Northeastern honored its participants in the Sochi Winter Olympics last night. Kendall Coyne (Women’s Hockey, Silver Medal) and Steve Langton (Men’s Bobsleigh, 2 Bronze Medals) met with the press.
By Josh Brown
In one weekend all the hopes of a home playoff game at Matthews Arena were squashed for Huskies fans after the Boston University Terriers (10-20-4, 5-12-13) swept Northeastern (18-12-4, 10-8-2) in a home-and-home series.
The loss drops Northeastern to fifth in Hockey East, where they will have to travel to Durham to play the fourth seed University of New Hampshire in two weeks in a best of three series to move on to the Hockey East Semifinals at the TD Garden. Despite the sweep, the Huskies did earn a bye week for the first round of the tournament due to some help around the league.
In Friday’s game, despite playing without a handful of suspended players, Boston University jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals by Kevin Duane and Danny O’Regan.
The Terriers would extend the lead to 3-0 7:49 into the 2nd period on a Robbie Baillargeon goal.
A couple minutes later Braden Pimm notched his 19th goal of the season, unassisted, to bring the Huskies to within two goals, but unfortunately for the boys of Huntington Avenue, that would be as close as they got.
The third period featured some back-and-forth hockey but no goals until Ahti Oksanen scored an empty net goal to secure a 4-1 win for Boston University.
The teams combined for 12 penalties on the night, seven by Northeastern and five by the Terriers, with neither team being able to capitalize on any chances. Northeastern out shot BU by a margin of 32-27.
Clay Witt ended the night with 22 saves, where as Terriers goalie Sean Maguire stopped 31 in the one goal effort.
Saturday’s game produced a better effort by Northeastern, but the Huskies still fell short on senior night at Matthews Arena.
Before the game Northeastern honored seniors Cody Ferriero, Bryan Mountain, Zak Stone, and arguably the most improved player from last year for the Huskies, the assistant captain Braden Pimm.
The Huskies also honored Northeastern Olympians, most notably women’s hockey silver medalist Kendall Coyne and Steve Langston, a bronze medalist in the bobsled.
Once again Boston University jumped out to an early lead, this time on a Matt Lane goal assisted by Doyle Somerby and Mike Moran just over five minutes into the game.
Northeastern answered a couple minutes later on a Braden Pimm goal that hit off the helmet of Terrier goalie Matt O’Connor and snuck into the net to tie the game at one at the first intermission.
Zach Aston-Reese was able to give Northeastern their first lead of the series midway through the second period on a snipe in traffic past the glove of O’Connor. Kevin Roy made a nice pass in transition that found the stick of Aston-Reese who was ready to bury it home.
Unfortunately for Northeastern that would be the last time they lit the lamp, as less than three minutes later Matt Lane scored his second of the night, and Doyle Somerby followed that up with a goal of his own to bring the Terriers back within one.
Northeastern came out relatively flat in the third period and it showed on a Mike Moran goal just 7:39 into the final frame to give the Terriers a 4-2 lead, which would prove to be the final score.
Northeastern out shot Boston University 41-21 in the game, but O’Connor was able to make 39 saves in route to the win. Clay Witt had 17 saves of his own on the night, in what was a rough weekend for the netminder.
Coach Jim Madigan was obviously very displeased with the way his team played over the weekend.
“They played smarter than we did, and they deserve the four points.” Madigan said. “Disappointed that we didn’t respond back tonight with a win after what I thought was the worst effort of the year last night.”
Turnovers, much like the prior night, hurt the Huskies again in the home finale.
“We turned three pucks over just inside the offensive blue line and gave them three goals.” Madigan added.
“We have to get our own guys after this weekend in the right mindset.” said Madigan when asked how his team will bounce back before having to travel to one of the most ferocious environments in college hockey, at New Hampshire.
The Huskies will do just that, as they will have just under two weeks to prepare for what is expected to be a roller coaster Hockey East tournament.
By Josh Brown
The #9 Northeastern Huskies (18-10-4) hockey team has clinched a first-round bye in the Hockey East tournament, after picking up 3 huge points against Maine (15-11-4) despite playing without captain Josh Manson, Matt Benning and Dalen Hedges.
The Huskies fell behind 2-0 early in Friday’s game after a Connor Leen goal at the end of the first, followed by a Steven Swavely goal just 24 seconds into the second period gave the Black Bears the early lead.
The Huskies would not roll over, as just over seven minutes later Colton Saucerman brought the Huskies within one on a shot that went sailing past Black Bear goalie Martin Ouellette. A couple minutes later Kevin Roy scored the equalizer on a shot by Saucerman that Roy tipped in for the goal.
John Stevens gave Northeastern a 3-2 lead at 14:14 of the second period on assists from Braden Pimm and Dax Lauwers. 1:36 later Maine was able to get an equalizer of their own when Byron Blaine beat Clay Witt top shelf to send the teams into the locker room tied.
A back-and-forth third period stayed scoreless until 13:57 of the period, when Mark Anthoine put Maine up by 1 with under 7 minutes to play. It looked like the Black Bears were going to come away with the victory until with 1:11 left in the game Braden Pimm scored off an athletic pass by Mike Szmatula to send the game into overtime,
Neither team could find the back of the net in overtime, as both Witt and Ouellette bailed their respective teams out with huge saves, and the game would end in a 4-4 tie.
Head Coach Jim Madigan was pleased after the game with how his team responded when falling behind 2-0.
“I like the way we battled back,” Madigan said, “We got down 2-0 early in the second and I liked the way we bounced back, and I think we’ve shown some pretty good resolve this year.”
Saturday proved to be a better result for the Huskies, who this time were able to jump out to the early lead.
Zach Aston-Reese would collect his first of two goals on the night just 3:41 into the game on an assist from Kevin Roy and Mike Szmatula to give the Huskies the early lead. Just 3:03 later that same line would find the back of the net again, as this time it was Mike Szmatula lighting the lamp on helpers from Aston-Reese and Roy.
As the Huskies did the night before Maine would not role over, and at 16:46 of the first period Ben Hutton would score a power play goal to get the Black Bears within one. Early in the second period Devin Shore would tie the game at two after he beat Clay Witt, who ended the contest with 33 saves.
Mid-way through the second period, Braden Pimm would get in on the action thanks to a pass from Roy to give the Huskies the lead. Aston-Reese would put Northeastern up two in the third on Kevin Roy’s 4th assist of the night, and Szmatula’s 2nd.
Maine would put some pressure on Northeastern, getting the game to within one with an extra attacker thanks to Ben Hutton’s second goal of the game. That is as close as Maine would get as Northeastern was able to kill off a ferocious Black Bears attack and hang on for the 4-3 win.
Kevin Roy talked about how he was able to wrack up 5 assists on the weekend.
“These past few games I’ve had the opportunity to pass the puck more than shoot so I’m just doing anything to help the team to find guys open.”
Coach Madigan was happy taking three points, on what was arguably the most important weekend of hockey for Northeastern in years.
“I thought it was a great weekend of hockey. With two evenly matched teams…I was thrilled with obviously the way our guys battled and showed a lot of resolve from Friday night into tonight.”
Madigan was also pleased with the way his team responded despite a couple key injuries.
“Faced a little adversity with a few guys being out of the line-up. I like the way the guys in the line-up responded today…we talked about it all year long, it’s 28 guys we have on this roster, it’s going to take all 28 to get to where we want to get to…”
The Huskies have one lone regular season weekend series remaining as they have a home-and-home with Boston University Friday and Saturday night. Northeastern has a chance to move all the way up as far as the 2 seed, with a top 4 seed landing home ice for the playoffs.
By Jeremy Leopold
Marcus Thorton may not be a senior, but the junior William & Mary (17-10, 9-5 CAA) guard put up another stellar performance in a lopsided 81-67 victory over the Northeastern Huskies (9-20, 6-9 CAA) on the Tribe’s Senior Night.
All five William & Mary’s starters were seniors playing their final game in Kaplan Arena. But it was Thorton coming off the bench (he still logged 32 minutes) who stole the show, putting up 25 points along with four assists and two rebounds. For their part, Northeastern, a team statistically among the best defensively in the CAA, put up little resistance against Thorton and company, struggling with foul trouble and never getting closer than five points in the second half.
“I thought the emotion was on their side with Senior Day and I thought they played very, very well and just way too much Marcus Thorton. He’s a terrific player and every time we thought we kind of rallied for a comeback he had an answer for us,” said Northeastern Head Coach Bill Coen.
While Thorton, a CAA player-of-the-year candidate, had another great performance, Northeastern junior forward Scott Eatherton, also a candidate, struggled with foul trouble all game, playing only 18 minutes and logging five points and three rebounds along with a lone block. He still trails only Towson’s all-CAA forward Jerrelle Benimon in the national double-double race by one with 17.
“He picked up his third and his fourth pretty quickly and never really got into a rhythm offensively, and we rely on him, we need him to do a lot of things, not only score, but rebound and defend, so without him it makes the game a little bit more challenging,” said Coen.
Thorton not only lead all scorers with his 25 but put up that number efficiently, shooting 9-14 (64 percent) from the field and 5-7 (71 percent) from three, improving his already excellent 41 percent clip from deep.
“I think I was just more aggressive and probably playing more freely,” said Thorton in comparison to his nine point outing on Wednesday against the College of Charleston. “Sometimes I start thinking too much and that kind of takes a toll on my game, so, just having confidence in myself and never losing my confidence and playing more freely and trusting our offense I think helped me a lot today.”
For Northeastern, it was freshman guard T.J Williams leading the offense with 16 points to go along with his team-leading five assists. This is the second straight game Williams has lead the Huskies in scoring.
“I just think he’s playing at a really high level, he’s playing at a very confident pace, he’s distributing the ball, he’s scoring the ball,” said Coen. “That’s what happens at this time of the year, freshmen are no longer freshmen, and he’s certainly playing more like an upperclassman.”
With the win, the Tribe are guaranteed the third seed going into the CAA tournament. For the Huskies, the loss puts them two games behind in the loss column in the race for fourth. With only one game remaining, Northeastern would need a win and some help to get that fourth seed.
Northeastern’s final regular season game is against the Drexel Dragons, on March 1 in Mathews Arena. It will be the Huskies’ Senior Night, where they will honor their lone player in his final year, Chris Avanant, prior to the game.
Game Notes: David Walker added 12 points for the Huskies. Demetrius Pollard also contributed with ten points and four assists. Zach Stahl finished with nine points and ten rebounds, one point short of his second double-double of the year.
For the Tribe, senior forward Tim Rusthoven filled out the stat sheet with 12 points, five assists, five rebounds, and a block in just 17 minutes. Senior Guard Brandon Britt put up 11 points and three boards.
Ryan and Joe recap last week’s game in Amherst and prep for the biggest series of the season this weekend against Maine.
Apologies for the poor audio quality.
By Josh Brown
Despite three, late third period UMass-Amherst (8-19-4) goals, the Northeastern Huskies (17-10-3) were able to outlast the Minutemen 5-4, to claim fourth place in Hockey East at the end of the weekend. The 17th win on the season for Northeastern is its highest win total since the 2008-2009 season.
The Huskies struck first, getting on the board at 14:53 of the first period on a Kevin Roy goal, after a little back and forth passing between Roy and Mike Szmatula led to the puck sailing over the glove side of Minutemen goalie Steve Mastalerz, to give the Huskies the early lead.
Despite the 1-0 lead, and only being out shot 11-10 in the first period, the consensus was that Northeastern was being outplayed by UMass, who displayed an array of finesse and physical play in the first 20. Also in the first period, Huskies freshman Dalen Hedges suffered an undisclosed injury, and did not return to the game in what was the first of an injury filled night for Northeastern.
At 3:43 in the second period Northeastern extended their lead to 2-0 on Adam Reid’s 6th goal of the season, moments after Clay Witt made what could be considered the save of the night, diving to stop a UMass shot to keep the lead for Huskies.
UMass answered late in the second period on Ben Gallacher’s first goal of the season, before being promptly matched two minutes later on a Ryan Belonger goal assisted by Kevin Roy, making the score 3-1 Northeastern at the end of the second.
The action really started to pick up in the third as at just 1:53 in the period Tanner Pond found the back of the net after tipping a Zach Aston-Reese shot by the blocker of Mastalerz. Less than three minutes later Aston-Reese got on the scoreboard himself on a breakaway to give the Huskies what seemed like an insurmountable 5-1 lead.
The Minutemen wouldn’t roll over as just 10 seconds later Michael Pereira got his 10th goal of the season shorthanded to cut the lead to 5-2. Still playing shorthanded, captain Conor Sheary also snuck one past Clay Witt to get UMass within two.
Still chipping away, midway through the period Zack LaRue cut the lead to one, scoring on a tip from a Colin Shea shot which was set up by Ray Pigozzi.
That would be as close as the Minutemen would get though, as Northeastern was able to close out UMass and take the 5-4 victory behind 32 saves by Clay Witt. That total is the third straight game for Witt where he has made more than 30 saves.
Northeastern finished the game with only three defensemen after two injuries, most notable Josh Manson, as well as a Mike Gunn 10-minute misconduct with 4:45 left to play in the game.
Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan was happy to escape Amherst with two points, after what was almost a drastic collapse by the Huskies.
“I like the resiliency that we showed, I liked the way we continued to battle all the way through,” Madigan continued, “obviously I don’t like giving up a four goal lead and holding on, but we’ll take the two points…”
The Huskies will now look ahead to a huge two game home stand against Maine on Friday and Saturday, with four crucial Hockey East points at stake for both the third place Black Bears and the fourth place Huskies.
By Josh Brown
Close but just short.
That was the case for the #12 Northeastern Huskies (16-10-3) Monday night in the Beanpot Championship as they fell 4-1 to the #1 ranked Boston College Eagles (22-4-3), in what could arguably be called Northeastern’s best executed game of the season. The win is Boston College’s 5th consecutive Beanpot title, and the second straight against the Huskies.
Northeastern came out strong in the first period out-shooting the Eagles 16-11 behind a relentless offensive attack and strong defense across the board for the Huskies.Despite this, Boston College scored the lone goal of the first period on Kevin Hayes 21st goal of the season assisted by Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau.
In a reversal of fortune in the second period the Eagles out-shot the Huskies 14-8 but Northeastern scored the only goal of that period on John Stevens’ 6th of the season assisted by Kevin Roy. The Northeastern defense was able to block 12 shots in the second period alone, which helped take the ease off Clay Witt, who once again was his team’s backbone all game long.
Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan was confident where his team was at, after heading into the locker room tied after two periods.
“I like the way our team played, [they] competed hard. They battled for the whole game and through two periods I liked where we were,” Madigan continued, “If you can be 1-1 or up a goal or down a goal going into the third period, you’ve got a chance to win. I just liked where we were going into that third period.”
Despite the consensus that Northeastern outplayed the Eagles in the first two periods, the tide changed in the third with the Eagles out-shooting Northeastern 16-6, and scoring three goals to seal the game.
The first one came at 14:30 of the period on a Patrick Brown tip off of a Isaac MacLeod shot that just right by the shoulder of Clay Witt. Johnny Gaudreau gave the Eagles a two goal lead at 18:44 of the period on an empty-net goal, followed by another Patrick Brown goal with the 50 seconds left in the period that got over the glove of Witt.
Witt ended the night with 37 saves on 40 shots, and ended the Beanpot saving a combined 64 of 67 shots he faced.
Coach Madigan talked about Witt’s performance, and how he kept this Huskies team in the game all game long.
“I thought he played fabulous. I thought both goalies played really well tonight and Clay gave us a chance to win,” Madigan added, “It’s 1-1 after two periods and their goalie makes a great save to keep it out of the net… and Clay makes a few good saves there and he just couldn’t get the tip. It was well placed and he just couldn’t get it. But he was really good. He’s given us a chance to win all year long.”
Kevin Hayes took home Beanpot MVP honors as Eagles freshman goalie Thatcher Demko got the Eberly Award, given to the goalie who accumulates the highest save percentage in the tournament.
The season is still by far not over for the Huskies, who have Hockey East Championship and NCAA Tournament goals in mind. The Huskies will travel to Amherst to try and get revenge on Massachusetts who beat them 3-0 Friday night.
By Josh Brown
In Hockey East only one thing is certain. Anybody can win on any given night.
That was certainly the case Friday night as the Umass-Amherst Minutemen (8-16-4) defeated the Northeastern Huskies (16-9-3) 3-0 in convincing fashion on a night where they out-shot the Huskies 48-27.
“It’s fun when you feel good about the process, and when the end result matches how you feel about the 60 minutes prior to it,” Minutemen Head Coach John Micheletto said after the win.
Despite getting 17 shots on Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt in the first period as opposed to the 5 the Huskies were able to get on Minutemen net-minder Steve Mastalerz, neither team put a puck in the back of the net, as the teams headed into the locker room deadlocked at 0-0. The Huskies got two opportunities on the power play but were not able to get a shot on net in that span.
The second period was all Minutemen from the get go as they out-shot the Huskies 22-8 in a frame which featured goals from freshman Marc Hetnik and senior captain Conor Sheary.
Hetniks’ goal, the first of his collegiate career, came at 1:33 in the period on a helper from Zach LaRue and Steve Mastalerz. Sheary capitalized on a Northeastern turnover when he received a pass from Adam Phillips to score the shorthanded goal.
“It felt great,” Hetniks’ said of the goal, “It’s always good to get the first one out of the way.”
In the third period Northeastern played with a little hop in their step, out-shooting Umass 14-9, but the only goal of the period was an empty-net game sealing goal by Branden Gracel to end any hopes of a comeback by the Huskies.
“Umass was a much better team than we were,” Huskies Head Coach Jim Madigan stated, “They were a lot faster, they thought the game faster, we didn’t respond, they wanted it more, we didn’t play with a sense of urgency. There was two big points at stake here and we didn’t respond.”
When asked why Northeastern could not keep up with the speed of Umass, Madigan could not seem to find an answer.
“That’s a great question,” Madigan continued, “It’s all over our board. I’ll line you up 21 players you can ask them, I have no idea. We talked about it all week long.”
The loss for Northeastern comes after a first round 6-0 Beanpot victory over Harvard. The Huskies will face Boston College in the championship game Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the TD Garden.