Northeastern ends regular season with 5-4 setback against Maine

By: Dan McLoone

Orono, ME. – It was another high-scoring affair at Alfond Arena on Saturday night, but Northeastern did not have the answers this time. The Huskies held a one-goal advantage four different times, but Maine fought back to tie it every time and came away with a 5-4 win on senior night.

Tanner Pond got the scoring going early for Northeastern, giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead just 18 seconds after puck drop. Nolan Vesey tied it up with eight minutes left in the first period to send the teams to the locker room tied up at one.

Goals were aplenty in the second period, as the Huskies took a 2-1 lead six minutes in when Jeremy Davies tapped home a puck on the doorstep on the power play, set up by a beautiful pass from Nolan Stevens. The Black Bears responded with a power play tally of their own just three minutes laterwhen Chase Pearson found the back of the net. Dylan Sikura reclaimed the lead for Northeastern with eight minutes left in the period, benefiting from another great pass from Nolan Stevens.

It looked like the Huskies would head into the third period with a 3-2 lead, but Nolan Vesey netted his second goal of the night on a power play strike with just 28 seconds left in the frame to tie the game up.

Stevens lit the lamp himself four minutes into the third period, giving the Huskies a 4-3 lead and their second power play tally of the evening. As they had done all night, the Black Bears responded. After getting tripped up with just the goalie to beat, Blaine Byron converted on a penalty shot to tie the game up at four. Having seized momentum back, it took just a few minutes for Maine to take the lead for good, as Vesey completed his hat trick with six minutes left.

Northeastern tried to find the tying goal down the stretch, but couldn’t overcome the eight penalties they took and the stellar play between the pipes of senior Matt Morris, the backup who finished with 40 saves in the senior night start.

With the loss and Merrimack’s win over Vermont, Northeastern finishes as the eight seed in Hockey East. The Huskies will take on UConn, the ninth-place team, in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs. Games one and two of the best-of-three series will be at Matthews Arena on Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m., with game three on Sunday at 7 p.m. if necessary.

 

NU comeback effort falls short at UNCW

By: Jeremy Leopold

Wilmington, N.C.– For the second time in ten days, the Northeastern Huskies fell way behind at the half to UNCW and again, they made it interesting down the stretch before eventually faltering. After trailing by 23 at the break, the Huskies clawed back and cut the deficit to just four midway thought the second half before losing 74-65 in Trask Coliseum in the final game of the regular season.

The Huskies finish the season 15-15 overall, and 8-10 in the CAA. With the loss, NU became locked in the No. 6 seed for the conference tournament next weekend in Charleston, setting up a bout with No. 3 Towson on Saturday night.

The Huskies’ fatigue showed in the first half, as NU was playing on less than 48 hours rest with just seven players after a miraculous double overtime win in Elon two nights ago. Northeastern quickly fell behind 15-0, with their first basket coming at the 13:17 mark in the first half. Northeastern senior guard T.J. Williams (24 points) had 14 of the Huskies 17 first half points with the only other bucket coming from freshman forward Max Boursiquot’s three with 10 second left in the frame. 

The Huskies would wind up down 40-17 at the break. 

“We had a very flat and uninspired first half,” said  Head Coach Bill Coen. “Part of that was maybe caused by playing double-overtime the other night and being shorthanded.”

After a back and forth start to the second half, a jumper from UNCW sophomore guard C.J. Bryce (23 points) pushed the UNCW lead to 51-31 at the 13:20 mark. Northeastern then went on a 15-0 run to cut the deficit to just five with 9:33 to go.

“I thought we caught our second win in the second half; we dug down,” Coen said.

Northeastern and UNCW traded buckets and stops the rest of the way until a three from Northeastern freshman Bolden Brace (12 points) at the 1:23 mark made it 68-64.

The game would get no closer. UNCW Seniors Denzel Ingram and Abrose Mosley knocked down their free throws down the stretch to seal the win for the Seahawks, who set a program record with their 26th win of the year.

“They just made a couple too many shots for us and we spotted them way too much in the first half to make it interesting,” Coen said. 

This win for the Seahawks (26-5, 15-3 CAA) gives them their first outright CAA regular season title since 2003. They held a share of the title the past two years. The Seahawks will play on Saturday at noon against the winner of the first round matchup between Hofstra and Delaware.

Northeastern will play Towson at 8:30 on Saturday night. WRBB coverage will begin at 8. Follow this link for our exclusive live stream: http://www.wrbbsports.com/listen-live/. 

 

Nolan Stevens winner in overtime clinches home ice for Huskies

By Josh Brown

Orono, ME. – Northeastern had more than one reason to celebrate on Friday night.

Not only did Nolan Stevens end a back-and-forth affair against Maine with a goal just 12 seconds into overtime, but the Huskies clinched home-ice advantage for the first round of the Hockey East playoffs as a result of the 5-4 victory.

After Northeastern won the faceoff to kick off overtime, Zach Aston-Reese sprinted straight to the net of Black Bear goalie Rob McGovern (30 saves). After the initial shot was stopped, Stevens flipped a rebound over the shoulder of the sophomore goalie to end the game before Red Gendron and company could even blink.

The win is Northeastern’s (16-12-5, 9-9-3) fifth in a row and ninth in the last eleven games. It also extends the Huskies’ win streak over Maine (10-19-4, 4-15-2) to five games, the longest since the 1984-1985 season.

Maine got off to a hot start, receiving goals from Mark Hamilton and Brendan Robbins on the squad’s first two shots on net. Facing a two-goal deficit heading into the locker room, Hobey Baker frontrunner Zach Aston-Reese got the Huskies within one at the 14:22 mark.

The second period belonged to Northeastern, who received solid goaltending from Ryan Ruck and goals via Adam Gaudette on the power play at 15:19 and Aston-Reese less than a minute later.

Despite falling behind after their hot start and a brief power outage in between periods, Maine, who is locked into the 11th seed in the Hockey East playoffs, did not roll over.

Blaine Byron beat Ruck (19 saves) just 47 seconds into the third period and Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick Nolan Stevens scored his 10th of the season at 10:53. Unfortunately for the Black Bears, the two tallies were sandwiched on top of Gaudette’s second goal of the game at 1:18, and the teams found themselves knotted up at four after regulation.

Following the two-minute intermission between the third period and overtime, Stevens made sure Black Bear fans did not have to delay their trip home too long with the quick game-winner.

The Huskies will return back to Alfond Arena on Saturday night for the final game of the regular season. Josh Brown and Dan McLoone will have the call beginning at 6:45 p.m.

ICE CHIPS:

  • John Stevens registered his 100th career point with an assist on Zach Aston-Reese’s 2nd-period goal. Along with Aston-Reese, it is the first time since 2010-11 that two Huskies reached the milestone in the same season.
  • Adam Gaudette set a new Northeastern single-season record, logging his 15th power play goal of the season. He breaks the record of 14 previously set by Rob Isbister in 1984-85.
  • Gaudette and Dylan Sikura both hit 50 points on the season with Northeastern’s 2nd goal of the game, joining Aston-Reese as the three Huskies at the half-century mark. It is just the 3rd time in program history that three skaters tallied 50+ points and the first time since 1975-76.
  • With his three points on the evening, Aston-Reese moves into a tie for 9th place in single-season points (59). His two goals also brought him to a tie for 10th in single-season goals (29).
  • Sikura’s three assists give him 33 on the year, good for 11th on the program’s single-season record list.

 

NU outlasts Elon in double-OT thriller

By: Matthew MacCormack

Elon, N.C — The Northeastern bench looked barren prior to tip-off Thursday night.

Junior Devon Begley (wrist) and sophomores Donnell Gresham (wrist) and Jeremy Miller (knee) were all back in Boston with injuries. Senior Alex Murphy (the team’s second leading scorer) was a late scratch from the trip, for what the team called “personal reasons.”

Losers of nine of their last 11, NU  was down to just seven players.

It was going to take something extraordinary for the Huskies to upend Elon at Alumni Gymnasium, where the Phoenix toted a 9-3 record.

Extraordinary was just what they got.

Freshman Bolden Brace dropped 40 points, including a school-record 10 threes, to guide Northeastern to a 105-104, double-overtime victory. Elon sophomore Tyler Seibring (30 points, 12 rebounds) hit a fallaway jumper at the end of regulation to force overtime, but missed a similar look as time expired in the second overtime to seal the deal for the Huskies(15-14, 8-9 CAA).

“I’ve been at Northeastern for 11 years now,” head coach Bill Coen said post-game. “Given the circumstances and the numbers, That was as good a win to cobble together that I’ve been associated with.

Brace joins NU legends J.J. Barea and Reggie Lewis as the only Huskies to reach the 40-point mark in a game. The freshman had 28 of the Huskies’ 43 points at the half, including a seven of 10 clip from beyond the arc.

“It’s the best feeling in the world,” said Brace, who played all 50 minutes. “When you see the ball go through the basket that many times in one game, there’s no feeling like it.”

Senior T.J. Williams posted the program’s first triple-double since 2006 with a tremendous 26-point, 10-rebound, 12-assist effort. Sophomore big man Anthony Green chipped in a double-double (11 points, 11 rebounds) before fouling out late, and senior Jimmy Marshall (15 points) and freshman Max Boursiquot (13 points) also hit double figures.

NU topped 100 points for the first time in the Bill Coen era (2006-present).

We have about 5 guys back home, we almost have more guys back home than we do here,” Coen said.

“The way guys stepped up and guys are in different roles, and in a very difficult place to win, against a team that’s playing as well and anyone in the CAA; I just couldn’t be prouder of that group in the locker room.”

The Huskies will battle UNCW on Saturday in Trask Arena. Jeremy Leopold and Matt MacCormack will have the call, with pre-game coverage starting at 1:45 p.m. Follow the link for our exclusive stream: http://www.wrbbsports.com/listen-live/.

 

Aston-Reese hat trick leads Northeastern to senior night victory over Connecticut

By: Dan McLoone

BOSTON – In the last regular-season home game for Northeastern, the Huskies took a big step in securing at least two more games at Matthews Arena with a 4-1 win over UConn on Saturday night.

On Senior Night, the Huskies honored their nine-man senior class of Zach Aston-Reese, Brendan Collier, Mike Jamieson, Sam Kurker, Will Messa, Tanner Pond, Ryan Rosenthal, Jake Schechter and John Stevens with a pregame ceremony before completing the weekend sweep of UConn.

Northeastern (15-12-5, 8-9-3) continued with its proclivity for finding the back of the net in the first period, surviving an early rush from UConn and potting three goals in the opening frame. Aston-Reese got the scoring going just four minutes into the game, firing a shot past UConn (10-14-8, 6-10-4) netminder Rob Nichols. The senior assistant captain doubled the lead three minutes later, tapping home a beautiful pass from Nolan Stevens on the doorstep to make it 2-0.

Adam Gaudette made it 3-0 with eight minutes left in the first period, tying a Northeastern record with his 14th power play goal of the season. UConn got one back just two minutes into the second period, as Maxim Letunov picked up his seventh goal of the season.

Aston-Reese completed the hat trick with three minutes left in the second period, firing a shot from the blue line that bounced off of Nichols’ chest and into the back of the net. The tally gave Aston-Reese his third hat trick of the season after previously potting a treble against Michigan State and Clarkson.

UConn tried to mount a comeback in the third period, but the Northeastern defense held strong, finishing the weekend seven for seven on the penalty kill. Ryan Ruck made all the stops he needed to in net, finishing the evening with 24 saves.

With the win and New Hampshire’s loss to Boston University, Northeastern moved up to eighth place in the Hockey East standings and now controls its own destiny heading into the final week of the regular season. The Huskies will look to secure a first-round home playoff series when they travel to Maine to take on the Black Bears for two games. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday, with pregame coverage of both games starting 15 minutes earlier on WRBB.

Charleston tops NU for Huskies’ third straight loss on Senior Day

By: Matthew MacCormack

BOSTON —  The Huskies hung around for a while, but Charleston got superstar performances from their top three players and rode hot shooting to a 85-71 victory over Northeastern on Saturday afternoon at Matthews Arena. NU seniors Jimmy Marshall, Alex Murphy and T.J. Williams played their final games at Matthews on Senior Day.

The trio of Joe Chealey (29 points), Jarrell Brantley (21 points) and Grant Riller (21 points) combined to score 86% of Charleston’s points. Incredible three-point shooting outputs from Chealey (6 of 8) and Riller (5 of 9) opened up the high post for the 6’7 Brantley, who also posted seven rebounds.

For the game, Charleston shot 63% from the floor and 50% from three.

“They played a terrific game,” said head coach Bill Coen.  “They have an inside-outside balance that’s tough to deal with.”

Williams’ 18 points led the way for NU. After a layup from Max Boursiquot (10 points) knotted the game at 48 with 13:57 to play, Charleston’s three stars pushed the game out of reach. The lead ballooned to as large as 17.

“[Charleston] kept us on a string today. And I thought they played on a championship level.”

Marshall, Murphy and Williams all got the start, and were honored pre-game for Senior Day festivities.

“It’s been great just to be able to be out there with a great group of guys that I can call my brothers,” Williams said. “Building those relationships is what it’s all about.”

Kurker scores two as Northeastern shuts out UConn

By Josh Brown

HARTFORD – On a night with crucial Hockey East points on the line, the battle of the Huskies went to the boys from Boston for the seventh consecutive time.

If Ryan Ruck was Batman, earning his first shutout of the season on a 20-save effort, then Sam Kurker was Robin. The senior netted his second and third goals of the season to propel Northeastern (14-12-5, 7-9-3) to a 3-0 win over Connecticut.

A relatively lifeless first period saw the teams combine to put just 13 shots on net, with none finding the back of the net.

Kurker got it going for the Huskies at the 12:52 mark of the second period, tracking down a loose puck in the slot and roofing it over the shoulder of UConn goalie Adam Huska (30 saves). Adam Gaudette added support just under five minutes later, notching his 22nd goal of the season.

That would be more than enough for Northeastern, who held off a relatively disjointed UConn attack down the stretch before Kurker netted an empty-net goal to seal the deal.

The teams will be back in action on Saturday night, when Northeastern honors its eight seniors in the last regular season home game of their careers. Josh Brown and Dan McLoone will be on the call beginning at 7:15 p.m.

Despite Williams’ 33, Huskies’ comeback fall short to UNCW

BOSTON — A herculean 27 point second half effort from T.J. Williams wasn’t enough to overcome a 20-point halftime deficit and the Northeastern Huskies fell at Matthews Arena to the UNCW Seahawks, 66-65 on Thursday night.

A 14-14 game at 9:23 in the first half quickly unraveled for the Huskies as a 15-4 Seahawk run led to a 39-19 Northeastern deficit at the half. Chris Flemmings led the surge for UNCW, scoring 20 points on 9-12 shooting in the first period of action.

“We have spurts where we play at a really high level and spurts like the first half where we really didn’t play at a high level,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen.

On the offensive end for Northeastern, nothing was falling. The Huskies shot just 26% (7-27) from the field and 18% (2-11) from deep.

The halftime message must have resonated because they came out of the locker a different team. Williams led the charge, getting to the rim and the line at will, scoring 24 of his 27 from the paint and the stripe. Williams ended the game with 33 points, a new career high.

“I thought [Williams] played a tremendous game today, extremely competitive and fought right to the buzzer against a really, really good Wilmington team,” said Coen

On the defensive end, the Husked tightened things up in the second half, holding UNCW to just 27 points on 21% shooting and just 9% from deep.

What kept the Seahawks afloat in the second half was a dominating performance on the offensive glass, led by Devontae Cacock, who had six offensive rebounds, all in the second half.

“They got a ton of offensive rebounds,” said Coen. “We needed to do a better job in that area to really finish off our defensive possessions.”

Up by three, with five seconds left, UNCW head coach Kevin Keatts elected to foul Williams and put him at the line instead of give the Huskies a chance to tie the game with a three. Williams went 1-2 from the line and two free throws on the other end from Denzel Ingram gave the Seahawks a four-point lead. A three from Williams at the buzzer wasn’t enough and the Huskies dropped back-to-back games at Matthews for the first time this season.

For the Seahawks, this win puts them at 23-5 (11-3 CAA) and keeps them a game up on College of Charleston in the CAA. For Northeastern, they fall to14-13 (7-8 CAA) and just one game away from missing out on a first round bye in the CAA tournament.

“It’s not like we haven’t been here before,” said Williams. “We know what it takes to win and I feel like we just have to put it together and get a W.”

Northeastern’s next game is senior night at Matthews Arena when they take on the College of Charleston Cougars on Saturday at 1pm. Coverage begins at 12:45 on 104.9FM or wrbbsports.com/listenlive.

Sikura plays hero again as Northeastern downs No. 11 Boston College, takes third in Beanpot

By: Dan McLoone

BOSTON – It may not have been in the game they wanted it, but Northeastern picked up a win on the second Monday in February.

For the second year in a row, the Huskies (12-12-5) earned a victory in the Beanpot consolation game. Dylan Sikura netted what proved to be the game-winner with just 43 seconds left and Adam Gaudette added an empty-netter to earn a thrilling 4-2 victory over Boston College (18-11-2).

The Eagles got the scoring started with 2:29 left in the first period, as David Cotton deflected a shot from the right dot past Ryan Ruck for a 1-0 lead. Freshman Matt Filipe, a Lynnfield native who never forgot his roots, tied up the game in the second period. He then gave the Huskies the lead seven minutes into the third period, giving him two goals in a tournament he grew up watching.

Nursing a 2-1 lead down the stretch, the Huskies gave up the equalizer to Colin White with 6:31 left to play. The Eagles then appeared to take the lead with just 1:13 remaining, but the goal was waved off after official review found BC guilty of goaltender interference on Ryan Ruck, who finished the evening with 30 saves.

Given new life, the Huskies responded. Sikura played hero for the umpteenth time this season, taking a pass from Zach Aston-Reese in the high slot and firing it past Joe Woll to give Northeastern a 3-2 lead with 43 seconds to go. Gaudette added an insurance tally 15 seconds later, pouncing on an errant pass and slotting it into the empty net to give Northeastern the 4-2 win.

The win gives the Huskies their second consecutive bronze finish in the Beanpot, and also hands BC head coach Jerry York his first last-place finish in the four-team tournament since he became coach.

The Huskies will return to the ice this weekend when they play a home-and-home with UConn. Northeastern will travel to Storrs for a 7 p.m. game on Friday before Uconn comes to Matthews Arena for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop on Saturday. Complete coverage of both games will be provided by WRBB, with pregame slated for 15 minutes before puck drop.