By: Josh Brown (@Josh_Brown31)
WATERTOWN, Mass. – After being swept by Bentley in a nightmare home-and-home series last season, it’s natural to assume Northeastern came into Friday night’s game with a little bit of revenge on the mind.
Unfortunately for the No. 16/14 Huskies (0-1-2), Falcons goaltender Jayson Argue had other ideas.
Despite outshooting Bentley (1-0-0) 35-23 and getting a whopping 13 opportunities on the power play, Argue made 34 saves en route to a 1-1 tie at the John A. Ryan Skating Rink.
“For me, it wasn’t good enough,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “We played in spurts and we were inconsistent with our intensity, winning puck battles.”
“We knew it was going to be a tough game because the way they skate and they apply pressure, and it’s a small building, and I don’t know if we thought it was going to be easier than what it was early on, but early on I didn’t think we played with enough intensity and we didn’t win enough puck battles.”
Northeastern was able to get on the board first just under 14 minutes into the opening period. Already on its fourth power play of the game, this time a five-on-three, assistant captain Nolan Stevens crashed the net on a Zach Aston-Reese shot from the right half-wall and was able to tap home the rebound for his second goal of the season.
That would prove to be the last time the Huskies scored on this night.
Just 2:54 into the second period the Falcons knotted the score at one thanks to a shorthanded tally courtesy of Alexey Solovyev. Despite an abundance of traffic in front of the net, the sophomore defenseman from Moscow, Russia was able to sneak a shot from the point past Huskies sophomore goalie Ryan Ruck (22 saves).
Although from that point forward Northeastern was awarded another eight opportunities on the man-advantage, as opposed to seven all game for Bentley, the Huskies could not find a way to beat Argue.
“It’s finishing, it’s moving the pucks quicker,” said Madigan, “it’s not forcing pucks into spaces that we’re trying to do, and it’s executing. Some of the power plays we did well, moved the puck around really well, and then couldn’t finish at the net when we had chances.”
“You can move it around all you want, and you can make some nice plays, but at the end of the day you have to put it in the net too, so sometimes your power play goals aren’t the most prettiest goals, you’re just outmanning at the net and outnumbering and we weren’t pretty enough at the net.”
Throughout overtime it was more of the same for Northeastern. Despite Solovyev taking an interference call at the 1:39 mark and following it up with another one with 44 seconds left in the contest, the Huskies were sent home winless for the third time in two years against this Falcons squad.
“We just couldn’t generate enough offense, enough grade-A scoring opportunities,” said Madigan, “and didn’t make enough plays, quite simple.”
“They were running at you, which we knew, and we didn’t show enough poise in making some plays, and then our power play, we had a lot of chances and we just couldn’t convert. We need to be better on the power play. Our personnel is better than one goal out of eleven, or whatever the opportunities are.”
The teams will shift the scene to Matthews Arena on Saturday night. Be sure to tune in on WRBB beginning at 6:30 p.m., as Josh Brown and Dan McLoone will have complete coverage of Northeastern’s Hockey East Championship banner raising ceremony prior to faceoff.