Aston-Reese hat trick leads Northeastern to senior night victory over Connecticut

By: Dan McLoone

BOSTON – In the last regular-season home game for Northeastern, the Huskies took a big step in securing at least two more games at Matthews Arena with a 4-1 win over UConn on Saturday night.

On Senior Night, the Huskies honored their nine-man senior class of Zach Aston-Reese, Brendan Collier, Mike Jamieson, Sam Kurker, Will Messa, Tanner Pond, Ryan Rosenthal, Jake Schechter and John Stevens with a pregame ceremony before completing the weekend sweep of UConn.

Northeastern (15-12-5, 8-9-3) continued with its proclivity for finding the back of the net in the first period, surviving an early rush from UConn and potting three goals in the opening frame. Aston-Reese got the scoring going just four minutes into the game, firing a shot past UConn (10-14-8, 6-10-4) netminder Rob Nichols. The senior assistant captain doubled the lead three minutes later, tapping home a beautiful pass from Nolan Stevens on the doorstep to make it 2-0.

Adam Gaudette made it 3-0 with eight minutes left in the first period, tying a Northeastern record with his 14th power play goal of the season. UConn got one back just two minutes into the second period, as Maxim Letunov picked up his seventh goal of the season.

Aston-Reese completed the hat trick with three minutes left in the second period, firing a shot from the blue line that bounced off of Nichols’ chest and into the back of the net. The tally gave Aston-Reese his third hat trick of the season after previously potting a treble against Michigan State and Clarkson.

UConn tried to mount a comeback in the third period, but the Northeastern defense held strong, finishing the weekend seven for seven on the penalty kill. Ryan Ruck made all the stops he needed to in net, finishing the evening with 24 saves.

With the win and New Hampshire’s loss to Boston University, Northeastern moved up to eighth place in the Hockey East standings and now controls its own destiny heading into the final week of the regular season. The Huskies will look to secure a first-round home playoff series when they travel to Maine to take on the Black Bears for two games. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 7 p.m. on Saturday, with pregame coverage of both games starting 15 minutes earlier on WRBB.

Kurker scores two as Northeastern shuts out UConn

By Josh Brown

HARTFORD – On a night with crucial Hockey East points on the line, the battle of the Huskies went to the boys from Boston for the seventh consecutive time.

If Ryan Ruck was Batman, earning his first shutout of the season on a 20-save effort, then Sam Kurker was Robin. The senior netted his second and third goals of the season to propel Northeastern (14-12-5, 7-9-3) to a 3-0 win over Connecticut.

A relatively lifeless first period saw the teams combine to put just 13 shots on net, with none finding the back of the net.

Kurker got it going for the Huskies at the 12:52 mark of the second period, tracking down a loose puck in the slot and roofing it over the shoulder of UConn goalie Adam Huska (30 saves). Adam Gaudette added support just under five minutes later, notching his 22nd goal of the season.

That would be more than enough for Northeastern, who held off a relatively disjointed UConn attack down the stretch before Kurker netted an empty-net goal to seal the deal.

The teams will be back in action on Saturday night, when Northeastern honors its eight seniors in the last regular season home game of their careers. Josh Brown and Dan McLoone will be on the call beginning at 7:15 p.m.

Sikura plays hero again as Northeastern downs No. 11 Boston College, takes third in Beanpot

By: Dan McLoone

BOSTON – It may not have been in the game they wanted it, but Northeastern picked up a win on the second Monday in February.

For the second year in a row, the Huskies (12-12-5) earned a victory in the Beanpot consolation game. Dylan Sikura netted what proved to be the game-winner with just 43 seconds left and Adam Gaudette added an empty-netter to earn a thrilling 4-2 victory over Boston College (18-11-2).

The Eagles got the scoring started with 2:29 left in the first period, as David Cotton deflected a shot from the right dot past Ryan Ruck for a 1-0 lead. Freshman Matt Filipe, a Lynnfield native who never forgot his roots, tied up the game in the second period. He then gave the Huskies the lead seven minutes into the third period, giving him two goals in a tournament he grew up watching.

Nursing a 2-1 lead down the stretch, the Huskies gave up the equalizer to Colin White with 6:31 left to play. The Eagles then appeared to take the lead with just 1:13 remaining, but the goal was waved off after official review found BC guilty of goaltender interference on Ryan Ruck, who finished the evening with 30 saves.

Given new life, the Huskies responded. Sikura played hero for the umpteenth time this season, taking a pass from Zach Aston-Reese in the high slot and firing it past Joe Woll to give Northeastern a 3-2 lead with 43 seconds to go. Gaudette added an insurance tally 15 seconds later, pouncing on an errant pass and slotting it into the empty net to give Northeastern the 4-2 win.

The win gives the Huskies their second consecutive bronze finish in the Beanpot, and also hands BC head coach Jerry York his first last-place finish in the four-team tournament since he became coach.

The Huskies will return to the ice this weekend when they play a home-and-home with UConn. Northeastern will travel to Storrs for a 7 p.m. game on Friday before Uconn comes to Matthews Arena for a 7:30 p.m. puck drop on Saturday. Complete coverage of both games will be provided by WRBB, with pregame slated for 15 minutes before puck drop.

 

John Stevens returns as Huskies top UMass

By Josh Brown

BOSTON- With points at a premium with only a handful of league games remaining, Northeastern received production from a cast of familiar faces en route to a 6-2 win over UMass Amherst on Friday night.

Leading the way for the Huskies (12-12-5, 6-9-3) was Nolan Stevens and Zach Aston-Reese, who both netted two goals in the winning effort. Aston-Reese also picked up his 50th point of the season, the first Husky to reach the milestone since the 1989-1990 season.

It did not take long for Northeastern to get on the board, with Nolan Stevens finishing off a tick-tack-toe bing-bang-boom sequence just 16 seconds in to give NU the early lead. The Huskies would continue to pile on in the first, getting goals from Dylan Sikura, Adam Gaudette and Stevens again to take a 4-0 lead and subsequently knock UMass goalie Ryan Wischow (8 saves) out of the game.

Despite Jake McLaughlin beating Huskies goalie Ryan Ruck (25 saves) with just 1:20 left to go in the first and Griff Jeszka scoring one less than three minutes into the second, that would be the closest the Minutemen (5-22-2, 3-13-1) would get.

Looking to pad his Hobey Baker resume, Aston-Reese would score two special teams goals – one shorthanded and one on the power play – to seal the deal and send the Huskies home with a 6-2 win.

Northeastern will be back in action Monday afternoon when they take on No. 7 Boston College in the Beanpot consolation game. Pregame coverage begins at 4:15 p.m.

Comeback falls short as Northeastern’s Beanpot Drought Reaches 29th Year

By: Dan McLoone

BOSTON – The Northeastern men’s hockey team will have to wait to end its other championship drought. Seeking their fifth Beanpot title of all time and first since 1988, the Huskies (11-12-5, 5-9-3) saw a late rally fall short, as they fell to Harvard at the TD Garden on Monday, 4-3.

There was not much action early on, as the two teams combined to log just 11 shots in a scoreless first period. Harvard captain Alexander Kerfoot ended the stalemate with 6:10 left in the second period, getting a stick up to redirect a shot from the blue line past Ryan Ruck in net. The Huskies tied it up at one with 1:52 left in the period when Adam Gaudette poked home a Zach Aston-Reese pass on the power play.

Coming into the third period with momentum, the wheels came off quickly for Northeastern, as constant Harvard offensive pressure forced Ruck to make several big saves. The Crimson broke through 7:39 into the frame when Clay Anderson netted his second of the year, and Tyler Moy extended the lead to 3-1 just two minutes later in a goal that was initially ruled a save but was overturned upon review.

Trailing by two, the Huskies had a chance to cut into the lead on a power play opportunity with eight minutes left, but Luke Esposito pounced on a rebound that Ruck misplayed and slotted it home to make it 4-1.

Facing a three-goal deficit with less than eight minutes to go, Nolan Stevens cut the lead to 4-2 with a power play goal in his first game action since late October. Gaudette got his second of the game and 19th of the year with 1:33 left, and had a beautiful chance on the doorstep in the waning seconds of the game, but Crimson netminder Merrick Madsen made the saves that he needed to and finished with 27 saves to preserve the win.

The Huskies will take on the loser of the Boston College-Boston University game next Monday at the TD Garden in the Beanpot consolation game, with puck drop scheduled for 4:30 p.m.. Josh Brown, Dan McLoone and Christian Skroce will have complete coverage on WRBB beginning at 4:15 p.m.

 

Huskies allow three in third, fall to No. 10 UMass Lowell

By Josh Brown

BOSTON – Riding a five-game unbeaten streak into Friday night’s game against No. 10 UMass Lowell, Northeastern looked unbeatable for the first 15 minutes courtesy of early goals from Adam Gaudette and Matt Filipe. Not only was the offense putting the puck in the back of the net, but the Huskies did not even allow a shot for nearly 15 minutes.

Losers of four straight and slipping down the Hockey East standings, Norm Bazin’s squad was desperate. So when Dylan Zink netted his ninth of the season to cut the Huskies lead to 2-1 late in the first, Lowell caught its second wind.

Northeastern would take a 3-1 lead just over a minute into the second via Gaudette’s second power play goal of the game, but from there Lowell would score three unanswered with C.J. Smith (power play), Jake Kamrass and Connor Wilson lighting the lamp in a span that lasted from 2:30 into the second period to 8:49 left in the third.

Filipe would score his second of the game just moments after Lowell took the lead to tie the game up, but Ryan Dmowski and Kenny Hausinger (empty net) proved to be too much and the River Hawks (16-9-3, 8-7-1) escaped Matthews Arena with a 6-4 win.

The Huskies (11-11-5, 5-9-3) will be back in action Monday afternoon when they take on Harvard in the semifinals of the Beanpot at 5 p.m.. Josh Brown, Dan McLoone and Christian Skroce will have the call from the TD Garden beginning at 4:45.

Aston-Reese, Sikura named candidates for Hobey Baker Award

ZAR-100
Photo courtesy of Northeastern Athletics

By: James Duffy

Northeastern’s Zach Aston-Reese and Dylan Sikura were named as candidates for the Hobey Baker Award on Monday, given to the top college hockey player of the year.

Aston-Reese and Sikura have been two of the most dominant offensive players in the nation this season, each having tallied 41 points, tied for fifth most in the country. Of the Huskies 88 goals this season, Aston-Reese and Sikura have combined for 38. Both are having career years, and have already or are on pace to set career-highs in every offensive category.

In his final season at NU, Aston-Reese leads all Division I players with 22 goals this season, propelled by a run from Nov. 18 to Jan. 14 where he recorded 16 goals and 11 assists in 11 games. He also leads all skaters with 11 power play goals, and is tied for the lead in shorthanded goals with three.

Sikura has already shattered his career high in points, goals and assists. After tallying 10 goals and 18 assists in 39 games last season, the junior has been a force this season with 16 goals and 25 assists through just 25 games.

The Huskies duo were two of the 66 players given the honor, and fans can vote for any of the candidates between now and March 5, before the selection committee will shrink the field to 10 nominees.

To vote for Aston-Reese and Sikura click here.

Sikura heroics leads Northeastern past No. 7 UMass Lowell

By: Dan McLoone

LOWELL, Mass – With the Northeastern hockey team trailing 3-1 in the third period, Dylan Sikura netted three late goals, including the game-winner with 16.3 seconds left, to lift the Huskies to a 4-3 comeback win over No. 7 UMass Lowell at the Tsongas Center on Friday night.

Both offenses were firing on all cylinders on the power play, as the River Hawks finished 3-4 on the man advantage, while the Huskies went 2-5. Ryan Lohin got the scoring going on the power play for the River Hawks nine minutes into the game, firing a shot from the faceoff dot past Ryan Ruck to take a 1-0 lead. The home team would double the lead eight minutes into the second, as Jake Kamrass netted another goal on the man advantage.

The Huskies would get a power play tally of their own with five minutes left in the second period, as Grant Jozefek potted his first collegiate goal to cut the River Hawk lead in half. John Edwardh would extend the lead back to two for Lowell at the start of the third period, poking home a puck in front of the net for the third power play tally of the night for the home team.

Trailing 3-1 with nine minutes to go, Sikura got to work offensively. He netted his first of the game with 8:29 to go, skating into the offensive zone and sniping a shot top-shelf past goalie Garrett Metcalf to cut the lead to 3-2. Just 1:16 later, the junior would tie the game up, firing a shot into Metcalf’s chest that the freshman netminder dropped and allowed to trickle between his legs for the game-tying score.

With both teams fighting for the winner, the River Hawks replaced Metcalf with regular starter Tyler Wall, but the change could not stop Sikura. With 16.3 seconds left, he pounced on an errant pass in front of the net, skated around Wall and easily deposited the puck in the back of the net to give the Huskies a 4-3 lead and the win.

The win is the third straight for the Huskies, who improve to 10-10-5 on the year and 4-8-3 in Hockey East. Northeastern will be back in action on Tuesday when they travel to UMass Amherst for a 7 p.m.game. Full coverage will be provided by WRBB.

 

Three power play goals lead Huskies to weekend sweep of Merrimack

By Josh Brown

NORTH ANDOVER, Ma – The jury is still out regarding the Huskies’ prospects of making a miraculous second half run, the likes of which we saw just a year ago. But if Northeastern is poised for the same fate, they took another step in the right direction on Saturday night.

Coming off a 4-1 win over Merrimack at Matthews Arena on Friday, the Huskies scored three power play goals on Saturday night at Lawler Rink to upend Merrimack (8-13-3, 2-7-3), 4-2. In addition to receiving goals from four different Huskies (9-10-5, 3-6-3), Ryan Ruck provided solid goaltending in net for the third straight game, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced.

Adam Gaudette got the party started, scoring his 13th of the season to give Northeastern a 1-0 lead 6:15 into the first period. Reeling for league wins of their own, Merrimack responded via tallies from Johnathan Kovacevic at the 16:05 mark in the first and Jace Hennig at 2:26 into the second period to give the Warriors a short-lived lead.

Just over four minutes later, Matt Filipe would net his fourth of the year, and Zach Aston-Reese would follow it up soon after with his nation-leading 22nd of the year to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead. Eric Williams would score an insurance goal midway through the third period to cement the Huskies win.

Northeastern will be back in action on Friday night when they travel to No. 5 UMass-Lowell. WRBB will have full coverage, with pregame getting underway at 5:45 p.m.

 

Balanced attack leads Northeastern to 4-1 victory over Merrimack

By: Dan McLoone

BOSTON – The Northeastern men’s hockey team picked up its second Hockey East win of the season on Friday night. Zach Aston-Reese saw his 11-game scoring streak snapped, but four different skaters scored as the Huskies came away with a 4-1 victory over Merrimack at Matthews Arena.

Adam Gaudette got the scoring going for the Huskies, knocking a puck out of the air in the crease for his 12th goal of the year to take a 1-0 lead six minutes into the game. Jeremy Davies doubled the lead five minutes later, tapping home a beautiful pass from Dylan Sikura to make it 2-0 through one period.

The Warriors got one back five minutes into the second, as Sami Tavernier managed to sneak a puck past Ryan Ruck and into the back of the net. The goal was the lone blemish on Ruck’s resume for the night, as the sophomore netminder made 33 saves for his second consecutive strong start.

Brendan Collier extended the lead back to two at the 8:16 mark in the second period, pouncing on a loose puck in the crease to make it 3-1. Sikura got on the scoresheet six minutes into the third period, firing home a shot off the draw to start a power play for his 13th goal of the season.

Merrimack threatened to score down the stretch, but the Northeastern defense held strong to preserve the 4-1 victory. The Huskies improve to 8-10-5 overall and 2-8-3 in Hockey East, jumping up to ninth in the conference standings. They take the ice in North Andover on Saturday night at 7 p.m.to finish off the season series with Merrimack. Full coverage of the game will be provided on WRBB.