Stevens hat trick lifts No. 8 Northeastern past Massachusetts

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – For outside observers, Saturday night looked like a trap game for the No. 8 Northeastern men’s hockey team.

Not only did the Huskies have to endure a two-hour bus ride home after suffering a 3-0 loss to Massachusetts on Friday night, but they were without the services of Jeremy Davies (one-game suspension) and Grant Jozefek (upper-body injury).

It did not matter.

Dylan Sikura scored just 31 seconds into the game and Nolan Stevens recorded a hat trick as the Huskies cruised to a 5-0 win in front of 2,131 fans at Matthews Arena.

Freshman Cayden Primeau got the start in net for Northeastern (15-6-3, 11-4-1), making 19 saves on the evening.

The win moves Northeastern back in sole possession of first place in Hockey East. It is also the sixth consecutive home win for the Huntington Hounds.

After winning the opening faceoff, Stevens controlled the puck on the right-side boards in the Northeastern offensive zone. The captain dished a pass down to sophomore Biagio Lerario on the goal line, who found a cutting Sikura for the early tally.

Nolan Stevens pushed the Huskies’ lead to 2-0 just 46 seconds into the second period. With the puck loose in the neutral zone and a lot of open ice to skate, Stevens narrowly got around UMass defenseman Jake McLaughlin and used one hand to flip the puck over the outstretched glove of goalie Matt Murray (28 saves).

The goal was Stevens’ 100th career point at Northeastern.

Stevens recorded his 101st point at the 17:07 mark of the period, notching his second goal of the game on a snipe between the circles. After a receiving a pass from Sikura at the top of the left dot, Stevens walked untouched into the slot and placed the puck in the top left corner of the net.

Brandon Schultz scored his first career goal at the 8:34 mark of the third period on a weak-side feed from John Picking and Nolan Stevens completed the hat trick at 12:30 on a power play strike to put the game out of reach.

The Huskies will be back in action next weekend when they take on No. 10 Providence in a home-and-home series beginning in Matthews Arena on Friday night. WRBB will have complete coverage.

Huskies move into a tie for first with a statement victory in Williamsburg

By: Justin Littman

WILLIAMSBURG – The Northeastern Huskies stepped up to the challenge against the top team in the CAA, controlling the game in a 90-70 victory over the William & Mary Tribe. This was only the second time in 11 tries that the Huskies have been able to escape Kaplan Arena with a victory. As for William & Mary, they have now lost two in a row at home, and are now 20-3 in their own arena since the start of last season.

Vasa Pusica led an efficient offensive attack for the Huskies, who seemed to get whatever they wanted throughout the night. Pusica finished the game with 20 points and nine assists. For Pusica, 18 of those points came in the first half, where the Huskies led by as many as 19. Coach Coen had high praise for his point guard after the game.

“He’s been big for us all year, and his shooting is just a small part of what he does for us. He always seems to settle us down when the other team is making a run to come up with a big play, big pass, or a big shot. He played at a high level tonight and we needed him to do so.

As a team, the Huskies shot over 71 percent from the field, and over 63 percent from downtown. This anomaly highlighted both the strength of Northeastern’s offense tonight, as well as the struggles the Tribe have faced defensively all year.

The Huskies were equally masterful on the defensive end, scoring 26 points off 13 William & Mary turnovers. Shawn Occeus set the tone on defense once again, finishing the game with four steals and many more deflections. He even put his body on the line to take a charge midway through the second half.

The Tribe, who entered the game shooting 44 percent from three on the season, shot under 30 percent from behind the arc. They made only five threes all game. David Cohn, who leads the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio, had only three assists, and turned the ball over five times. Four starters scored in double figures for William & Mary, but they struggled to get any production from their bench, which scored only 11 points.

With the victory, Northeastern has ascended into a three-way tie for first place in CAA, joining William & Mary and Hofstra at the top. They are all 5-2 in the conference. The Huskies have a quick turnaround, as they fly back to Boston and quickly prepare for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Delaware Blue Hens. Delaware (11-9, 4-3 CAA) is coming off a big road loss to Hofstra, losing 90-63.

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.