WILMINGTON, North Carolina — Fresh off a 15-point comeback win over CAA heavyweight Charleston, the Northeastern men’s basketball team was riding high as it made its way to Wilmington for a Saturday night matchup against the winless-in-conference UNCW Seahawks. The Seahawks pulled the Huskies back down to earth in Trask Coliseum, however, rallying from a 16-point deficit to take down the defending conference champs in overtime, 76–74.
Saturday’s game capped off an eventful week for UNCW (6–15, 1–7 CAA), which started with the Seahawks relieving head coach C.B. McGrath of his duties on Monday. The team went on to lose by just two to heavyweight Hofstra on Thursday, and finished with the victory against Northeastern (10–9, 4–3 CAA), their first in almost two months.
The two sides battled throughout
the first half, with neither team pulling away by a substantial margin. The
Seahawks took a 20–18 lead at the 6:16 mark, but a 17–8 run gave the Huskies a
35-28 advantage heading into the locker room.
UNCW held the Huskies
within range coming out of the break, but a 13-point unanswered run by the
visitors partway through the second half brought the deficit to a game-high 16
points with 10 minutes remaining.
The Northeastern lead
seemed insurmountable for the Seahawks, but slowly and surely they forced their
way back into the game. Ten points from Brian Tolefree and a six-point burst
from Ty Gadsden helped drag UNCW back from the depths as they took a two-point
lead. Back-to-back jumpers from Jordan Roland with a Seahawk turnover
sandwiched in between re-established the Husky lead, but a Mike Okauru dunk
with 2.5 seconds left evened the game. Jordan Roland’s half-court effort came
close but clanged off the rim, sending the game to overtime.
The Huskies jumped out to a
quick four-point lead to start the extra frame, but missed free throws from
Myles Franklin and Tyson Walker left the door open. UNCW burst through that
door, scoring eight unanswered as Northeastern went on a three-and-a-half-minute
drought. The Huskies were forced to play the foul game, and a pair of missed
free throws from Jaylen Sims a few possessions later gave Northeastern a chance
to respond, down two points, with 11 seconds remaining.
Roland stepped on the
sideline with less than three ticks on the clock, but Franklin forced the ball
off of Marten Linssen’s leg with .6 seconds left. The ensuing inbounds play
found Roland in the corner with a chance to win, but he couldn’t get the shot
off in time as the Seahawks came away with the victory.
“I thought UNCW played
harder than we did tonight and they earned the victory,” said Northeastern
head coach Bill Coen. “The team that plays harder usually wins. There
isn’t that much talent separation in this league where if you come in and you’re
playing at a six or a seven and the other team is playing at a nine or a ten
that you can feel comfortable.”
Interim head coach Rob
Burke took over head coaching duties from McGrath, injecting some much-needed
energy into his squad. Burke was animated throughout the game, imploring the
crowd to get loud and slamming his hand repeatedly on the floor as his team
fought their way back. The Trask crowd responded in kind, giving the Seahawks
the extra oomph needed to pull off the victory.
“It’s always a very
supportive fan base,” Coen said. “They’re worth five points with the energy
they bring to the building.”
Four players recorded
double-digit scoring for the Seahawks, led by Tolefree’s 17 and Okauru’s 16.
The latter recorded a double-double and even came close to a triple-double,
adding 10 rebounds and six assists.
Roland did everything he
could to keep his team in the game, logging 38 points (the most in the 43-year
history of Trask Coliseum) and a career-high seven rebounds.
Walker chipped in 17, and
Max Boursiquot and Greg Eboigbodin pulled down nine and seven rebounds,
Northeastern will look to rebound
on Thursday at home against Drexel. Mike Petillo and Adam Doucette will have
coverage of that one starting at 6:45 PM EST.
BOSTON — Benjamin Freeman’s power-play rebound goal three minutes
into overtime gave UConn (9–10–4, 6–7–2) a 3–2 win over Northeastern (13–7–2, 7–6–1
HEA) Saturday night at Matthews Arena. The outcome was a crucial one, coming
amid a tight Hockey East playoff race in which the top seven teams — including
Northeastern and UConn — are separated by just five points.
It was Northeastern’s second straight overtime loss. They will wait a few weeks for a chance to bounce back, with their next game coming January 31 at home against Providence. Christian Skroce and Matt Neiser will call that one, with coverage beginning at 6:45 PM EST.
Freeman’s goal came as a result of a Jeremie Bucheler holding penalty with 2:22 to go in OT. UConn’s Vladislav Firstov, who had already scored twice, broke in on net after a Ryan Shea turnover in the neutral zone. Bucheler attempted to halt a Firstov breakaway before being whistled for the penalty.
afterward, the officials ruled that the puck flew into the Northeastern bench, giving
UConn an attacking-zone face-off. UConn won it, then Freeman tallied the
game-winner after Northeastern goalie Craig Pantano came up big on a Jake Flynn
went on the power play and, to be frank with you, I thought Jeremie Bucheler
did a great job defending their forward going to the net,” said head coach Jim
Madigan. “That is how we teach it. He went to the box and they scored on the
powerplay. We cleared the puck and the referee thought it went in our bench
which never hit our bench. In-zone faceoff and they scored. We didn’t get the
To start the game, it took UConn all of 89 seconds to get on the board after a Firstov breakaway split the NU defense. It worsened after a Jayden Struble penalty gave UConn a power play, which Northeastern killed off. Shortly after, Northeastern’s own penalty generated a flurry of chances that failed to get past UConn goalie Tomas Vomacka, who saved 35 shots on the evening. The first period ended with a 1–0 UConn lead.
the end of the first period, five-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct
penalties were assessed to Northeastern’s Riley Hughes (grasping the facemask)
and UConn’s Jáchym Kondelík (boarding).
the second period, Northeastern killed off a penalty before crawling back into
the game. Grant Jozefek was hit hard around 5:30 into the period and stayed on
the ice for a few seconds. A few minutes later, Aidan McDonough found Jozefek
for a game-tying one-timer. Around seven minutes after that, Jozefek drove home
a feed from Mike Kesselring for his sixth goal of the season and a 2–1
answered with just over three minutes left in the second period as Firstov, on
a pass from Wyatt Newhouse, ripped his second of the night in front of Pantano
with little NU defensive pressure.
third period, both Pantano (41 saves) and Vomacka stood on their heads with
plenty of chances both ways.
in overtime, the team went back and forth until Bucheler’s holding penalty.
feel bad for Jeremie Bucheler because he defended the play the right way and he
got called for a penalty,” said Madigan. “We will have to re-group. We have two
weeks off now to get ready for Providence and this is a tough loss, but we will
re-group. This is a resilient group in there and we just keep battling and move
BOSTON — The Northeastern women’s hockey
team is making shutouts a trend, and we’re all for it. The Huskies’ momentum
continued after last weekend’s combined 9–0 shutout of Boston College as the
team pulled off a convincing 4–0 win over Hockey East rival UConn.
uneventful first five minutes, talented freshman Kate Holmes got the scoring
going for Northeastern, putting away her fourth goal on the year off an
excellent feed from Miceala Sindoris.
forward Chloe Aurard extended the Northeastern lead just two minutes later with
her 13th goal on the year. After a fantastic individual effort to
skate past three UConn defenders, Aurard blasted a shot into the back of the
net from the slot.
scoring spree continued when defender Megan Carter sent a rocket from the
blue-line past UConn goalie Morgan Fisher to give NU a comfortable 3–0 lead.
of play slowed in the second period and the score remained 3–0. Fisher exited
the game early in the period with a head injury after a collision with Aurard.
period saw Northeastern increase their lead with a power play goal by sophomore
Alina Mueller six minutes in. The play was started by defender Skylar Fontaine,
who skated coast to coast to set up Mueller in front of the UConn goal. Despite
a great initial save by the UConn goalie, Mueller coolly lifted the puck over
the netminder’s outstretched leg.
It was a
surprise hero in goal for Northeastern, as freshman netminder Gwyneth Philips
recorded her third shutout in as many career starts. Philips stopped all 22 UConn
shots, including forward Natalie Snodgrass’s breakaway shot in the second
period. Coach Dave Flint praised Philips after the game, noting her poise and
consistent ability to be ready off the bench.
to start Philips over junior goalie Aerin Frankel gave Frankel some rest after
her performances against Boston College last weekend. The penalty kill also
came up huge for Northeastern Friday night; they stopped all four UConn power
plays, including a five-on-three late in the final period.
the third straight shutout for Northeastern, which boasts a 13–0 combined score
during that stretch. The win gives the team 30 points in Hockey East, pushes
them to 18–3–1 (15–2–0 HEA), and extends their commanding first-place lead. The
sky is the limit for this team and they will look to continue their winning
ways tomorrow afternoon as they travel Storrs, Connecticut for another matchup
with the UConn Huskies.
CHARLESTON, South Carolina — Coming
off a pair of heartbreaking, buzzer-beating home defeats to William & Mary
and Hofstra, the Northeastern Huskies marched into TD Arena Thursday night
badly in need of a win. Against Grant Riller and the second-place College of
Charleston Cougars, snapping that two-game skid would be no small feat. But in
a wild back-and-forth contest the Huskies did just that, defeating the Cougars,
Jordan Roland was at his
sharpshooting best, starting strong and keeping Northeastern within striking
distance throughout a tumultuous first half. Over a stretch of four-and-a-half
minutes in the first frame, Charleston went on a 13–0 run capped by senior
forward Sam Miller’s third three pointer of the game. That brought the score to
35–21 in the Cougars’ favor.
But with just under five
minutes to go in the first half, Northeastern began clawing back and a Roland
layup trimmed the deficit to just two. Riller sparked a quick 5–0 Charleston response,
yielding a 43–36 Cougar halftime advantage.
The start of the second
half belonged to Charleston, with Riller leading the charge and extending the
margin to double digits. Once again, however, the Huskies refused to roll over,
with Roland dominating the scoring.
But Roland wasn’t the only
key to the win. Graduate transfer Guilien Smith came off the bench to guard
Riller in the second half and made an immediate impact. His quick feet and
energy disrupted Riller on multiple occasions and several of Riller’s seven
turnovers came when Smith was defending him.
just had fresh legs and the appropriate amount of aggressiveness,” Northeastern
head coach Bill Coen said. “And really kind of bothered him a little bit [with]
his athleticism and toughness.”
helped the Huskies get back into the game, but with the score tied at 72 and
barely 30 seconds to play, Northeastern turned to their star to deliver the
final blow. Roland used a Greg Eboigbodin screen to drive to his left, stepped
back, and buried a contested three. The shot silenced a raucous Charleston
crowd and Northeastern took the lead for good.
well on the road will make any coach happy, but this one was extra special.
talked about the losses,” Coen remarked. “Everybody was obviously frustrated
that we didn’t get the results we wanted, but we got back into the gym, guys
got recommitted to what we gotta do, work on the fundamentals, and get better .
. . it was just a complete, total team win. Proud of the guys.”
Roland finished with an efficient 33
points and tacked on four steals. Bolden Brace recorded his third double-double
of the year with 19 points and 12 rebounds.
Riller paced the Cougars, finishing
with 20 points, 10 rebounds, and 10 assists for the first triple-double in
Charleston history. That said, his mildly inefficient shooting and seven
turnovers caused some headaches for the Cougars. Miller’s six three-point makes
on seven tries netted him an uber-efficient 20 points, and Zep Jasper finished
moved Northeastern to 10–8 (4–2 CAA) and kept them tied with Drexel for fourth
place. Charleston has lost its last two games after a 5–0 start to conference
will look to pick up another conference win on Saturday when they travel to
UNCW. Coverage will begin at 6:45 PM EST with Michael Petillo and Matt Neiser
on the call.
BOSTON — Boston College and Northeastern. Cross-town rivals. The top two teams in Women’s Hockey East. Any time these two squads face off, it’s must-watch action.
That said, there’s been a
sizeable gap between the teams this season. Entering Sunday afternoon’s duel at
Matthews Arena, the No. 3 Huskies had outscored the Eagles a combined 9–0 over
two shutout wins on Boston College’s home turf. Northeastern already carried a
five-point lead in the standings over BC — with two games in hand at that.
The Huskies’ dominance of
the rivalry series continued into round three. The Eagles had no answer for the
home team, falling 3–0 to Northeastern as the Huskies capped off a statement
regular season sweep of Boston College.
“The goals didn’t come as
easily as Friday,” head coach Dave Flint said. “It was a tough game. I like how
we ground it out and battled for three periods.”
It took less than two minutes for Northeastern (17–3–1, 14–2–0 WHEA) to jump out in front. Matti Hartman took the puck into the slot on a counterattack and fired a wrister over the shoulder of Boston College (11–9–2, 10–7–1 WHEA) goaltender Kelly Pickreign for her fifth goal and 10th point of the season.
The Eagles had plenty of
chances to respond in the first. The Huskies were called for three penalties,
but stifled Boston College’s ensuing power plays. Shifting bodies in shooting
lanes and constantly clearing pucks, they held the Eagles to three shots on net
on those opportunities.
Northeastern killed off a fourth consecutive penalty halfway through the second frame before the whistles started blowing the other way. Boston College was called for four penalties over the final 11 minutes of the period, but Northeastern failed to convert. A defensive lapse even allowed the Eagles a clean shorthanded breakaway, but goaltender Aerin Frankel stonewalled Delaney Belinskas on the shot to bail out the Huskies.
The final penalty of the second period bled 17 seconds over to the third. Northeastern needed just 10 of those seconds to double their lead. Alina Mueller skated to the left side of the zone after winning the faceoff at center ice and received a pass from Skylar Fontaine. The Swiss sensation then did what she does best, threading the needle through three Boston College defensemen to find an open Katy Knoll on the weak side. The freshman tucked home her sixth goal of the season, extending the Huskies’ lead to 2–0.
After Boston College was called for yet another penalty three minutes later, Northeastern went on the power play again. Just like the one before it, this one ended with a puck in the back of the Eagles’ net. This time the culprit was Fontaine, who slotted home her ninth tally of the season off a feed from Chloe Aurard to put the game out of reach at 3–0. The Huskies held course the rest of the way, killing off one last penalty for good measure as time ran out.
The story of the game was
the Northeastern penalty kill, which was a perfect five-for-five. The Huskies
have allowed just five goals all season on the penalty kill in 64 opponent
opportunities (7.8 percent).
Fontaine, a key part of the
four-on-five, lit up when asked about the PK unit’s performance: “It makes us
really proud. We put a lot of work in in practice for PKs, so it’s great to see
it turn out on the ice.”
“Our PK forecheck is really
good; they execute it to a tee every time,” said Flint. “We apply pressure when
we need to apply pressure, and it’s tough for teams to get anything going
against us. We’ve got kids out there willing to block shots, and your best
penalty killer needs to be your goalie — and [Frankel’s] a pretty good penalty
Frankel added, “I can
confidently say the entire year our penalty kill has been really strong, so
that’s really nice to see and it’s helpful to our game.”
Frankel’s play against the Eagles this season has been historically dominant. No team has ever shut out BC three times in one season, and Frankel has blanked the Eagles more times this season than every other NCAA goalie in the last five years combined. She followed up her 26-save performance on Friday with 25 saves on Sunday, and recorded her sixth shutout of the season.
“I think it’s really big
for the program in general,” Frankel said of the team’s dominance over BC. “Over
the past decade it’s always been a really intense rivalry, but I think over the
past couple years we’ve had the upper hand on them . . . I think it says a lot
about how far this program’s come and I’m really proud of this team.”
Northeastern resumes play
on Friday when Hockey East foe UConn visits Matthews Arena for a 6 PM matchup.
DURHAM, New Hampshire — “That
effort tonight was unacceptable.”
A clearly irritated Jim
Madigan was none too happy with his team postgame, and for good reason. His
Northeastern men’s hockey squad had just finished a Hockey East duel with New
Hampshire in Durham, and suffice to say it certainly wasn’t their best
performance of the season. Despite rallying to tie the game twice in the third
period, the Huskies could not cap off the comeback as the Wildcats scored in
overtime to claim a 5–4 victory.
Right from the start,
Northeastern (13–6–2, 7–5–1 HEA) looked off their game. New Hampshire (11–8–1,
5–5–0 HEA) outplayed the away squad throughout the first period, outshooting
them 11–6. The Huskies almost escaped the period unscathed, but a Wildcats goal
with less than three minutes to go ensured that the better team went into the
intermission with the lead. A flubbed power play one-timer from a teammate fell
right to the feet of Eric MacAdams, who slotted home the puck to open the
If the energy in the first
period was a little weird, the energy in the second was downright strange. The
middle frame included eight penalties, four for each side, keeping either team
from getting into any real rhythm. One of those eight penalties allowed
Northeastern to tie the game a little under halfway through the period, as Grant
Jozefek tucked home a rebound in front of the net on the man advantage.
The deadlock was
short-lived, however, as a Patrick Grasso goal 54 seconds later put New
Hampshire back in front.
Madigan said after the game
that the officials apologized to him for missing a hitting to the head penalty
against Northeastern in the play leading up to the goal. The officials went to
video review to check the goal, which allowed them to see the missed call after
the fact. “It resulted in a goal then penalty on us . . . so a two-goal swing
against us,” Madigan said, putting extra emphasis on the last two words.
The second goal Madigan referred
to happened after a wild flurry two minutes later, allowing the Wildcats to
extend their lead. With the Huskies already on the penalty kill, freshman
Jeremie Bucheler committed a tripping violation, allowing New Hampshire to
clear out their goalie and create a six-on-four advantage on the delayed
penalty. After moving the puck around for a solid 20–30 seconds, Angus
Crookshank found an opening and scored his team-leading 10th goal of
With 40 minutes gone, the
Huskies looked dead in the water. They were thoroughly outskated in the first
two periods, and a third-period comeback seemed unlikely. Defying expectations,
Northeastern emerged with a renewed energy. Tyler Madden scored his 16th
goal of the season less than two minutes in, and freshman Jayden Struble
followed it up with a goal of his own a few minutes later to even the score.
New Hampshire quieted the
run with a Kohei Sato goal at the 7:14 mark, but Matt Filipe answered just 37
seconds later to pull the Huskies back again. Neither team gained ground in the
ensuing tug-of-war, sending the game to overtime.
When asked if it was a
matter of effort that allowed his team to get back into the game in the third
period, Madigan agreed and added that his players stuck to the game plan. “We
had a lot of offensive zone possession time in there.”
The Wildcats came into the
game with a nation-leading four overtime wins, and they showed why in the extra
frame. Dominating much of the possession in the first half of overtime, New
Hampshire eventually generated a clean chance as Liam Blackburn found Will
MacKinnon streaking into the Northeastern zone down the slot. MacKinnon wasted
no time, firing a one-timer past Husky goaltender Craig Pantano to win the
“We went into the game with
a game plan and we didn’t stick to it,” Madigan lamented, adding that they
didn’t play 60 minutes tonight and UNH took advantage. “If we want to get to
where we need to get to as a team, we can’t be exchanging goals and giving up
five goals in a game.”
Northeastern has a week off
between games, with their next contest coming January 18 against UConn at
Matthews Arena. Christian Skroce and Matt Cunha will call the game, with
coverage beginning at 3:45 PM EST.
Thursday night’s ending was a test of just how much déjà vu
the college basketball gods can cram into one play.
Just like Saturday, Northeastern faced a top-tier CAA
opponent at Matthews Arena. Once again, the Huskies overcame first-half
struggles, closed the deficit with hot second-half shooting, and tied the score
in the game’s waning minutes with a clutch three.
But, unbelievably, and again, their opponent’s elite senior
scorer caught a pass above the arc, drove left, and hit an athletic lefty layup
with tenths of a second left on the clock, leaving Northeastern to miss a halfcourt
heave as the buzzer sounded.
The only difference: tonight’s victor was Hofstra, not
William & Mary. The final assassin was Eli Pemberton, not Nathan Knight.
But the result was the same: a two-point loss to a top-notch CAA foe in a game
Northeastern arguably should have won. It was like finding out your friend has
an identical twin they never mentioned.
The Huskies fell to the Pride, 74–72, losing their second
straight game and dropping to 9–8 (3–2 CAA) and fourth place in the CAA.
Hofstra (13–5, 4–1 CAA) is third.
After the 66–64 loss to William & Mary on Saturday, the
Huskies were left wondering if a few things going right — namely Roland shooting
better — would have yielded a victory. Tonight’s first-half culprit was . . .
well, how much time do you have?
It began with turnovers. Northeastern surrendered the ball
11 times in the first half, seven of which were Hofstra steals. Forfeiting possession
that many times will always hurt your prospects, but the harm is amplified when
so many of the giveaways are live-ball turnovers. Though Hofstra didn’t eviscerate
the Huskies on points off turnovers or the fastbreak, the Pride benefitted from
the extra possessions, took more shots than Northeastern, and retained their
momentum for most of the first half.
Northeastern also repeatedly missed uncontested layups. Besides
the obvious loss of two points, each miss ended with the shooter underneath the
Husky basket, allowing Hofstra to push the ball in transition and attack Northeastern’s
defense before it was set.
Northeastern struggled in navigating Hofstra’s matchup zone,
a defense that combines zone and man principles, prioritizes switching, and
employs quick perimeter defenders. The Pride pressured Husky guards along both sidelines,
and the Huskies struggled to circumvent the traps with quick passes. Even when
the passes found their targets, their lack of accuracy and zip meant that Northeastern
couldn’t make Hofstra pay for doubling.
“Their matchup zone is not the typical zone; it’s not like you run your zone offense and you get [shots],” Northeastern head coach Bill Coen explained. “You have to be able to move, manipulate the defense to be able to create some openings, and understand their slides and their movements. It gets you guarding yourself a little bit and you get timid.”
Coen also remarked that his team’s “ball screen coverage was
very soft,” which allowed Hofstra to invade the lane and grab rebounds. The
Pride also took advantage by screening to spring shooters loose on
out-of-bounds plays, which netted several baskets.
Roland followed up his poor showing Saturday — seven points
on woeful three-for-14 shooting — with just three points on five shots in the
“I think I’m just gonna have to play better for us to be
able to win games,” Roland said, one of several similar comments he made after
the game. “If I played [well] for 40 minutes I feel like we win today.”
It was shocking to see Roland be so hard on himself. True,
he was absent in the first half save for one made three, one of many reasons
why the Huskies trailed by 16 at the break. But his second half was a fireworks
display. Roland posted 25 second-half points, splashing home seven of his nine
threes to key the Northeastern comeback. His final stat line — 28 points on 17
shots — was patently ridiculous, and his final three tied the game with 21
There’s no disputing that Roland’s play in the last six
weeks has been inconsistent from game to game, and even within games. But when knocks
down a few shots, when he finds his rhythm and finds his range, he has a gear
most college players can’t reach with a stepladder. It almost doesn’t matter
how far he is from the basket or how close the defender is to him; he will rain
down three-point fire from above and make opposing guards look foolish for
trying to defend him.
The other key Husky performer was Bolden Brace, whose 18-point, 10-rebound effort was easily one of his best games all year. In the first half, he became the 39th player in Northeastern history — and the second player this season — to reach the 1,000-point plateau. He was the only Husky who played well throughout the first half, repeatedly sliding into open space, making intelligent passes, and using his gravity to bend the Hofstra zone.
Tyson Walker, fresh off his second straight and fourth
overall CAA Rookie of the Year win, scored 10 points but made just five of his
15 shots. He did notch a couple of gorgeous layups, though, showing impressive driving
strength and body control for a six-foot, 162-pound player.
For Hofstra, it was Pemberton and Desure Buie, both senior guards, who led the way. The pair finished with similar stat lines — 20+ points, efficient shooting inside and out, and four rebounds — but Pemberton, courtesy of his game-winner, walked away the center of attention. He made the most of his time on national television, chatting with a CBS reporter as the Huskies trudged off the court. Isaac Kante also made his mark, logging 15 points, making all seven of his shots, and snagging 12 rebounds.
Buie’s efficiency has been remarkable this season, trailing
only Roland in shooting efficiency among CAA guards. He has been on fire in
conference play, and entered Thursday’s game fresh off a 44-point explosion
against Elon. His performance was expected. Pemberton’s was much more in doubt,
as his efficiency has been relatively low and his scoring inconsistent. But he
showed the Huskies why preseason expectations pegged him as the best player on
the conference’s best team.
“He just made a really, really athletic play to his left hand
off the glass,” Coen said. “We had a little bit of a sloppy closeout, he’s a
terrific athlete, and he’s been a very good player in this league for a long,
It’s hard to know where the Huskies stand after five
conference games. They won their first three conference games by 16, 16, and
nine points, then lost the next two on game-winners. They’ve seen stellar performances
and season-lows from Roland. They’ve protected the ball brilliantly — just five
turnovers against William & Mary — and tossed it around carelessly,
committing 11 first-half turnovers tonight. They were outrebounded cleanly by bottom-dwelling
Elon, then held their own down low against William & Mary’s twin tower
lineup of Knight and Andy Van Vliet.
Sometimes they’ve looked like a first-place team.
And sometimes they’ve been overpowered.
“We got two losses in this league by a total of four points,”
Coen lamented. “It’s not where we want to be, but we know we’re not that far
“What I do like about both these losses is the character of
this team. We got down in both games, came back, and narrowly missed salvaging
both games. It’s in these guys, they know it. The standard in this program has
been pretty high, it’s a championship-level standard, and their efforts and
expectations are the same.
“It’s all about where the teachable moments are . . . and
getting to the point where these guys can learn from it and get better. I know
the desire is there.”
After Thursday’s games, there are three teams ahead of
Northeastern in the conference standings. They just lost to two of them in
heartbreaking fashion, making next Thursday’s game against the undefeated Charleston
Cougars all the more essential.
Losing will lower their overall and conference records to
.500, likely move them to the middle of the standings, and cast serious doubts on
the team’s ability to repeat as CAA champions. A win would prove their talent,
their execution, and their resilience after a pair of tough losses.
Michael Petillo and Matt Neiser will call that game, with
coverage beginning at 6:45 PM EST.
Tyler Madden began Monday
with 14 goals and 12 assists, tied for third in the nation in goals and tied
for fourth in points. The Vancouver Canucks prospect has been on fire as of
late; in only his second college season, Madden has placed himself firmly in
the Hobey Baker Award conversation.
The hot streak continued
into Monday night, as he racked up another goal and a pair of assists en route
to a 4–2 Northeastern victory over the visiting Bentley Falcons. In a game
closer than the score suggests, Madden’s goal scoring and playmaking once again
helped the Huskies tally a win.
“I don’t think it’s slowed
down, I think I just understand it a little bit better,” Madden said when asked
about the change in year two. “I think having a first year under your best
helped me out a lot. [I’m] starting to get those areas where I score more and
just play some good hockey.”
On the back of a 5–2
victory on the road against fellow Hockey East opponent UConn, sub-.500 Bentley
(8–11–1) looked like a walk in the park for No. 11/13 Northeastern (13–5–2,
7–4–1 HEA). As it turns out, it was anything but for the Huskies.
Neither team gained any
traction in the first period, with the two sides jostling back-and-forth for
much of the frame. Bentley held the shot lead for the entire period, ending the
first 20 minutes with an 8–7 advantage. Despite the discrepancy, it was
Northeastern that got on the board first. As the clock ticked under two
minutes, the Huskies went on the power play following a slashing call on the
Falcons. As he does so often, Madden dictated play before sliding a perfect
pass across the zone, finding freshman Aidan McDonough for a one-timer to take
McDonough has come on
strong for the Huskies this season, proving to be the missing link on a power
play unit that struggled to start the season. After sputtering early, the
Huskies have brought their conversion percentage above 20 percent, placing them
in the top-20 in the nation. Monday’s goal was McDonough’s eighth of the
season, all on the man advantage. Those eight PP goals tie him for the lead
nationally, no small feat for a freshman on the same unit as Madden and Zach
After just one penalty in
the first frame, the second period turned into a whistle-fest. Starting at the
6:48 mark, three penalties were assessed in the next 10 minutes — two to
Northeastern and one to Bentley. Neither team found paydirt on those
opportunities, and Bentley even came close to converting on a breakaway as they
killed off the Huskies’ first. A Falcon stretch pass found a streaking Matt
Gosiewski, but grad transfer goaltender Craig Pantano saved the day with one of
many outstanding saves on the night.
If it feels like you’ve
read that sentence before, you probably have — Pantano has bailed out
Northeastern with spectacular saves in many a game this season. Madden had high
praise for his teammate, saying “He’s unbelievable. He’s definitely held us in
a lot of games, especially here tonight. It easily could have been 4–4 at the
end of that game, and he just came up big.”
The second period ended
scoreless, but the final 20 minutes more than made up for that. Just under two
minutes into the third, Bentley’s Jonathan Desbiens tucked home a rebound off a
Pantano save to even the game at a goal apiece. Madden took matters into his
own hands and responded less than three minutes later, sliding home a one-timer
from the slot off a feed from sophomore Jordan Harris.
Bentley again brought the
game to a dead heat 8:40 into the third with Jakov Novak’s team-leading 12th
goal of the season, setting up a thrilling finish.
As the clock went under two
minutes left in regulation, overtime looked like a foregone conclusion.
Northeastern continued to press hard for the game-winner, and they eventually found
it when freshman Matt DeMelis fed a pass into the slot for senior Matt Filipe,
who beat the goaltender up high to give the Huskies the lead for good.
Adding insult to injury,
Solow got on the end of a turnover and scored an insurance goal just 26 seconds
later, bringing the final score to 4–2.
Senior captain Ryan Shea
tallied three assists on the night, bringing his season total to a team-high
19. The helpers extended Shea’s point streak to 11 games, dating back to a game
against Merrimack on November 9. Solow’s goal boosted his point streak to nine
games. Pantano saved 26 of 28 Bentley shots, earning his 13th win of
Husky head coach Jim
Madigan praised his team’s ability to step up when it mattered most. “I thought
Bentley played well, and they outplayed us and they outshot us for three
periods . . . we’ve got a mature group in there, and those are the ones that
stepped up and we found a way to win.”
Northeastern is back in
action on Saturday, traveling north to Durham to take on the New Hampshire
Wildcats. Matt Neiser and Dale DeSantis will be on the call, with coverage
beginning at 6:45 PM EST.
Entering Saturday’s games, three CAA men’s basketball teams boasted undefeated
records. Two of those teams, Northeastern and Charleston, were of no surprise
to most CAA followers. But you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who predicted
the third team would be where they are.
The William & Mary Tribe, with long-time head coach
Tony Shaver freshly fired and four of five starters from last year
transferring, were projected to finish seventh in the conference in the
preseason coaches and media poll. After an impressive non-conference run and a
2–0 start to the CAA slate — including a 27-point destruction of
preseason-favorite Hofstra — no one is picking them that low anymore.
Northeastern looked to leave a black mark on that résumé
while adding to their own as the two teams faced off in Matthews Arena Saturday
evening. In a back-and-forth affair that came right down to the final
possession, the Huskies — and Tyson Walker’s last-second half court heave —
came up just short as the Tribe came away with their second-straight statement
win over a conference heavyweight.
After a quick William & Mary (11–5, 3–0 CAA) burst to
begin the game, Northeastern (9–7, 3–1 CAA) found their groove and evened the
game at nine points apiece heading into the first media timeout. This theme
would persist for most of the first half, with the two sides trading runs.
Trailing 21–15 a little over halfway through the first frame, the Huskies went
on a 12–0 scoring spree to take a six-point lead.
Not to be
outdone, the Tribe answered with their own 12–0 burst to close the half,
spurred by seven points from seven-foot Wisconsin transfer Andy Van Vliet.
While Van Vliet scored 11 points in the first half,
his partner-in-crime on the low block — reigning All-CAA First Teamer Nathan
Knight — was relatively quiet, scoring just six points on two-for-five
Knight struggle, you may ask? Two words: Max Boursiquot. The 6’5”, 210-pound
redshirt junior gave up five inches and 25 pounds to Knight, but more than
matched the star forward’s strength. Boursiquot battled on the block all half,
keeping Knight in check and drawing a pair of fouls that kept Knight on the
bench for the final 5:32 of the frame. He got it done offensively as well,
pouring in a team-high eight points in the first half.
Husky head coach Bill Coen praised Boursiquot’s play,
saying, “Max is a strong, aggressive kid. He’s got a low center of gravity and
he’s a competitor. He’s not afraid to stick his nose in there, he’s not afraid
of contact. I thought he did an admirable job on him. It’s a tall task; Nathan
Knight could start for a lot of Power Five teams.”
The teams continued their tug-of-war in the second half,
with William & Mary taking advantage of their slight head start to keep
Northeastern at bay. A 14–2 Tribe run boosted their lead to 14 points,
threatening to blow the game wide open as they did against Hofstra.
Roland was struggling from the field and had just seven points, and it looked
like the Huskies were out of answers. Coen pulled Roland in favor of grad
transfer Guilien Smith, who has played sparingly this season.
“Guilien is an outstanding teammate. He’s one of the most
well-liked guys in our locker room, provides great energy every day in practice,”
Coen said of his decision. “We were a little flat. Nothing against Jordan, but
[Guilien plays] his position and I felt like we needed a spark, we needed to
change the energy on the floor.”
The move paid off, and the Huskies went on a 21–7 run over
the next eight minutes to tie the game at 64. The largest contributor was
Shaquille Walters, who scored 12 of those 21 points, including an and-one layup
with 13 seconds left to even the score and send Matthews Arena into a frenzy.
After running the clock down to five seconds and taking a
timeout, William & Mary gave the ball to Nathan Knight looking for the
game-winner. After losing the ball on a drive to the hoop, Knight regained
control, rose up, and nailed a tough, contested layup to take the lead with
just over a second left.
Northeastern had to inbound the ball from full court, and Walker’s
65-foot heave hit both the front and back of the rim, but wouldn’t fall as the
Tribe escaped with the 66–64 victory.
Walters and Bolden Brace scored 15 points each to lead the
Huskies, combining for 14 rebounds, four assists, and three steals. Roland tied
his season low with seven points (3–14 FG, 1–5 3FG) and, for the first time all
season, ceded his position as the CAA’s top scorer. He now trails Charleston’s
Grant Riller, who scored 31 points against James Madison on Saturday and is
averaging 26 points across four conference games.
Knight recorded his nation-leading 12th double-double,
finishing with 23 points and 11 boards to lead all players in both categories.
Van Vliet chipped in 15 points and six rebounds of his own.
“It’s tough to say that you’re happy when they shoot 55
percent from the floor, but we generated 17 turnovers and we had to be in a
scramble mode because they had such a size advantage on us,” Coen said. “We had
to give help in the post, so we were constantly rotating. Those situations
either generated turnovers and runouts for us or baskets for them. They shot
the ball well from three, their high–low post attack is very effective, and
Nathan Knight’s a special player. He’s without a doubt one of the top five
players in our league.”
The Huskies will face more stiff competition when they play
the Hofstra Pride on Thursday. WRBB will call the game, with coverage beginning
at 7:45 PM EST.
In a battle between Hockey
East’s two Husky teams at the Hartford XL Center on Friday night, Northeastern’s
early-game dominance on both sides of the puck carried them to a 5–2 victory
Within the team’s first 30
seconds of play in 2020, Northeastern’s Matt Filipe fired a shot into the back
of the net on an assist from Ryan Shea.
After Filipe’s goal, play swung
back and forth until 10:40 into the period, when Zach Solow’s unassisted goal
gave Northeastern a 2–0 lead. Minutes
later, Tyler Madden scored another goal, assisted by Aidan McDonough and Grant
UConn struggled through the
entire first period and most of the second, turning over the puck frequently
and giving Northeastern many scoring opportunities.
Nearly twelve minutes into
the second period, Solow put in another goal, assisted by McDonough and Madden.
Northeastern’s score streak continued minutes later,
their fifth goal courtesy of freshman Matt DeMelis, who put home a rebound from
teammate Neil Shea.
UConn finally got on the
board with a minute left in the second period, when Vladislav Firstov put home
a rebound. Firstov’s goal trimmed the Northeastern lead to 5–1 entering the
Though the final period
featured UConn’s second goal (by Jonny Evans seven minutes in), it also brought
increased aggression. With just under five minutes to play, McDonough was
called for goalie interference. Simultaneously, freshman defender Mike
Kesselring was hit with a five-minute major penalty (and a ten-minute game
misconduct) for a violent cross-check, putting Northeastern at a disadvantage
for the remainder of the game.
With nearly three minutes
to go in the game, UConn pulled goalie Tomas Vomacka, leaving Northeastern in a
three-on-five situation. Once McDonough’s penalty was over, Northeastern
defended the more manageable four-on-five penalty kill.
“We didn’t play as cleanly as I would
have liked in the third period,” Madigan said, though he remarked that the “PK
did a great job all night long.”
Craig Pantano also played a solid game, making 24 saves for a .923 save
Northeastern will take on
Bentley this Monday in Matthews Arena. Christian Skroce and Dale Desantis
will call the game for WRBB, with coverage beginning at 6:45.