Take a listen, as Ryan and Craig talk about Northeastern’s exciting win in the Shillelagh Tournament and look to the Huskies’ game against Providence tomorrow as an important test.
The Northeastern Huskies rallied from a 2 goal, 2nd period deficit, for an upset win over the Notre Dame Fighting Irish for the Shillelagh Tournament Championship this past weekend, in South Bend, IN.
The Huskies found themselves in the championship game after a 1-1 tie and a shootout victory against the Western Michigan Broncos on Friday night. Northeastern dominated play early, spending the bulk of its time in the offensive zone. Around the halfway mark of the first period, though, the Huskies began to get into some penalty trouble. They took 3 penalties in the remainder of the first period and 4 in the second period. These penalties clearly took the Huskies off their game, as they spent so much time trying to kill penalties and wearing their legs down. Fortunately for NU, they were able to take advantage of one of the Broncos’ penalties. The Huskies took a 1-0 lead right off the opening faceoff of the second period with a John Stevens power play goal, with help from some pretty passing by Kevin Roy and Braden Pimm.
By the third period, the Huskies were noticeably drained from the frequent special teams play. They only took one penalty in the period, but the Broncos made it hurt. Shane Berschbach put home a loose puck in the crease, tying the game with just less than 8 minutes to play. Neither team could score through regulation or overtime (despite Northeastern regaining a sense of urgency in the overtime period). The game officially went into the books as a tie, but a shootout was held to determine who would advance to the championship. Dalen Hedges scored on Northeastern’s first attempt and Clay Witt turned aside Western Michigan on all three attempts to secure the victory.
On Saturday, the Huskies faced off against the Fighting Irish in the championship game of the Irish-hosted tournament. Once again, the Huskies struggle on special teams. They allowed a power play goal from Shayne Taker at the 13:34 mark of the first period, giving the Irish a 1-0 lead into the first intermission. Then, at 9:02 gone in the second period, Stephen John converted on a short-handed Notre Dame breakaway. It was the 4th short-handed goal allowed for NU this season. With the Huskies now trailing 2-0, head coach Jim Madigan called a timeout to settle down his team.
After the timeout, the Huskies were reenergized. Just three minutes later, Adam Reid created a turnover in the Fighting Irish’s defensive zone and found Torin Snydeman skating through the slot. Snydeman converted, putting it past Notre Dame goaltender Steven Summerhays, and cutting the lead in half.
The Huskies kept up the pressure and finally converted on the power play at the 10:01 mark of the third period. Kevin Roy found the puck in the slot, stick-handled his way past defenders, got Summerhays out of position, and then found Braden Pimm wide-open on the back door for the equalizer. Seven minutes later, with 2:42 left in regulation, Pimm won a battle for the puck down low in the Huskies’ offensive zone. He promptly found Dalen Hedges in the slot put it past Summerhays, giving the Huskies a 3-2, comeback win – and a trophy.
Clay Witt was fantastic all weekend, stopping 61 of 64 shots faced and earning All-Tournament honors. Witt is now ranked 6th in the nation with a 0.939 save percentage. Braden Pimm was awarded All-Tournament honors as well, posting a scoring line of 1-2-3 on the weekend. Kevin Roy had 3 assists on the weekend and, of course, Dalen Hedges had both game-winning scores in the tournament.
Obviously, this was a tremendous win for the Huskies. They’re still struggling on special teams (last in Hockey East in net special teams), but the way they dominated the last half of the game, scoring 3 unanswered goals against a team like Notre Dame, is very impressive. Especially after going down 2-0 on a short-handed goal allowed. Past Northeastern squads would have crumbled at that point, but this one did not give in. The Huskies are now ranked #19 by USCHO.com.
The Huskies have just two games left before the holidays. This Friday, they face off against the 4th-ranked Providence Friars at Matthews Arena, before traveling to Burlington to play the Vermont Catamounts on December 17th.
BOSTON – After a rough set of games versus New Hampshire last weekend, the Northeastern Huskies hockey team responded in a big way this weekend. The Huskies pulled in four points against a struggling Merrimack Warriors squad. It was Northeastern’s first four point weekend since sweeping Vermont in Burlington in January of 2012. It was also the Huskies’ first conference win at home since defeating Boston College on October 13th, 2012.
On Friday, the Huskies traveled to North Andover to faceoff with the Warriors at Lawler Arena. Despite being outshot in the first period 9 to 3, Northeastern made its shots count and went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead. Mike Szmatula jammed in a loose puck from the crease for the first score, while Dalen Hedges converted on a shot from the left-hand circle on a breakaway with linemate Cody Ferriero. Merrimack responded in the second period, cutting the Husky lead in half with a power play goal courtesy of Vinny Scotti. The score would remain 2-1 through the end of the second period.
In need of a knockout punch, Northeastern answered the call and played its best hockey for the majority of the third period. Kevin Roy netted an extra attacker goal for the Huskies early on in the period, picking the high, blocker-side corner with a perfect snipe from above the circles. About three minutes later, Dalen Hedges converted on another odd-man rush, posting his second score of the night and making it 4-1 Northeastern. Merrimack would score another power play goal on a backhanded shot from Quinn Gould that caught Clay Witt out of position, drawing the Warriors within 4-2 with almost 9 minutes to go. However, with about 5 minutes left, Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta wasn’t quite able to stop Kevin Roy’s shot from the left faceoff circle. It trickled through Marotta’s pads, giving Roy his 11th goal of the season and finishing off the 5-2 NU win.
On Saturday at Matthews Arena, the Huskies again jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. The first goal came on Torin Snydeman’s redirection of Colton Saucerman’s shot from the point at 10:28 gone. The second goal came nearly 5 minutes later, when Zach Aston-Reese cleaned up a rebound in front of Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen while on the power play. From there on, Northeastern stonewalled the Warriors and finished for a 2-0 win. The impressive defensive performance, NU’s first shutout since opening night against Alabama-Huntsville, was largely because of the play of Clay Witt.
Despite a soft goal allowed to Gould on Friday, Clay Witt had a remarkable weekend. Witt stopped 69 of 7 1 shots over both games. He posted his first career shutout with 38 saves on Saturday, including a incredible post-to-post diving effort, knocking a Kyle Singleton shot out of the air. Perhaps most impressive was that Witt accomplished this despite 15 Merrimack power plays over the weekend. Witt held the Warriors to just 2 of 15 on the power play and did not allow a goal in 5-on-5 play.
Dalen Hedges had a huge weekend for the Huskies as well, posting 2 goals and 2 assists. In addition, he went 23-of-27 in the faceoff circle, including a 14 of 15 showing on Saturday.
The penalty issue cropped up again for the Huskies this weekend. They committed 17 over the two games after committing just 23 penalties total in their previous 5 games. Northeastern was fortunate that Merrimack’s power play ranked 10th in Hockey East, at 11.5%, coming into this weekend. Even so, the Warriors made the Huskies pay twice and stayed in the game far later than they should have on Friday. Northeastern will have to continue to improve in this area, as a stronger opposing power play may have completely changed this weekend’s results.
Next up for NU: The Huskies will take a break from league play this weekend as they travel to South Bend, Indiana to participate in the Shillelagh Tournament hosted by Notre Dame. They’ll take on Western Michigan at 4PM on Friday evening. We’ll have you covered here at WRBB, with Craig White and Ryan Fallon on the call. Northeastern will then play either Alabama-Huntsville or Notre Dame on Saturday, depending on the results of Friday’s games.
BOSTON – The Northeastern Huskies had a rough go of it this past weekend, suffering a sweep at the hands of the University of New Hampshire.
On Friday, UNH picked up a 3-0 win over the Huskies. New Hampshire took a 1-0 lead just over four minutes into the first period, when Nick Sorkin put home his sixth goal of the season. Northeastern had a chance to tie it with roughly five and a half minutes gone in the second period, receiving a power play chance on a Jay Camper hitting-from-behind penalty. As has plagued the Huskies so far this season, though, their power play became a prime opportunity for the opposition. NU surrendered a short-handed breakaway to the Wildcats and Jeff Silengo converted on the score to push the UNH lead to 2-0. Northeastern was never able to recover, and Kyle Smith’s goal third period goal with twelve minutes to play ended any hope of a comeback.
Head coach Jim Madigan was not pleased with the effort from his team. “UNH just wanted it a lot more than us,” said Madigan. “I didn’t like the way we competed… other than our goaltender we didn’t get the effort we needed to win here tonight at the results showed.”
The Huskies saw some improvements on Saturday, but ultimately fell 4-1. Through the first half of the game the defense did an improved job of limiting UNH’s opportunities in the middle of the ice. Despite outshooting UNH in the first period 12-6, though, Northeastern could not find the back of the net and paid the price for it. The Wildcats converted almost immediately on their first power play of the night in the second period, when Nick Sorkin cleaned up a rebound of a Trevor van Riemsdyk shot from the point. NU was sluggish to respond, and allowed a second goal, this time courtesy of Casey Thrush, under a minute later.
Northeastern responded in the third period. Kevin Roy scored his ninth goal of the season on a power play just two and a half minutes into the third period, cutting the UNH lead in half. The Huskies looked primed to find a second goal and tie the contest at two as the Wildcats sent them to the power play twice more. NU couldn’t capitalize, though. UNH killed the first and the Huskies lost what remained of the second power play when they were called for a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty. UNH scored once again a minute and a half later, about halfway through the third period, pushing the lead to 3-1 and effectively ending NU’s comeback hopes. UNH’s Grayson Downing tacked on an extra power play goal with about two minutes to go.
Saturday’s improvement was not enough for NU, as they face some serious challenges going forward. The Huskies, who had a very successful power play early in the season, are now just 3 for 26 on the power play in Hockey East play. That is ominous for a team whose success is built on scoring goals. The penalty kill struggled as well – allowing three goals power play goals in four opportunities in one game is difficult to survive.
There were a couple of positives to take away from the weekend, though. For instance, the goaltending was good on both nights for the Huskies. Clay Witt was impressive once more on Friday night, stopping 36 of 39 shots faced. Madigan went out of his way to commend Witt’s performance, separating him from the rest of the team’s effort in the contest at Matthews. On Saturday night in Durham, Madigan decided to go with redshirt freshman Derick Roy, who started his first game since October 26th at St. Lawrence. Roy was solid, stopping 28 of 32 shots, but even that doesn’t tell the full story as three of the four goals scored were of the power play variety. Another positive for Northeastern was its disciplined play; the Huskies committed just seven penalties on the weekend and are gradually lowering their league-leading penalty minutes per game mark (18.0).
In need of a big weekend, Northeastern next takes on Merrimack, with a home-and-home set on tap Friday and Saturday. WRBB will have both games, out at Lawler Arena in North Andover on Friday night, and at Matthews Arena in Boston on Saturday.
By Craig White
Head Coach: Jim Madigan (22-37-9) (entering 3rd season)
Last season: 9-21-4 (5-18-4, 10th in Hockey East)
Additions: Mike Szmatula F, Dalen Hedges F, Nathan Ferriero F, Mike Jamieson F, John Stevens F, Zach Aston-Reese F, Tanner Pond F, Will Messa F, Jake Schecter D, Matt Benning D, Gus Harms D.
Subtractions: Ludwig Karlsson F, Vinny Saponari F, Garrett Vermeersch F, Robbie Vrolyk F, Steve Morra F, Joseph Manno F, Drew Ellement F, Cam Darcy F, Ben Oskroba D, Dan Cornell D, Jake Hoefler D, Chris Rawlings G.
There is nowhere to go but up for the Northeastern Huskies. A dead last finish is obviously not what NU wanted out of their 2012-2013 campaign. Several of the subtractions left midseason last year, which begged questions about the locker room. Their up-and-down multiyear starter in net, Chris Rawlings, finally graduated and will leave the starting job up for grabs. It will be a battle between Clay Witt, Derick Roy and Bryan Mountain for the starting position in net.
The Huskies biggest loss will be their captain playmaker from last season, Vinny Saponari. Saponari had 7 goals and 22 assists for a total of 29 points in his senior season. The Huskies will also miss the big Swede, Ludwig Karlsson, despite him having an injury plagued 2012-2013 campaign last year.
Northeastern will have Kevin Roy back who led the team in points in his freshman season with a (17-17—34) line. The dynamic winger will be counted on to get even better this season for the Huskies. Also coming back are seniors Braden Pimm and Cody Ferriero. These two players no doubt are two of the most talented on the squad, but have been inundated by undisciplined and at times inconsistent play over their careers at Northeastern. If the two of them can stay on the ice and produce, it will only mean good things for the Huskies. The Huskies new captain Josh Manson will need to be a physical presence at the blue line and will be counted on to lead the team overall.
On the bright side of things, the Huskies are bringing in a highly touted freshman recruiting class. Mike Szmatula, a center from the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints, had 44 goals in his one and only season in the USHL. Dubuque teammates Matt Benning and John Stevens will each be expected to contribute both from the point and at center, respectively. Dalen Hedges, an undersized scorer from Nepean of the CCHL, will be a dark horse to keep an eye on.
Outlook: Coach Jim Madigan will need to keep his team motivated this season in order to get any sort of positive results. His past squads have shown to be mentally weak and tend to come and go when they please. If he can keep them focused they should be much improved with such a talented freshmen class coming in. Expectations are low for Northeastern who was picked dead last in the preseason Hockey East coach’s poll. Team defense will be a priority for this squad as they finished last in team defense in Hockey East last year. Expect the Huskies to improve on last years campaign but don’t expect any banners to be hung from Matthews at the year’s end.
By Craig White
Head Coach: David Quinn (1st season)
Last Season: 21-16-2 Overall (15-10-2, 3rd in Hockey East), lost to UML in Hockey East tournament final.
Additions: T.J. Ryan (D), Brendan Collier (F), Dillon Lawrence (F), Nick Roberto (F), Kevin Duane (F), Robbie Baillargeon (F), Tommy Kelley (F), Dalton MacAfee (D), Doyle Somerby (D).
Subtractions: Ryan Ruikka (D), Alexx Privitera (D), Ben Rosen (F/D), Jake Moscatel (F/D), Ryan Santana (F), Sam Kurker (F), Matt Nieto (F), Sean Escobedo (D), Sahir Gill (F), Wade Megan (F).
For the first time in 40 seasons, Jack Parker will not be the head coach of the Boston University Terriers men’s hockey team. Replacing the legendary coach is BU alumnus Dave Quinn. This will be Dave Quinn’s first head coaching gig in the NCAA ranks. Another huge loss was last year’s captain Wade Megan. BU will miss his offensive production (16-13—29). The Terriers will also be without the offensive production of Matt Nieto (18-19—37), who chose to forgo his senior season in order to play with the San Jose Sharks.
Despite having some key subtractions, the Terriers will bring back four of their top six scorers from last season. This includes their leading scorer from last season Danny O’Regan, who is in his freshman season had 16 goals and a total of 38 points. Boston University also brings back Evan Rodrigues (14-20—34), Cason Hohmann (10-24—34) and Boston Bruins draft pick Matt Grzelcyk (3-20—23). Grzelcyk, who will only be a sophomore this season, had an outstanding offensive season last year as a defensemen.
As per usual, Boston University will also bring in one of the top classes in the nation. Several blogs have the Terriers 2013 freshman class in the top five classes in the country. Doyle Somerby (NYI) will be a force on the blue line. He stands at 6’5” and weighs 225. Freshmen Brendan Collier (CAR) and Robbie Baillargeon (OTT) will surely contribute on the offensive side as well.
Sean Maguire (PIT) and Matt O’Connor will likely split time in net once again for the Terriers. Last season, the two freshmen goaltenders had very similar numbers and each saw significant minutes. Maguire had slightly better numbers and could emerge as the number one but it will likely vary week-by-week.
Outlook: As always, there are high expectations down on Commonwealth Avenue, even with a new coach at the reins. I expect BU to be towards the top of Hockey East even though the Hockey East coach’s preseason poll has them coming in at No. 6. If the freshmen class contributes as expected the offensive side of the puck could be dangerous for the Hockey East foes. Ultimately, if the goaltending situation works out and the team defense continues to improve, the Terriers should have a successful season.
By Jeremy Leonard
Head Coach: Nate Leaman, 3rd season
Projected finish: Coaches Poll: 5th
Last season: 17-14-7 (12-8-5 in Hockey East, 5th); lost to UMass Lowell in Hockey East semifinals.
Losses: G Russ Stein, D Myles Harvey, F Kyle Murphy, F Tim Schaller, D Alex Velischek, F Chris Rooney.
Newcomers: F Trevor Mingoia, D Anthony Florentino, G Nick Ellis, F Connor MacPhee, D Kyle McKenzie, D Josh Monk, F Niko Rufo.
Last year, Providence was in the middle of the pack for the Hockey East. While the Friars defense ranked third in goals per game with 2.37 g/gm, their offense was average, averaging 2.76 g/gm the fifth best in the league. Where providence struggled was their special teams, ranking second to last in the Hockey East with a net of -8 goals when it wasn’t five-on-five hockey.
The Friar’s offense returns Derek Army and Mark Jankowiski who led the way last season with 19 and 20 points respectively. Also returning is goalie Jon Gillies, who won rookie of year in the Hockey East last year and was named an All- American after an impressive freshman campaign. In front of him, the loss of Tim Schaller, the Gladiator Hockey award winner for the best defensive forward in the Hockey East. They’ll also lose Alex Vilischek, who played in all 38 games last year. Returning defenseman Steven Shamanski and John Gilmour should be able to fill the void after the two had 27 points combined and had a plus/minus of plus seven and plus three, respectively, last season.
The Friars have already started this season hot with a 5-1-1 (1-1 in Hockey East) record. The USA Today/ USA Hockey Magazine Poll has Providence ranked 5th nationally. The defense, anchored by Gillies, who has only allowed 1.97 g/gm in the six games he has started, has continued their success from last year while the offense has picked it up, leading the Hockey East with 4.43 g/gm. Forward Ross Mauermann has starred offensively with 13 points in just 7 games.
Bottom line: Leaman’s squad should be improved this year with a year of experience under the belt of star goaltender Jon Gillies. They will likely be right there near the top of the conference at the end of the season. Where they ultimately finish, however, will depend on if they can maintain their improved offense and special teams (+3 so far this season). Ultimately, the Friars’ should have no trouble with a top five finish again this year with a top three finish not out of the question.
BOSTON – The Northeastern Huskies dropped a pair of hard-fought battles to the Boston College Eagles this weekend, losing 4-2 on Friday at Chestnut Hill and 4-3 in overtime at Matthews Arena on Saturday. The Huskies have lost three in a row since their 5-0 start to the season, and now sit at 0-2 in Hockey East play.
On Friday, Northeastern jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead. Sophomore Ryan Belonger got his shot past Eagles freshman goaltender Thatcher Demko for his third goal of the season, around twelve minutes into the first period. This matched Belonger’s previous season total. It didn’t hold for long, though, as the Eagles answered with 31 seconds left in the period. On its third power play of the period, Boston College tied the game at 1 with a score from senior Kevin Hayes. In the second period, each team had multiple power play opportunities. However, some sloppy play on Northeastern’s power play led to the only goal of the period – a short-handed, breakaway score for the Eagles’ Johnny Gaudreau. Just one minute into the third period, Bruins draft pick and freshman Ryan Fitzgerald extended the BC lead to 3-1, burying his second goal of the season. Northeastern would fight back, as a shot from the point by Colton Saucerman was tipped in by Mike Szmatula. With the score 3-2, the Huskies fought desperately to find the equalizer. The Eagles weathered the storm, though, and put away their eventual 4-2 victory with an empty net goal with thirteen seconds to go.
On Saturday, the Huskies found another quick lead. Despite being outplayed by BC early on, Northeastern took a 1-0 lead as a backhanded pass from Jake Schechter glanced off Torin Snydeman and past Eagles senior goaltender Brian Billett. Ryan Fitzgerald tied the score three minutes later, scoring his second of the weekend for Boston College. The second period was a scoreless, back and forth affair. It wasn’t until about two and a half minutes into the third period that Northeastern broke through. Kevin Roy made a terrific play to create a turnover in front of the Eagles’ net and quickly found Mike Szmatula who put it away to give the Huskies a 2-1 lead. About four minutes later, Colton Saucerman extended the Huskies’ lead to 3-1 with a shot from the point that deflected into the net. The Eagles fought back, though. Another short-handed goal for Boston College, courtesy of senior captain Patrick Brown, brought the Eagles back within one and Johnny Gaudreau tied the score with a nifty wraparound fake that caught Clay Witt off guard, with space between himself and the post. Gaudreau banked it off Witt’s skate, and into the net. The game would head to overtime, where BC proved too much for the Huskies. A rebound of a Patrick Brown shot found a wide open Adam Gilmour (freshman) who buried the game-winner, his first goal of his career. Boston College walked away with a 4-3 OT win, a weekend sweep, and four big points.
Northeastern’s biggest weakness coming into this weekend was their lack of discipline on the ice. They led Hockey East in penalty minutes, averaging over 25 a game. The Huskies did an admirable job reining those in this weekend, taking just nine penalties over both games. Unfortunately, they instead saw their power play struggle against a talented Boston College penalty kill. The Husky power play scored just once on eleven opportunities this weekend. Two of those opportunities saw shorthanded goals for Boston College. Needless to say, trouble will come from being outscored on your own power play.
Even when five-on-five, though, Northeastern struggled to limit the odd-man rushes for the Eagles. The Huskies repeatedly asked for trouble here, but Clay Witt bailed out Northeastern time and again in net. Witt saved 29 of 32 shots on Friday and 36 of 40 on Saturday. While the third goal for the Eagles on Saturday came as a result of not sealing off the post quick enough, Witt was otherwise outstanding, saving Northeastern with huge save after huge save. He was the key reason that the Huskies were in both of these contests down to the wire.
Northeastern will travel to UMass-Lowell next Saturday to continue Hockey East play. Lowell has won four in a row, after sweeping a home-and-home against New Hampshire this weekend. Puck drop is at 7:00 PM.