after star point guard Jaylen Adams was forced to leave the game with two early fouls.  Adams would rebound strong in the second half, however, as he finished with 15 points and keyed the run that allowed SBU to pull away from the Huskies for good.

“The window was a little open with Adams getting in foul trouble,” head coach Bill Coen said after the game.

“We just didn’t capitalize on it.”

Junior center Anthony Green turned in a nice effort with 15 points and 8 rebounds and guards Vasa Pusica and Devon Begley joined him in double figure scoring, with 13 and 12 points respectively.  

After turning over the ball 19 times in Monday’s win over Kent State, the Huskies surrendered 18 turnovers on Wednesday night.

“That’s not going to beat a quality team like St. Bonaventure on the road,” Coen said.

“Our ball security has got to be a little better and we have to execute better on the offensive ends.”

The loss marked the end of NU’s non-conference schedule.  They start CAA play at James Madison on Saturday, December 30th at 4 p.m.