Huskies open strong with a 4-2 victory over Warriors
Boston – The start of the Hockey East regular season got under way here at Matthews Arena with a quick start from the Huskies. Northeastern looked to jump out on Merrimack early in their first contest of the year, and they did just that. First year goaltender, Rasmus Tirronen, was hung out to dry in his first few minutes of action as Northeastern, in the first minute of play, netted an uncontested shot from the point that was deflected easily into the back of the net by Garrett Vermeersch. Northeastern went on to score two more goals in the next eight minutes with goals coming from both Joe Manno and freshmen Kevin Roy. Both goals were the result of poor defensive play from the Merrimack defense that gave the Huskies a quick 3-0 lead that would not be overcome by the Warriors. The Warriors gave a strong showing in the second period, netting two goals, but with a late third period empty netter from Robbie Vrolyk, it was not to be for Merrimack with the game ending in a 4-2 season opening victory for the Huskies.
Kevin Roy is the real deal. Make no bones about it; the highly touted freshmen forward can play. Roy put his skills on display throughout the game impressing everyone in attendance at Matthews arena tonight. The speedy forward was crafty and decisive when he had the puck, contributing with both an assist and a goal in his Northeastern debut. There is no question that Roy has the talent to be a huge contributor on offense this season. If Roy can tighten up his game in the defensive zone he has the potential to be one of the best two-way players in all of Hockey East.
The different line combinations were numerous as Jim Madigan consistently shuffled the lines up throughout the night. Not even the top two lines were immune to this strategy as the likes of Garrett Vermeersch and captain Vinny Saponari were both seen skating with fourth and third line teammates throughout the game. Whether this is was a strategy for this particular matchup with Merrimack, or if it was simply Madigan’s way of searching for the best line combinations, it will definitely be something to pay attention to in the upcoming game against Boston College on Saturday night.
Signs of the 2011-2012 team emerge as the Huskies suffered from a huge let down in the second period. Last season, Northeastern had a tendency to struggle in games where they were able to take an early lead. This type of inconsistent play led to a number of big games and important points getting away from the Huskies last season. The Huskies had their lead cut to 1 in the second period, as they were completely out played for the entire length of the period. Although the Huskies were able to weather the storm on this night, it is these kind of letdowns that Northeastern must shake if they have any chance of consistently winning this season.
“You dont win in this league unless you have senior leadership and upper class leadership it is just too difficult of a league, and you don’t win also unless you do get contributions from your freshmen.” – Northeastern head coach, Jim Madigan.