Huskies Earn First Win of Season Against UNH

November 17th, 2014

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON- Huskies fans can breathe again.

After starting the season winless in the teams first nine games, Northeastern received goals from two newcomers to defeat the University of New Hampshire (4-6-0, 1-3-0 in Hockey East) 2-1 Saturday night at Matthews Arena.

Northeastern (1-8-1, 1-4-1 in Hockey East) received 35 saves from senior Clay Witt, who returned to the ice Friday night in the Huskies 5-3 loss to New Hampshire, after missing six games with a lower-body injury.

“Clay Witt was outstanding for us,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “I thought we just fed off his confidence.”

Freshman Adam Clark started in net for New Hampshire, stopping 31 shots a night after defeating the Huskies in his home building.

“Disappointed that we had an opportunity to win on the road and get a sweep, which is very difficult in this league,” said Wildcats coach Dick Umile.

Despite both teams getting a shot on the power play in the first period, neither team could find the back of the net leaving the score tied at zero after the first period of play.

The Wildcats had the first three opportunities on the man-advantage in the second period, but could not crack Witt on a night where the Huskies killed off every penalty for the first time this season.

New Hampshire out-shot Northeastern 18-5 in the second frame, but like the first period both team’s failed to slip one by the respective goaltenders.

The third period went off to a quick start when junior Kyle Smith took a pass from line mate Matt Willows and backhanded it over the blocker of Witt.

Northeastern would answer just 1:20 later when sophomore transfer Ryan Rosenthal lit the lamp, muscling a goal past Clark on a rebound off a John Stevens shot to tie the game at one.

After a couple minutes of back and forth action freshman Nolan Stevens scored his first collegiate goal, taking a pass from his brother John Stevens in the middle of the ice and shooting it under the glove of Clark to give the Huskies the 2-1 win.

“He’s (Nolan Stevens) had chances,” Madigan said. “I thought that line played really well all weekend. The two Stevens and Rosenthal.”

Despite a ferocious offensive attack by the Wildcats in the final couple minutes, including two minutes of 6-on-5 play, Witt stood tall for Northeastern sending the Huskies faithful home happy.

“We needed a win in this building,” Madigan said. “We haven’t played very well in this building.”

Despite the loss, Umile liked the effort from his team but felt it was the type of game the Wildcats need to win.

“I thought we played a pretty good road game tonight,” Umile said. “I told the team if we’re gonna be a team here in this league we gotta win these games.”

Even with the first win under their belt, the Huskies still have a lot of work to do, a task Madigan is not taking lightly.

“I have faith in the group in this locker room because they’re good kids and they’re good hockey players,” Madigan said. “We dug ourselves a hole and now it’s gonna be one game at a time.”
This article can also be found on USCHO…Follow Josh on twitter @josh_brown31

jbrown The Dog Pound

CAA Preview: Northeastern Huskies

November 14th, 2014

By Zolan Kanno-Youngs

Head Coach – Bill Coen, 111-112 (9th season)

Last season- 11-21 (7-9 CAA)

Losses- F Chris Avenant, G Demetrius Pollard, G Marco Banegas-Flores, F Derrico Peck

Newcomers- G Devon Begley, G Alex Jordan.

It’s no surprise the Huskies have been picked to win the CAA title after returning their entire core from last season.  Scott Eatherton will lead the Northeastern frontcourt  (15.9 ppg, 10.2 rpg) after receiving national recognition last year. The  2014 CAA defensive player-of-the-year will also have help from the outside, which was a lagging problem for coach Bill Coen last season. After medically red-shirting practically all of last year with season-ending back surgery, forward Quincy Ford returns to the court with something to prove. Coen’s backcourt was inconsistent on the offensive end last year and often relied on the presence of Eatherton and Reggie Spencer. Ford’s offensive ability will surely take some of the pressure off the big men.

Don’t be misguided by Northeastern only recruiting one freshman for this season. Point guard TJ Williams was often the best player on the court as a freshman. He smoothly slipped in to the starting lineup and was a huge factor in the Huskies upset win against Georgetown in Puerto Rico. David Walker brings a nice balance to backcourt with his athleticism and his size will help Coen’s zone defense. The bench, led by forward Zach Stahl, should also be a huge asset.

Northeastern’s biggest competition will come from a re-vamped Hofstra and William & Mary. Player-of-the-year candidate Marcus Thornton has the ability to go off on any team but with Northeastern’s hard non-conference schedule, the Husky’s should be prepared when he comes around. Their biggest challenge will be injuries. For two straight years, injuries have plagued the contenders.

Bottom line- The pieces are all there for Northeastern to end its 23-year skid of missing the NCAA tournament. This is a better team than the 2013 regular season championship squad that featured Jon Lee and Joel Smith. Coach Bill Coen has the CAA’s best big man in Scott Eatherton and Quincy Ford is back. Don’t be surprised if the Husky’s have a lackluster record after non-conference play. They’re facing some challenging teams. When the CAA comes around, the expectations will be as high as they’ve ever been. It’s tournament or bust for Coen and Co.

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CAA Preview: UNCW Seahawks

November 12th, 2014

By Jeremy Leopold

Head Coach- Kevin Keatts (1st season)

Last Season- 9-23 (3-14 CAA)

Losses- G Chris Dixon, G Tanner Milson, G Zack Allen, G Marcus Graham, G Ben Eblen, F Shane Reybold, F Alex Kilmartin

Newcomers- G Malik Pugh, G Jordan Talley, G Nick Powell, (Transfers who have to sit out this season: Denzel Ingram, Jarvis Haywoood, Marcus Bryan, Chris Flemmings)

First year head coach Kevin Keatts has a difficult road ahead of him after inheriting a team that hasn’t finished with a wining record since the 2007-2008 season.

For UNCW, the graduation of their third leading scorer and second leading assist man in Chris Dixon, their second leading rebounder in Shane Reybold and their leading dime dropper in Ben Eblen won’t help to improve upon last season’s last place finish. The coaches agree and place the Seahawks 9th in the CAA preseason coach’s poll, ahead of only CAA newcomer Elon.

There is some hope, however, for UNCW. Cedrick Williams, a preseason CAA second team selection, returns for his senior year. Williams led the team in scoring and rebounding last season with 11.5 points and 6.6 boards per game.

In addition to Williams, the Seahawks return senior gaurd Addison Spruill who finished second on the team in scoring last season. Spruill will be asked to do more offensively this season when it comes to distributing the ball with the departure of Eblen and Dixon after Spruill averaged one assist per game last season.

Also returning is the 7-foot, 275 pound behemoth, C.J Gettys. At times last season Gettys showed flashes of the force the Seahawks hope for him to become due to his size. With another year under his belt, and, more importantly, another offseason to refine his game, the redshirt sophomore could be poised for a breakout season.

Three incoming freshman guards will add to the backcourt depth for the Seahawks this season, likely backing up Spruill and senior guard Freddie Jackson.

Bottom Line- Keatts comes in as UNCW’s head coach highly touted after being a lead assistant for Louisville last season under famed coach Rick Pitino. Unfortunately for the Seahawks, however, he still has to play with Buzz Petersons’ recruits and aside from Williams there isn’t much talent on this roster. Look for UNCW to finish near the bottom of the conference again.

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CAA Preview: William & Mary Tribe

November 10th, 2014

By Kyle Williams

Head Coach – Tony Shaver (12th season)

Last Season – 20-12 (10-6, Colonial Athletic Conference)

Losses – F Tim Rusthoven, G Brandon Britt, G Kyle Gaillard, G Julian Boatner, F Sean Sheldon, G Ben Whitlatch, F Fred Heldring

Newcomers – G Connor Burchfield, G David Cohn, G Daniel Dixon, G Glover Jamison, G/F Greg Malinowski, F Paul Rowly, G Oliver Tot

A year removed from their heartbreaking exit in the CAA tournament final, William & Mary is coming into this season looking to finally get over the hump and reach their first ever NCAA tournament. The Tribe will have high expectations after being picked to finish second in the CAA; armed with arguably the best backcourt in the conference, they are in a position to not only meet those expectations, but to pass them as well.

Any and all conversations about William & Mary basketball has to start with their star player, Marcus Thorton. A preseason first team all-CAA pick, he’s coming off his best season that ended with a first team all-CAA spot, averaging 18.7 points per game with .435/.403/.779 splits, along with 2.8 assists per game. He can spot up or take defenders off the dribble, and is a legitimate threat from anywhere on the court. Playing along side him is last year’s CAA rookie of the year Omar Prewitt, who averaged 11.4 ppg while doubling as a three-point threat and the team’s second leading rebounder at 4.6 per game. Together, they’re a nightmare for opposing defenses, and should be able to get any shot they want on most nights.

Beyond Thorton and Prewitt, the Tribe will bring back Terry Tarpey, a forward guard combo who was a contributor last season averaging 5.4 points and over six rebounds a game. They also bring back Sean Sheldon, a serviceable defensive big man who will give them at least some presence in the low post.

Looking at the losses for this team, the one that sticks out is Tim Rusthoven. Even though he battled through injuries at times last year, he still averaged 12.1 points and 4.8 rebounds with 59% shooting, and was one of the only guys in the conference able to take Scott Eatherton one on one in the post. His loss will hurt, especially in the paint; the aforementioned Sean Spence might be able to clean the defensive glass, but he’s not an offensive threat at all.

The other big loss for this team is the trio of Brandon Britt, Kyle Gaillard, and Julian Boatner. These three combined to average almost twenty-three points last year, and all shot better than 37% from three, with Boatner in particular shooting 42.7% from beyond the arc on over three attempts per game. The team will be hoping to offset this loss partially with the play of David Cohn, a sophomore transfer from Colorado State. However, his stats (3.1 ppg, 1.2 rpg) are less than eye opening, and he’ll have to earn his place in this lineup. After him, unproven freshmen Connor Burchfield and Jamison Glover fill out the bench.

Bottom Line – This team has the feel of tournament-or-bust this year. The loss of Rusthoven will hurt, but in a year when only Northeastern and College of Charleston look like they will be dominant on the boards, it won’t be as serious as it could be. The lack of scoring will be a question mark, and one of the new guards will have to step up to replace some of what the Boatner-Gaillard-Britt trio gave the Tribe last season. However, this team still has arguably the best player in the conference in Marcus Thorton, and another dynamic scorer in Omar Prewitt. Those two will always give this team a chance to win, and they will push the Tribe deep into the CAA tournament this March.

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Northeastern Still Winless After Weekend With Umass-Lowell

November 9th, 2014

By: Josh Brown

Five different River Hawks it the lamp Saturday night, leading the University of Massachusetts-Lowell (6-1-2, 4-0-1 in Hockey East) to a 5-0 win over struggling Northeastern (0-7-1, 0-3-1 in Hockey East).

The teams, who tied 3-3 on Friday night, usually have a history of playing close games, but on this night it was all River Hawks.

“I thought it was a game of boys versus men,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “They were men and we were boys.”

Derick Roy made the start for Northeastern, continuing to fill in for the injured Clay Witt, who missed his sixth consecutive game with an upper body injury. Freshman Jeff Smith got the nod for Lowell, earning his first collegiate shutout.

“When a goalie gets a shutout in Hockey East, it’s obviously very strong,” said River Hawks coach Norm Bazin. “I thought he had a solid game.”

After a scoreless first period, Michael Fallon got on the board, scoring on a five-on-three power play to give Lowell the 1-0 lead. Fallon, who was standing in the slot, picked up a rebound and was able to jam it past the outstretched Roy.

Northeastern had a chance to tie the game when Ryan Rosenthal was awarded a penalty shot midway through the period, but he was stopped by Smith’s blocker to preserve the lead.

Later in the period, freshman C.J. Smith gave his team a two-goal advantage, again on a power play, taking a Dylan Zink pass and beating Roy to get his second goal of the season.

“We own the ability to be the dumbest team right now when we’re down a man,” said Madigan.

Less than four minutes later, the River Hawks started to run away with the game when Michael Colantone gave Jake Kamrass a one-timer that he shot into the back of the net to make it 3-0.

Lowell continued to pour it on in the third, scoring a short-handed goal at 8:28 thanks to a Joe Gambardella breakaway, set up when Jake Suter poked the puck away in the neutral zone.

Suter got a goal of his own, his first of the season, at 19:29 in the period to give the River Hawks the 5-0 win.

“It’s a good sign that guys are contributing,” said Bazin, “and we’ll see if we can keep that going. I thought it was a well-played hockey game. They’re a great opponent, this is a historic rink, and we’re glad we came out with two points.”

Madigan, whose team continues to struggle early on, laid the blame on everyone after the loss.

“We need to be better top to bottom, coaches, players, if we’re going to compete in this league,” Madigan said. “They just pounded us, took it to us. They out-skated us. They wanted the puck more. They imposed their will more on us. They were more physical.”

“And they just grind you and grind you, and we didn’t want to make the sacrifice or commitment to playing that type of game.”

This article can also be found on…Follow Josh Brown on Twitter @josh_brown31

jbrown The Dog Pound

CAA Preview: Hofstra Pride

November 7th, 2014

By Dan McLoone

Head Coach – Joe Mihalich (2nd Season)

Last Season – 10-23 (5-11, Colonial Athletic Association)

Losses – G Zeke Upshaw, F Jordan Allen, F Darren Payen, F Dan Steinberg, G Chris Jenkins, G Adam Savion, F Stephen Nwaukoni

Newcomers – G Malik Nichols, G Juan’ya Green, G Ameen Tanksley, F Rokas Gustys, F Andre Walker, F Ibrahim Djambo, G Brian Bernardi

Just one year after being picked to finish last in the CAA, the Hofstra Pride find themselves in a completely different position. With a major roster overhaul that includes the addition of five transfer players who are now eligible to play, Joe Mihalichs’s squad is now projected to finish third in the CAA and have a realistic shot at making some big noise in the conference.

Key to the Pride’s resurgence will be redshirt junior guard Juan’ya Green, who sat out last season after transferring from Niagara. Without even playing a game in the CAA, Green has been named to the preseason All-CAA First Team. In his last season of action at Niagara, he averaged 16.5 points and 4.0 rebounds per game. Coming along with Green from Niagara is fellow redshirt junior guard Ameen Tanksley, who averaged 11.3 points per game in his last season. The two transfers will look to reestablish the chemistry they had with Mihalich, who was their head coach at Niagara for their first two seasons in college.

Just as crucial to the success of the Pride will be redshirt senior guard Dion Nesmith, a preseason All-CAA Second Team selection. Nesmith is the team’s best returning player and will be expected to up his scoring production from last year’s 13.3 per game to make up for the graduation of guard Zeke Upshaw (19.8 points per game in 2013-2014).

Also returning from last year’s starting five are senior forward Moussa Kone and sophomore forward Jamall Robinson. Kone is the teams default rim protector and rebounder, and will look to improve on his averages of 7.1 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game from last year as the graduation of Stephen Nwaukoni frees up more minutes in the post.  The 6’5” Robinson will improve on last year’s 9.5 points per game thanks to the transfer of the similarly built forward Jordan Allen to Sacred Heart University.

The Pride will offset their losses with three other transfers: junior guard Malik Nichols from South Plains, sophomore guard Brian Bernardi from Southern Methodist University and senior forward Ibrahim Djambo from Clemson. Hofstra will also boast a tall two-man freshmen class comprised of 6’9” forward Rokas Gustys and 6’10” forward Andre Walker.

Bottom Line - The Pride will be led by the dynamic backcourt of Nesmith and Green, who have the talent to give opposing defenses headaches. The development of Robinson and Kone into dominant post players could push Hofstra past the likes of Northeastern or William & Mary. The worst case scenario sees the team fail to gel in their first year and finish in the middle of the pack, but Hofstra has the talent to be serious contenders for the CAA title.

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CAA Preview: Drexel Dragons

November 3rd, 2014

By Justin Littman

Head Coach- Bruiser Flint (14th Season)

Last Season- 16-14 (8-8, CAA)

Losses- G Chris Fouch, G Frantz Massenat, G Stevan Manojlovic, F Goran Pantovic, G Jake Lerner, F Dartaye Ruffin

Newcomers- C Sooren Derboghosian, G Sammy Mojica, F Austin Williams, G Rashann London, F Tyshawn Myles

After a disappointing, injury-riddled 2013-14 season, the Drexel Dragons are looking for better results this year. It may be difficult, as the Dragons have lost three starters to graduation, including their top two scorers in Chris Fouch and Frantz Massenat, as well as leading rebounder Dartaye Ruffin. Additionally, they will be without sophomore point guard Major Canady, who is out for the season with a right ankle injury.

Fortunately for the Dragons, 6-6 guard Damion Lee is set to return. A redshirt junior, he played in only five games last year before an ACL tear ended his season. He averaged 17.1 ppg as a sophomore in 2012-2013, and if he’s healthy could contend for CAA Player of the Year.

Aside from Lee, the Dragons return guard Tavon Allen and senior forward Kazembe Abif. Coach Flint will also need to rely on young front court players Rodney Williams and Mohamed Bah, who will play big minutes this season.

Drexel will also hope to get production from some of their newcomers. Freshmen guards Rashann London and Sammy Mojica figure to get some playing time this season due to the lack of depth in the backcourt. They also add center Sooren Derboghosian, a senior transfer who played sparingly at UCLA. Additionally, they will hope that senior guard Freddie Wilson can finally blossom into a reliable role player off the bench and give the Dragons needed minutes in the backcourt.

Bottom Line- Drexel’s two leading scorers have graduated, and this young team is only going to go as far as Damion Lee can take it. Picked by coaches to finish fourth in a weak CAA, they could easily finish lower if Lee doesn’t return to form. The lack of depth at the point guard position is extremely concerning, and it will likely cause problems for Bruiser Flint all season.

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Quinnipiac Sweeps Northeastern, Huskies Fall to 0-6

November 2nd, 2014

By: Josh Brown

HAMDEN- The Northeastern Huskies (0-6-0) set a new program record following their 3-2 loss to Quinnipiac (3-2-1) Saturday night at High Point Solutions Arena. The defeat marked Northeastern’s worst start in program history. Unfortunately for the Huskies they added on to the feat, loosing 4-3 to Quinnipiac Sunday afternoon.

“It seems like the same pattern is happening the last three games,” said Huskies coach Jim Madigan after Saturdays game, “and this being the fourth game where we played well enough, done some good things, but haven’t found a way to get the win.”

Derick Roy got the start in both games for Northeastern, with Clay Witt still nursing an upper body injury. The sophomore stopped 57 of the 61 shots he faced on the weekend.

“I thought he played hard,” said Madigan, “I thought he played well. He’s given us a chance to win a hockey game.”

Quinnipiac drew first blood on Saturday, netting two goals less than a minute apart by junior Travis St. Denis and sophomore Devon Toews midway through the second period to give the Bobcats a 2-0 lead.

Less than two minutes later Garret Cockerill beat Quinnipiac goalie Michael Garteig on the power play to cut the deficit to one. The Bobcats would get one back on the man-advantage at the end of the period via Andrew Taverner to make it 3-1.

Northeastern would  not go down without a fight, as junior Kevin Roy got his first goal of the season jamming away at a puck in the crease midway through the third.

“You’re hoping that this opens the floodgates for him,” said Madigan. We certainly need him and Szmatula, and some other guys to score…we need to make more hockey plays in and around the net.”

Unfortunately for the Huskies, Garteig stood tall denying the Huskies of a tying goal, and giving the Bobcats the 3-2 win.

Although the Huskies had a tough time getting pucks in the back of the net, that is not all Madigan wants his team to focus on moving forward.

“If you focus to much on scoring than you forget about the other parts of the game that are important to your success,” Madigan said. “D-zone coverage, neutral zone transition, neutral zone defense. It’s playing a full 60 minutes.”

The Huskies were able to get out to a better start on Sunday, thanks to a pair of Mike Szmatula goals to give the team a 2-0 lead after the first period.

A chippy second period, featuring a combined 13 penalties between the two teams (7 on Northeastern) resulted in Quinnipiac outscoring the Huskies 3-1.

A pair of Landon Smith goals tied the game at two. 31 seconds after Smith’s second Ryan Rosenthal lit the lamp to make it 3-2 Huskies. Quinnipiac was able to send the teams to the locker room tied when Taverner scored with 1:07 left in the period.

Another chippy period went in the Bobcats favor when Soren Jonzzon scored the game winning goal five minutes into the period to make it a 4-3 game.

Despite a couple of chances for the Huskies late in the game, Garteig was able to stand tall, leading Quinnipiac to the win.

“We let some discipline get away from us in the second period,” Madigan said. “It’s not where we want to be. It’s not where we drew it up, but our records our record…still a lot of confidence in that room.”

Umass-Lowell is next on the schedule for Northeastern, as the teams will play a home-and-home with the Riverhawks beginning Friday nigh in Lowell. The game can be heard on WRBB.

jbrown The Dog Pound

CAA Preview: College of Charleston

October 31st, 2014

By Ben Goossen

Head Coach- Earl Grant (1st Season)

Last Season- 14-18 (6-10, CAA)

Losses- Johnathan Burroughs-Cook , Chad Cooke, Judson Hall, Willis Hall, Theo Johnson, Nori Johnson, Anthony Thomas

Newcomers- Evan Bailey, Cameron Johnson, Nick Harris, Donovan Gilmore, John Eck, Tim Branin II

First year coach Earl Grant has his work cut out for him as he attempts to lead his College of Charleston team to a better finish in 2015. The Cougars went 6-10 in conference play last season, en route to a sixth place finish in the CAA.

Grant steps in to lead a young team that experienced a great deal of upheaval over the summer. In August president Glenn McConnell announced his decision to fire head basketball coach Doug Wojcik. The decision came after a month long investigation into allegations from players and coaches that Wojcik was verbally abusive. Grant spent the last four seasons as an assistant coach under Brad Brownell at Clemson. During his time at Clemson, Grant was key to recruiting and player development for the Tigers, personally signing 10 of the 15 players recruited by Brownell’s staff.

Grant inherits a squad that looks largely different from the team that took the court last season. The Cougars lose seven players total and two of their top five scorers from last season in Willis Hall (12.3 ppg) and Anthony Thomas (7.0 ppg). With only two seniors on the roster, the incoming freshman class will have a chance to make an early impact.

The team will look to lean on seniors Adjehi Baru and Anthony Stitt. Named to the Preseason All-CAA Second Team for the second year in a row, Baru had great success during his 2013-2014 campaign. The forward from the Ivory Coast averaged (9.0 ppg) and ranked seventh in the CAA in rebounding (7.5 rpg) and fourth in blocked shots (1.4 bpg). The defensive stopper will look to take his game to another level in order to make up for the lost offensive production of Hall and Thomas. A preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention in 2013-2014, Stitt was one of two Cougar players to start all 32 games last season. As the second leading scorer (10.0 ppg) and the leader in three-pointers made (55), Stitt will be the main offensive threat for the Cougars.

Anthony Stitt and Canyon Barry should provide a significant deep threat this season. However, unless the team can establish another knockdown shooter early on, the Cougar’s offense may stagnate as opposing defenses lock down on Baru close to the basket.

Bottom Line- The team has been projected to finish sixth in their second season as a member of the CAA. Coach Earl Grant has great pieces in Adjehi Baru and Anthony Stitt, however the team’s depth remains an issue. This team has the talent to compete, but youth and inexperience could hold them back in 2015. Expect another middle of the pack finish for this Cougars in 2014-2015.

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