Madden’s overtime heroics push Northeastern past UMass, 2-1

BOSTON, MA – It would take a minute and 12 seconds longer than regulation to determine a winner, but freshman forward Tyler Madden scored the game-winning goal in overtime to give #8 Northeastern a 2-1 win over #1 UMass.

In Northeastern’s first victory over the #1 team in the country since 2012, junior defenseman Jeremy Davies scored the lone Husky goal in regulation on a breakaway, and sophomore goaltender Cayden Primeau made 46 saves between regulation and overtime to limit the Minutemen to one goal. The win put Northeastern into sole possession of second place with 19 points. They still trail UMass for first place by one point, but the Minutemen have a game in hand.

Northeastern came out with more gusto and life than they had showed in the entirety of Friday’s contest. The Huskies tallied eight shots on goal in the opening frame, and the energy they brought was evident from the get-go. Neither team would light the lamp in the first period.

Davies would be the first goal-scorer for either team, scooping the puck off up off a turnover in the neutral zone and darting into the offensive end of the ice for a breakaway. Davies was able to deke sophomore goaltender Matt Murray and roof a back-handed shot, sending the sellout crowd at Historic Matthews Arena into a frenzy.

UMass would not go quietly into the night, and at 8:02 of the third period sophomore forward John Leonard, who was a scratch for Friday night’s game, skated into the slot and picked up a pass from freshman defenseman Ty Farmer and fired an equalizer passed Primeau. The Vorhees, NJ native made 17 saves in the third period and 46 total saves in the game. Primeau was one of the primary difference makers for Northeastern as he backstopped the Huskies every time the Minutemen came charging.

1:12 into overtime, Madden made a similar play to Davies, retrieving the puck in the neutral zone and driving hard on the right wing on Murray. Madden had the option to pass on the two-on-one that had developed but elected to shoot on Murray. The goal horn sounded and the Northeastern faithful roared as the Huskies celebrated one of their biggest regular season wins in recent memory.

Northeastern will face off against Providence in a home-and-home next weekend. The Huskies will travel to Rhode Island on Friday, January 25 with puck drop set for 7:00 p.m. WRBB will have full coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Men’s Basketball Flies Past Seahawks, 88-71

Image Credit: GoNU.
Image Credit: GoNU

by Milton Posner

Northeastern head coach Bill Coen was visibly pleased after the game.

His squad entered Saturday’s contest against the UNCW Seahawks fresh off defeating Elon, William & Mary and the College of Charleston by a combined 40 points.

On Saturday, his CAA Player of the Year runner-up, his CAA Defensive Player of the Year and his standout redshirt transfer combined for 58 points on 19-36 shooting.

His team turned the ball over four times. Four. All game.

His defense clicked. His offense revved.

And his Northeastern Huskies squashed UNCW, 88-71, boosting their record to 11-8 (5-2 CAA) and showing that last season’s CAA Championship runner-up, after an injury-ridden start to the season, is rounding into form.

“It’s just another step for us,” the Northeastern head coach remarked. “We still have a lot of growth in this team. But I like the way we’re trending.”

The first half was close. The Huskies never led by more than eight and took a two-point margin into the break. Northeastern relied on three-point shooting from Pusica, Occeus and Roland, while UNCW (7-14, 3-4 CAA) battled inside with All-CAA First Teamer Devontae Cacok (23 points, 9-12 FG, 13 rebounds) and Jeantal Cylla (17 points, 7-12 FG).

The second half was fun. And fast. And phenomenal.

Northeastern outscored UNCW 48-33. They diversified their attack, balancing their perimeter shooting with fearless drives to the basket. And they slowed the Seahawk attack, something Coen credits particularly to Occeus.

“He’s the guy that picks up in the backcourt, gets the ball under control, spearheads our defense,” Coen noted. “He’s gonna draw the toughest assignment. He does a great job with the scouting report…to know their pet moves and what they like to do.

“He’s our first line of defense. Everyone talks about an offensive rhythm, but there’s a defensive rhythm too.

The catalyst? Bolden Brace’s foul trouble.

“We were able to shift Shawn up and go a little bit smaller and quicker,” Coen explained. “When we’re small like that and have those guys on the floor spaced around a post player, that’s good offense for us.”

Northeastern faces Towson and James Madison this week before returning home to face the as-yet-undefeated Hofstra Pride and their CAA Player of the Year Justin Wright-Foreman. Given Towson (1-5) and James Madison’s (2-4) weak CAA records, the Huskies may have a six-game winning streak by then.

But a few things are certain. After five consecutive double-digit scoring efforts and much stringent defense, Shawn Occeus looks healthy. Ditto Vasa Pusica, who’s logged 42 points on just 20 shots in the last two contests. Jordan Roland is finding his role with Occeus and Pusica in the lineup and is proving himself a reliable third (or even second) scoring option off the bench.

And the Northeastern Huskies, who endured a hazardous non-conference schedule without their two best players, are finally flourishing.

#1 UMass Trounces Huskies in Amherst

AMHERST, MA – The #8 Northeastern Huskies were trounced by the #1 UMass Minutemen in a 6-1 defeat on Friday night.

The Minutemen scored three times in the opening period to set the tone for the game. Northeastern was unable to match their opponent in any phase of the game. Coach Madigan would call it their worst loss in several years.

Scoring opened up just 90 seconds into the game when senior forward Kurt Keats scored his first goal of the season, a tip-in from a shot just inside the blue line. Sophomore defenseman would get his first of three assists on the following goal when senior forward Jacob Pritchard netted the eventual game winning goal on the power play. Senior forward Brett Boeing made it 3-0 at 13:16 in the first, and Makar would earn his second assist of the night.

Things did not look up for Northeastern as the Minutemen tacked on two more goals in the second period. At the 8:37 mark, sophomore forward Oliver Chau scored his fifth goal of the season and freshman defenseman Ty Farmer earned his second assist of the game. Just over a minute later at 9:48, freshman forward Bobby Trivigno scored his sixth of the season and Makar earned his final assist of the game, his 19th of the season.

Sophomore goaltender Cayden Primeau, who had started the game, was pulled from the game and replaced with senior Ryan Ruck after the Trivigno’s goal.

Trivigno and Pritchard would end up assisting on the lone third period goal for the Minutemen when sophomore forward Philip Lagunov put one past Ruck just 19 seconds into the third period. A flurry of penalties including a ten-minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct on sophomore goaltender Matt Murray – who served the 10 minutes himself in the penalty box, forcing freshman Filip Lindberg to finish the game – resulted in a 4-on-3 for Northeastern. With senior forward Pat Schule in the penalty box and two Minutemen residing in the neighboring sin bin, freshman forward Tyler Madden scored the lone Husky goal at the 8:45 mark.

Northeastern found themselves on the penalty kill six different times including five minutes for the major penalty committed by Schule. They were also outshot 38 to 16 and could not score when UMass had more than three skaters on the ice.

The Huskies will face UMass again on Saturday, January 19 at 7 p.m. in Historic Matthews Arena. WRBB will have pre-game coverage beginning at 6:45 p.m.

Huskies lock down Charleston for third straight win

by Matthew MacCormack

Five days after scoring 90 points in a blowout win over William & Mary, the Northeastern men’s basketball team proved they could win in a different way — with their defense. And they did it by neutralizing the very team that stole a NCAA tournament bid out of their hands last March.

The Huskies (10-8, 4-2 CAA) put the clamps on defending CAA champion Charleston on Thursday night, holding the Cougars (14-5, 3-3 CAA) under 43% from the floor in a 69-60 win at Matthews Arena. NU forced 17 turnovers on a Cougars team that had averaged fewer than 11 per game. Charleston’s stars senior forward Jarrell Brantley (13 points, 6 turnovers) and Grant Riller 17 points, 4 turnovers) were held well below their season scoring averages.

Northeastern junior forward Bo Brace locked up Brantley, while CAA Defensive Player of the Year Shawn Occeus held Riller in check.

“I thought tonight was a return of our defense from last year,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen.

“I thought their (Occeus and Brace) individual efforts allowed us to control this game.”

With the win, the Huskies take sole possession of third place in the CAA.

Redshirt senior point guard Vasa Pusica led the way with 21 points (6-8 FG), who connected on all eight of his free throw attempts. Brace racked up a 14-point, 10-rebound double-double, and Occeus chipped in 12 points.

Next up, the Huskies battle UNCW at home on Saturday at noon. Michael Petillo and Milton Posner will have the call for WRBB.

MHock completes weekend sweep of Maine

by Christian Skroce

ORONO, Maine – The Northeastern Men’s Hockey Team brought themselves within one point of the top spot in Hockey East after securing the weekend sweep of Maine with a 4-0 win on Saturday night.

The game started slow, as the teams skated to a 0-0 tie after the first period. Zach Solow opened up the scoring for the Huskies just 17 seconds into the second period, and they never looked back. Northeastern increased their lead to 3-0 just four minutes later, as Pecararo and Hawkins added one each in quick succession. Hawkins would go on to complete the scoring for Northeastern in the third period, as he finished off a fantastic sequence, started by a diagonal, cross-ice pass from defenseman Ryan Shea.

“I thought both games we played a complete game. Our guys worked hard, we played smart, and I thought we showed great patience throughout both games,” said Madigan after the game. “It’s tough to come up here and sweep, but our kids showed great discipline to win both games.”

Perhaps the most important storyline for the Huskies in this one was the tremendous performance by sophomore net-minder Cayden Primeau. After a less than stellar start last night, Primeau came out tonight on fire, recording a 33 save shutout, the seventh of his young career. Madigan praised his goalie postgame, “We faced a lot of shots tonight, and he came up huge for us.”

Northeastern will face arguably its toughest test of the season when the team heads to Amherst next Friday (1/18) to begin a home-and-home series with UMASS. An anticipation of this upcoming weekend, Madigan noted, “Every team is this league is a good team. We’re gonna take the week to prepare for a good UMASS side, knowing we certainly have a chance to get the job done.” Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm.

Occeus sparks MBB over W&M, 90-70, for second-straight win

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. —

It looks like Shawn Occeus is rounding into form.

The junior forward –who missed 10 games this season with an ankle injury — guided the Huskies (9-8, 3-2 CAA) to a 90-70 victory over the William & Mary Tribe Saturday afternoon in Kaplan Arena. Occeus, the 2018 CAA Defensive Player of the Year, scored a game-high 21 points, notched a career-high eight assists, and added four rebounds and two steals for good measure. He shot eight of 12 from the floor and connected on five of his eight three-point attempts.

Entering the game, Occeus had scored just 6.2 points per game, shooting less than 33% in his six games.

“Today we saw Shawn again,” said Northeastern coach Bill Coen after the game.

“He spearheaded our effort on both sides of the ball…He got into the passing lanes, got into the lane, made his threes and gave us the lift we needed today.”

It’s the second straight year Northeastern has gone into Kaplan Arena and pulled out a 90-70 victory. Last year, the Huskies shot 71% from the floor in their road victory.

It wasn’t quite the same blistering performance, but Northeastern shot 60% and 48% from three (7-13) in the 2019 matchup. They scored 21 points off of 16 William & Mary turnovers.

The lead swelled to as high as 28 with 4:22 to go in the game, when Occeus buried his fifth and final triple.

“Defensively, we came out in the second half with really good energy,” Coen added.

“We married that with patient and unselfish offense and that’s a good formula.”

Junior center Nathan Knight led the Tribe with 22 points and eight rebounds. Fellow junior Justin Pierce had 14 points and seven rebounds.

The Huskies’ next test will be a tough one: a rematch of the CAA Championship with the defending champion Charleston Cougars (14-4, 3-2 CAA). Matthews Arena will play host to a 7 p.m. tip-off on Thursday, and WRBB will have the call.

MHock picks up win at Maine

by Patrick Milne

ORONO, Maine — The No. 12 Northeastern men’s hockey team scored a 3-2 victory over Maine at Alfond Arena Saturday night, using a strong start to propel them to victory.

Coming off a disappointing loss to Merrimack without scoring a goal the previous weekend, the Huskies came out hungry in the first period. Brandon Hawkins opened the scoring for Northeastern after receiving a great backdoor pass from defenseman Jeremy Davies. A few minutes later Tyler Madden, back from the World Juniors tournament, danced through the Maine defense with some silky-smooth moves, allowing Patty Schule to come in put it in the empty net after the Maine goaltender Swayman was able to make the first save on Madden. Maine, obviously frustrated by the quick hole they dug themselves, took a 5-minute major for head butting after the whistle. On the power play, Matt Filipe was able to put one home to extend the Huskies’ lead to 3-0. The rest of the first period saw a couple more power play chances, but Northeastern was unable to capitalize.

The second period, was a much different period than the first. Maine cleaned up their play, and stopped taking penalties. Northeastern seemed to dominate control of the puck, but were unable to generate many dangerous scoring opportunities. Some errant passes by Northeastern gave Maine some strong opportunities on quick counter attacks and they were able to put one past Cayden Primeau, also back from the World Juniors Tournament, on a shot from a fast break opportunity.

The third period played out similarly to the second. Northeastern continued to control the puck in the Maine zone most of the time, but Maine still had threats on their fast break counter attacks. The Huskies’ defense and Cayden Primeau were able to hold strong until a late tripping penalty on Biagio Lerario gave the Black Bears the chance they needed. Maine’s power play quickly scored to make it a one goal game, as Primeau made a great first save, but the rebound squirted free and was popped into the net. With over three and a half minutes left and the Maine crowd buzzing at home, there was still plenty of time for Maine to send it into overtime. However, the Northeastern defense stepped up big and Cayden Primeau made his best glove save of the night in order to keep their lead and get the much needed 2 points from this victory.

Northeastern faces off against Maine for the rematch Saturday night at 7:00 pm

First Period Onslaught Carries WHock Past Eagles

by Joe Barbito

BOSTON, MA – Northeastern secured a 4-1 victory over long-time rival #10 Boston College at Historic Matthews Arena.

Three of the Huskies four goals came in the first period including an unassisted tally from freshman forward Chloe Aurard and a beautiful tap-in from junior forward Andrea Renner. Sophomore goaltender Aerin Frankel made 29 saves, and Northeastern improved to 13-1-2 in Hockey East play.

Scoring opened up at 3:21 of the first period, when sophomore forward Veronika Pettey was able to connect with senior forward Tori Sullivan for her third goal of the season. Sullivan, the former Eagle, did not have a shot on goal the rest of the game, but made her only one count.

Aurard scored her 10th of the season, an unassisted tally, at 14:26 of the first period. The point was Aurard’s 24th of the year.

The biggest highlight real goal of the game came at 15:18 of the first period. Junior forward Matti Hartman tore up the right wing, and with a backchecker barreling down on her, found Renner streaking towards the net on the far side of the ice. Hartman was able to perfectly plant the pass on Renner’s stick, and Renner, who slid into the boards unharmed after the play ended, gave the Huskies their biggest lead of the game.

BC would get one back at 4:22 of the second period, when sophomore forward Daryl Watts netted the lone Eagles goal of the game. Senior defender Megan Keller earned the secondary assist on the goal for her 15th of the year.

Mid-way through the second period, Aurard suffered an upper body injury on an awkward collision inside the Northeastern blue line. She laid flat on the ice with the trainer attending her before skating off the ice with help from her teammates. She did not return to the game and is currently day-to-day.

No one would find the back of the net again until the end of the third period. Down two goals, BC head coach Katie Crowley pulled freshman goaltender Maddy McArthur for an extra skater. The Huskies fought off the attack well, and with six seconds left in regulation, senior forward Kasidy Anderson extended her goal streak to four games with her 13th of the season, an empty-netter to ice the game.

Northeastern with the victory tonight and the Providence Friars’ loss to Boston University, Northeastern extended their lead in the conference to 8 points with 28 on the season.

The Huskies are back in action tomorrow at 2p.m. from Conte Forum in Chestnut Hill where they will complete their season series against BC.

Anderson, Mueller power Huskies to victory in Belfast

Image Credit: GoNU/Brian Bae
Image Credit: GoNU/Brian Bae

by Joe Barbito, Matt MacCormack and Justin Littman

BELFAST, Northern Ireland — The No. 3 Northeastern Huskies women’s hockey team defeated the No. 5 Clarkson Golden Knights 3-1 at SSE Arena Sunday, securing a huge win in the final segment of the Friendship Series. The win marked their first victory over the Golden Knights since 2013, and the Huskies’ fourth win against a top-five opponent this season.

Tied at one goal each going into the third period, freshman forward Alina Muller scored the game-winning goal and senior forward Kasidy Anderson (2 goals) tacked on an extra insurance tally to seal the deal.

“To beat a two-time national champion is going to set the tone for us,” a beaming Anderson said after the game.

“We have to play every game with that intensity.”

After the Huskies fell in a 2-0 hole in Saturday’s 3-3 tie with Clarkson, Huskies’ head coach Dave Flint emphasized a strong start for Sunday’s bout. The first goal of the game came just 6:46 into the first period, off the stick of Anderson. The Huskies won a faceoff in the offensive zone, and Anderson was in the perfect position to fire one past senior goaltender Kassidy Sauve to give the Huskies the early lead.

“In my pregame speech that was the first thing I touched on; we need to start faster than we did,” Flint said.

“We got all the rust knocked off let’s get at it right off the bat today.”

Senior forward Loren Gabel, who recorded a whopping 10 shots on goal, answered back at the 14:50 mark. Gabel received a pass from senior defender Josiane Pozzebon, and as Gabel skated down the left wing she ripped a shot top shelf past sophomore goaltender Aerin Frankel. It would be the only goal Frankel gave up, as she recorded 23 saves in total, including 10 in the third period.

Gabel was featured on a line with junior forward Michaela Pekzlova and sophomore forward Elizabeth Giguere, a strategy that paid dividends yesterday for Clarkson head coach Matt Desrosiers. The Northeastern defense and goaltending was up to the task today and was able to keep Clarkson off the board for the final 45 minutes.

(Image Credit: Belfast Telegraph)
(Image Credit: Belfast Telegraph)

Mueller scored her 13th of the season at the 7:19 mark of the third period; sophomore defenders Skylar Fontaine and Brooke Hobson skillfully moved the puck around the blue-line before Fontaine fed Mueller lower in the crease. Mueller was able to rip a shot past Sauve, which would put the Huskies up for good.

“It was more luck that it went in,” Mueller said.

“I was on the ice for too long and I was tired. I was open so I stayed there instead of going to change and I was like ‘if I get it, I will just shoot it’.

In the dying minutes of regulation, Anderson pulled out all the stops to confuse the Clarkson defense and Sauve. Skating from the slot to the left faceoff circle, she pivoted her body and faked a shot that left her with plenty of space to fire her second of the game past Sauve.

“2-1 game, it’s tight, [and Anderson] comes up with a big goal to make it 3-1 to give us a little breathing room,” Flint said of his senior captain.

“That’s what we need out of her.”

Flint called the experience of participating in the Friendships Series “life-changing.”

“It’s such a tremendous opportunity,” Flint said of the Belfast journey.

“The fact that we were chosen – we’re pretty lucky.”

Northeastern will be back in action next weekend when they face Boston College in a home-and-home set on Friday, January 11 and Saturday January 12. WRBB will have coverage of both games.

Men’s hockey falls to Merrimack at home

by Michael Petillo

The Northeastern men’s hockey team saw their eight-game winning streak
snapped on Saturday night when they fell at home to Merrimack College
in a 1-0 heartbreaker.  After 2 scoreless periods of action Merrimack
freshman Chase Gresock finally broke through to power home the
go-ahead goal with 16:32 left in the contest.

Northeastern controlled most of the game but was unable to capitalize
on a number of excellent chances.  Zach Solow, Bobby Hampton, and
Julian Kislan all saw shots ricochet off the post and the team on the
whole registered 42 shots on goal.  Merrimack goaltender Craig Pantano
was able to fend off each and every one, however, and held the
nation’s 4th ranked scoring offense without a goal on the night.

After Gresock found the back of the net, NU produced a torid stretch
of offense.  They peppered Pantano with shot after shot, but the
senior held firm to help his team grind out the win. It was
frustrating performance for the Huskies, who would have held first
place in Hockey East with a win.

Northeastern will look to get back on track next Friday when they head
up to Maine for what promises to be another tough game.  Puck drop is
at 7:30.