Column: Gaudette cements Northeastern legacy with inevitable Hobey Baker win

Photo courtesy Charles Krupa, Associated Press
Photo courtesy Charles Krupa, Associated Press

By: Dan McLoone

All due respect to Ryan Donato and Henrik Borgstrom, but they never stood a chance. The Hobey Baker Award was always destined to go to Adam Gaudette.

A 27-member selection committee confirmed something on Friday night in St. Paul that Northeastern fans have been witnessing all season in Boston – Gaudette is the best college player in the nation. For Gaudette, the Hobey Baker Award is the culmination of three scintillating years on Huntington Avenue. Three years of flexing his muscles as the scariest power play scorer in the nation. Three years of firing home one-timers while camped out at his favorite spot on the left dot. Three years of development that turned him from a nice complimentary scorer on a Hockey East Championship squad into one of the most dangerous open-ice skaters in the nation.

Northeastern has been fighting for decades to prove itself, desperately searching for the consistent success that would put it on the map as not only an afterthought when discussing the best teams in Boston, but into an actual bonafide NCAA hockey power.

Gaudette’s achievement is the crown jewel from three years of hard work for a program that has entrenched itself as a consistently dominant offensive force, immortalizing the forward in Husky lore and securing his status as one of the best players to ever wear the red and black.

Kevin Roy laid the foundation with a spectacular career and a Hockey East title. Zach Aston-Reese took it a step further by leading the nation in scoring last year to earn a Hobey Hat Trick nomination. But Gaudette is the one who scaled the mountain.

Roy captained an incredible team, but never produced the numbers needed to find himself in the Hobey discussion. Aston-Reese put up a gaudy stat line, but was beaten out by a player in Will Butcher who captained the National Champions in Denver. Gaudette was the first to combine both the eye-popping personal stats with the overall team success needed to reach the pinnacle of individual awards. And when the Hat Trick of Gaudette, Donato and Borgstrom was announced, there was never a doubt that the Braintree native would get his due recognition.

How certain was his coronation as the top player in the nation? I wrote this column on March 29th, eight days before Gaudette took the stage in Roy Wilkins Auditorium.

This isn’t to say that Borgstrom and Donato weren’t the right choices. But neither had the necessary stats or team success to dethrone Gaudette. Borgstrom, a Panthers draft pick, scored 23 goals to go with 29 assists for Denver, earning him NCHC Player of the Year recognition. But the reigning champs were bounced in their regional final by Ohio State, and the one extra round of tournament hockey wasn’t enough to dethrone Gaudette. Donato had the storyline factor going his way, scoring 26 goals for Harvard before potting five for Team USA at the Olympics and then proceeding to score five points in his first five games with the Bruins. But he only played 29 games for the Crimson due to international duties, and was unable to lead them to the NCAA tournament.

And then there’s Gaudette. The junior made Hockey East foes look foolish all season, leading the nation with 60 points on 30 goals and 30 assists. He scored a hat trick in the Beanpot Final to give NU its first title in the competition since 1988. He subsidized his nose for goal with a dominant presence on both sides of the ice, logging significant minutes on the penalty kill unit while creating numerous rushes the other way with his relentless backcheck pursuits. And the team success came with it, as the Huskies picked up an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

Granted, Gaudette certainly couldn’t have achieved the peak of individual performance alone, and he’ll be the first one to tell you that. His on-ice chemistry with Dylan Sikura developed on the third line during his freshman year and slowly blossomed into one of the most dynamic scoring duos in the nation. Nolan Stevens’ ability with the puck on his stick opened up so many more lanes for Gaudette and Sikura to take advantage of out wide when they played together. Stevens brand of quiet leadership allowed Gaudette to be a more vocal presence. Sikura, always the bridesmaid and never the bride, has been one of the nation’s top playmakers for two years with two Hobey Baker nominations, but has been overshadowed by the superior goal scoring numbers of Aston-Reese and Gaudette. You could argue that Sikura’s skill allowed those two to make the jump into the nation’s elite.

But Gaudette was able to capitalize on the immense skill that he was surrounded with, finishing as NU’s all-time leader in power play goals and surpassing 100 career points in his junior season. He played a pivotal role in erasing the pain of 1988 altogether, spearheading the team’s first Beanpot title since then. He served as an excellent ambassador for both the Northeastern hockey program and the university overall. And now, he’s living out his NHL dream with the Vancouver Canucks. Not bad for a local kid from Braintree.

For Northeastern, having a Hobey Baker winner as an alum fits perfectly into the plan that head coach Jim Madigan outlined after the Huskies won Hockey East in 2016 – the Huskies are back. We’ve already seen the effects of the 2016 title in Northeastern’s recruiting classes over the past two years. Adding a Hobey Baker winner to the trophy case will only increase NU’s ability to compete on the national scene for years to come.

Josh Manson started it, countless other players have helped along the way, and Adam Gaudette will be immortalized forever for securing the final piece to the puzzle. Northeastern hockey is back in the national discussion. Thanks be to Gaud.

Adam Gaudette wins 2018 Hobey Baker Award

Photo credit, Northeastern Athletics
Photo credit, Northeastern Athletics

By: Josh Brown

For the first time in Northeastern history, the best player in college hockey played his home games at Matthews Arena. A historic season for alternate captain Adam Gaudette officially concluded on Friday evening when he was presented with the Hobey Baker Award at the Roy Wilkins Auditorium in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Gaudette beat out Harvard forward Ryan Donato and Denver forward Henrik Borgstrom for the nation’s most prestigious individual honor. Earlier in the evening, Gaudette along with teammates Dylan Sikura and Jeremy Davies were named CCM/ACHA First-Team All-Americans.

“Coming to Northeastern has been the biggest thing in my life,” said Gaudette. “It helped me prepare to be a pro, and I can’t thank the coaches and the staff enough for that. In saying so, my career at Northeastern has come to an end and I can’t wait to start my career with the Vancouver Canucks. I just want to thank Coach Madigan, Coach Keefe, Coach Smith, Coach McLaughlin for all they’ve done. I’m just really happy that they brought me in to be a Husky and they saw something in me that no one else did and their trust and loyalty really paid off and I can’t thank them enough for that.”

“This year at Northeastern has been one of the most memorable years of my life,” Gaudette added. “I wouldn’t be here without the guys on the team, and I especially wouldn’t be here without my two linemates, Dylan Sikura and Nolan Stevens. Playing on a line with those guys was the most fun I’ve ever had playing hockey. We accomplished a lot this year, winning a Beanpot for the first time in 30 years, and that’s something not a lot of people understand if you’re not from Boston. But that just meant so much to me personally and the team and the school and the community.”

A native of Braintree, Massachusetts, Gaudette ended the season atop the nation in goals (30) and points (60). He recorded 20 multi-point games in the 2017-2018 campaign (the most in college hockey), and he is just the tenth player in Northeastern history to rack up 60 points in a season. Earlier this year, he joined linemate Dylan Sikura, Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau and St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey as just the fourth player since 2012-2013 to net 50+ points in consecutive seasons.

Despite being a junior, Gaudette ended the season first in the nation in both active career goals (68) and active career power play goals (32). Additionally, he was third in the nation in active career points (142).

“We are incredibly proud of Adam for this tremendous honor,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “What he was able to accomplish this season is something that many players would dream of doing over a career. Every accolade he’s received this season is well-deserved, and to officially be recognized as college hockey’s top player speaks to his determination and incredible work ethic that Adam brings to the rink every day. His future in this game is extremely bright, and we thank him for everything’s he done for our hockey program and Northeastern University. We wish him the very best as he embarks on his professional career.”

Gaudette became the first Husky since Jason Guerriero in 2004-05 to win the Hockey East regular season scoring title (19 goals, 14 assists) this season. Of the now 10 Hobey Baker Award winners who have hailed from Hockey East, six won the conference scoring title (Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Jason Krog, Paul Kariya, David Emma).

On March 19, Gaudette was named the Walter Brown Award Winner, given to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. He was also named the Beanpot MVP (4 goals, 2 assists) after leading the Huskies to their first tournament title since 1998.

Gaudette signed a three-year, entry level deal with the Vancouver Canucks on February 26. He has appeared in the team’s last four games.

 

Gaudette named Hobey Hat Trick finalist

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

By: Josh Brown

For the second consecutive season, one of the three best players in college hockey played his home games at Matthews Arena. The Hobey Baker Memorial Award named forward Adam Gaudette to the Hobey Hat Trick on Thursday afternoon. Gaudette is joined by University of Denver forward Henrik Borgstrom and Harvard University forward Ryan Donato as the three players remaining in contention for the nation’s top award, which will be handed out on April 6 at the Frozen Four in St. Paul, Minnesota.

“We’re very proud of Adam for putting himself in a position to win college hockey’s highest individual honor,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “He has been one of the top players in the NCAA for the last two seasons, which is a testament to the level of work that he puts into his game daily both on and off the ice. It was a privilege to have him as a member of our team for the last three seasons. His work ethic and determination have certainly rubbed off on his teammates, which will positively impact our program well into the future.”

The Hockey East Player of the Year joins Brad Thiessen (2009) and Zach Aston-Reese (2017) as the third player in Northeastern history to be named to the Hobey Hat Trick.

A native of Braintree, Massachusetts, Gaudette ended the season atop the nation in goals (30) and points (60). He recorded 20 multi-point games in the 2017-2018 campaign (the most in college hockey), and he is just the tenth player in Northeastern history to rack up 60 points in a season. Earlier this year, he joined linemate Dylan Sikura, Boston College’s Johnny Gaudreau and St. Lawrence’s Greg Carey as just the fourth player since 2012-2013 to net 50+ points in consecutive seasons.

Despite being a junior, Gaudette ended the season first in the nation in both active career goals (68) and active career power play goals (32). Additionally, he was third in the nation in active career points (142).

Gaudette became the first Husky since Jason Guerriero in 2004-05 to win the Hockey East regular season scoring title (19 goals, 14 assists) this season. Of the nine Hobey Baker Award winners who have hailed from Hockey East, five won the conference scoring title (Jack Eichel, Johnny Gaudreau, Jason Krog, Paul Kariya, David Emma).

On March 19, Gaudette was named the Walter Brown Award Winner, given to the best American-born college hockey player in New England. He was also named the Beanpot MVP (4 goals, 2 assists) after leading the Huskies to their first tournament title since 1998.

Gaudette signed a three-year, entry level deal with the Vancouver Canucks on February 26. He is expected to make his debut on Thursday night against Edmonton.

No. 8 Northeastern falls to No. 10 Michigan in first round of NCAA Tournament

By: Christian Skroce

WORCESTER, MA – For the second time in three seasons, the Northeastern University men’s hockey team ends their season with a loss in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, this time to the Michigan Wolverines.

In what promised to be a high scoring matchup between two of the nation’s top offenses, it was the defenses that ruled the day early on. After a scoreless first period, it was Michigan forward Cooper Marody who finally broke the deadlock with just five minutes left in the second period. Northeastern would respond quickly though as just three minutes later Dylan Sikura fired home a power play goal off a pinpoint pass from Jeremy Davies to even the score at one going into the third period.

The scoring continued after the second intermission as Dexter Dancs’ backhanded shot put Michigan back on top 2-1 with 15 minutes left in the third period. After a frustrating next seven minutes, the Huskies tied it up once again as Eric Williams blasted home a long-range effort with eight minutes to go in the game. The Wolverines would respond though as Marody once again gave Michigan the lead with just 4:30 left in the third period. Michigan would not look back as the Wolverines cruised to a 3-2 win after the Huskies failed to generate quality opportunities in the final minutes of the game.

Freshman goalie Cayden Primeau got the start in net, making 29 saves on the evening. Hayden Lavigne made 19 saves in the net for Michigan in route to the win.

 

No. 7 Northeastern advances to Hockey East semifinals with 7-2 win over UMass

Photo courtesy Maddie Meyer, Getty Images
Photo courtesy Maddie Meyer, Getty Images

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – For the second time in three seasons, the No. 7 Northeastern University men’s hockey team is on to the TD Garden for the Hockey East semifinals.

While Friday’s Hockey East quarterfinals Game 1 against UMass was a nail-biter until the bitter end, the Huskies scored early and often and never looked back en route to a 7-2 win in Game 2 of the series on Saturday in front of 2,538 fans at Matthews Arena.

The victory gives Northeastern (23-8-5) a program record 14 home wins on the 2017-2018 campaign. It is also gives Jim Madigan’s squad a season-long seven-game winning streak.

Freshman goalie Cayden Primeau got the start in net, making 28 saves on the evening. Ryan Wischow made 14 saves in net for UMass (17-20-2) and Brad Arvanitis stopped seven shots in the third period in relief.

Jeremy Davies got the scoring going early for the Huskies, potting his sixth goal of the season less than four minutes into the opening frame. The sophomore defenseman received a pass from Biagio Lerario at the point and danced around a defender before beating Wischow five-hole.

With just 31 seconds remaining in the first, Nolan Stevens scored his first of two on the night after Lincoln Griffin sent him a pass from behind the net that the senior captain jammed past Wischow.

The Huskies piled on four more goals in the second period, courtesy of Adam Gaudette, Dylan Sikura, Brandon Hawkins and Stevens. Gaudette’s goal was number 30 on the season, making him the 11th player in team history to reach the milestone.

UMass forward Niko Rufo and Lincoln Griffon traded goals in the opening ten minutes of the third period and Minutemen junior Brett Boeing scored the final goal of the game with 3:10 remaining.

The Huskies will take on Providence in the Hockey East semifinals on Friday night at TD Garden. Puck drop is scheduled for 8 p.m. Josh Brown, Joe Barbito and Christian Skroce will have complete coverage, with pregame beginning at 7:45 p.m.

 

Sikura leads No. 7 Northeastern past UMass in Game 1 of Hockey East quarterfinals

Photo courtesy of NHL.com
Photo courtesy of NHL.com

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – Who else but Dylan Sikura?

With Game 1 of the Hockey East quarterfinals knotted up at two midway through the third period, the senior assistant captain received an Adam Gaudette pass in the high slot and ripped a wrist shot past UMass goalie Ryan Wischow.

Ball game.

The late tally proved to be the winner, as the No. 7 Northeastern men’s hockey team beat UMass, 3-2, in front of 1,919 fans at Matthews Arena on Friday night.  The victory gives Northeastern a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.

Freshman Cayden Primeau got the start in net for the Huskies (22-8-5), making 29 saves on the evening. Wischow stopped 28 pucks on the other end of the ice for UMass (17-19-2).

After a tight-checking, clean first period produced zero pucks in the back of the net, the Huskies scored two on a five-minute power play midway through the second period. UMass freshman forward Jake Gaudet received the game misconduct for crushing defenseman Garrett Cecere behind the net.

Nolan Stevens scored first at the 8:51 mark of the period when he tipped home a Jeremy Davies (two assists) shot from the point. Exactly four minutes later, with just 16 seconds remaining on the power play, Sikura netted his first of the night on a one-time feed from Davies at the left dot.

UMass cut the deficit to one just 22 seconds later when Austin Albrecht fired a shot from above the left circle that beat Primeau glove side.  The Minutemen carried that momentum into the third and tied the game just under three minutes into the period on Brett Boeing’s second goal of the year.

Although UMass controlled the tempo for the rest of the period, Sikura scored his 19th of the season at  the 13:48 mark to put the Huskies in front for good.

Northeastern will look to punch its ticket to the Hockey East semifinals when they take on UMass in Game 2 of the series on Saturday night at Matthews Arena. WRBB will have complete coverage, with pregame coverage getting underway at 6:45 p.m.

 

Northeastern women’s hockey wins first Hockey East title in program history with 2-1 win over UConn

Screen Shot 2018-03-04 at 5.30.53 PM
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

By: Joe Barbito

BOSTON – For the first time in program history, the Northeastern women’s ice hockey team has won the Hockey East Championship with a 2-1 win over seventh-seeded Connecticut.

The game opened with Denisa Krizova creating a two-on-one up ice as she forced the puck off Emily Ried’s stick, sliding a pass across the slot to McKenna Brand, who then lifted a back hander over the shoulder of Annie Belanger. With her assist on that goal, Krizova earned her 24th career Hockey East playoff point, tying Marie-Philip Poulin of Boston University for most in conference history.

Not even a minute later, Natalie Snodgrass went to work in the Northeastern (19-16-3) end of the ice. She battled off Maddie Hartman below the goal line and ripped a pass to Morgan Wabick, who then rifled it past Aerin Frankel at the 1:20 mark of the first period. That would end up being the only goal Frankel allowed as she tallied 30 total saves in the game.

With two minutes left to go in the first period, Tori Sullivan won an offensive zone draw for Northeastern and slipped the puck back into open ice. McKenna Brand skated up to it and sniped a shot past Belanger for her second of the game. It would prove to be the game-winning goal as neither team would score in the following two periods.

Northeastern became the second four-seed ever to win the Hockey East Tournament, and will advance to the NCAA Tournament for the second time in school history, and the first since 2016.

In addition to taking home the Bertagna Trophy, four Huskies were named to the All-Tournament Team: goaltender Aerin Frankel, defenseman Lauren Kelly, and forwards McKenna Brand and Denisa Krizova. Defenseman Kayla Mee and forward Natalie Snodgrass were UConn’s representatives on the All-Tournament Team.

Aerin Frankel won Tournament MVP honors. Against Maine, she mad 24 total saves including 15 in the third period alone. The freshman had 30 against the Huskies today. Frankel is the first freshman to win MVP honors since 2006.

Northeastern will learn where they are headed for the NCAA tournament at 9 p.m. tonight.

 

Northeastern women’s hockey punches ticket to Hockey East title game with 2-1 win over No. 10 Maine

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

By: Joe Barbito

BOSTON – The Northeastern women’s ice hockey team punched its ticket to the Hockey East Finals with a 2-1 victory over the No. 10 Maine Black Bears on Saturday at Matthews Arena.

Scoring opened just over three minutes into the game, when Tereza Vanisova dangled past Sky Fontaine – whose stick broke in the process – and created a two-on-one with linemate Daria Tereshkina. Vanisova dished a pass through the slot to Tereshkina who was able to tap it home past Aerin Frankel (24 saves).

The rest of the first period was pretty stagnant, with both teams trading penalties in the second half of the first frame.

After a late penalty kill for the Huskies (18-16-5), Veronika Pettey was sprung from the box and found the puck in the neutral zone. She sped past a Maine defender and was able to get a quick shot on goal, beating Carly Jackson for her tenth of the season.

The second period featured four power plays, including three for the Black Bears, but neither team was able to capitalize through the middle 20 minutes. A few chances were traded, including a few pucks off posts and crossbars, but neither team was able to find the back of the net.

It took five minutes into the third period for Northeastern to score the game winning goal. Denisa Krizova and McKenna Brand skated hard into the Maine zone, and Brand was able to put a shot off of Jackson’s pads. Hartman swooped in and found the loose puck to the left of Jackson and buried it home.

Maine played a ferocious third period, generating a total of 15 shots on goal, and nearly tied the game several times. Hartman ended up spending the final minute and 39 seconds in the penalty box for slashing, but Aerin Frankel was up to the task.

After today’s 2-1 victory, the Huskies have earned the right to play UConn tomorrow in the Hockey East Championship game. WRBB will have complete coverage, with puck drop set for 1:30 p.m.

Northeastern women’s hockey sweeps New Hampshire to advance to Hockey East semifinals

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

By: Christian Skroce

BOSTON – Despite a rough end to the regular season, the Northeastern women’s hockey team came up big when it mattered most to reach the Hockey East semifinals for the eighth year in a row.

Coming into the tournament as the No. 4 seed, Northeastern (17-16-3) played host to the fifth-seeded New Hampshire (14-15-7) in a best-of-3 series in the quarterfinal round.

Game 1 of the series didn’t exactly start the way the Huskies had hoped. Although it was Northeastern with most of the chances early on, UNH was able to get on the board first 8:23 into the game on Carlee Toew’s fourth goal of the season. However, the Huskies responded in a big way with three straight goals to close out the first period. Denisa Krizova scored the first of the three just 53 seconds after New Hampshire’s goal. Lauren Kelly and Skylar Fontaine then added a goal each to give Northeastern a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.

UNH cut into the deficit in the second period after a strike from Taylor Wenczkowski. But it was the Northeastern defense that came up big in the end as the team held the Wildcats to just five shots in the third period to give the Huskies the 1-0 series lead.

In the second game of the series, it was redshirt junior Tori Sullivan who got the scoring started for the Huskies with a goal midway through the opening frame. UNH responded quickly, though, as Nicole Dunbar knotted the game at one less than a minute later. The score remained tied until 71 seconds into the second period, when Sullivan put Northeastern back on top after firing home a rebound off a shot from McKenna Brand.

Sullivan’s second goal of the day proved to be the difference, as the Northeastern defense took over to limit UNH to just 12 shots in the final 40 minutes of the game, allowing the Huskies to come away with a 2-1 lead and a series sweep.

Northeastern returns to Matthews Arena on Saturday for the Hockey East semifinals, where they will battle 3rd seeded Maine. The winner will move on to play the either UConn or Boston College in the Hockey East championship at Matthews Arena on Sunday at 1:30 PM.