BOSTON — Tuesday night’s showdown between the Northeastern Huskies and the UMass Minutemen was a chippy, defensive affair. The teams combined for 15 penalties, then failed to score on every one of the resulting power plays.
The Huskies triumphed in
their home opener, topping the fourth-ranked Minutemen 3–1 behind the efforts
of their freshmen and their grad transfer goalie. The Huskies have won their
first three games and limited their opponents to a single goal in each one.
The game was scoreless well into the second period before the Huskies struck. With 9:23 remaining, freshman forward Matt DeMelis converted a wrister over the head of UMass goalie Matt Murray. The decisive goal opened play for both teams in what had been a stagnant offensive game.
The Huskies added to their
lead later in the period after UMass defender Philip Lagunov was whistled for
slashing Northeastern’s Jordan Harris on a two-on-one breakaway. The freshman
defender took advantage of the penalty shot, confidently bearing down on Murray
and flicking the puck over his right shoulder. It was Harris’ second goal of
the young season.
The third period was electric.
Just as the Northeastern defense looked unassailable, UMass freshman Matt
Kessel drove a dagger from the blue line past Northeastern goalie Craig Pantano
to make the score 2–1. A dogfight ensued, culminating in a five-minute spearing
penalty against Northeastern’s Brendan Van Reimsdyk with three minutes to play.
The Husky defense held fast, and Zach Solow notched an empty-net insurance goal
with 12 seconds to play.
Pantano shone brightest, steering 34 shots away from the net and reassuring those who doubted the Huskies’ depth in goal before the season. He looked comfortable anchoring a team that heavily featured two freshman defenders in Mike Kesselring and Jeremie Bucheler.
“He gives you calmness, poise, and leadership,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said of Pantano. “He’s been in every building and has won.”
Tune in Sunday at 3 PM when
the Huskies take on Holy Cross at Matthews Arena. Matt Cuhna and Adam Doucette
will be on the call.
SCHENECTADY, NY — It was another stressful outing for the young Huskies team, but Northeastern was again victorious in a come-from-behind effort against the Union College Dutchmen. The game started as a defensive slugfest, with the first two periods devoid of scoring and chock-full of penalties.
Union finally scored early in the third period. Union forward Anthony Rinaldi swooped in from the left wing and fired a poorly angled shot on goal. Despite a nice save from Northeastern goalie Craig Pantano, the puck remained untouched in the crease, and Morton — who entered the offensive zone from the penalty box just as Northeastern’s power play ended — put away the easy chance.
For a while Northeastern’s offense continued to struggle as they failed to capitalize on another power play. Then, with 11 minutes remaining in the third, freshman forward Riley Hughes came to the Huskies’ rescue. He stole the puck from a Union defender, earned a one-on-one breakaway against Union goalie Darion Hanson, and sent a shot through Hanson’s legs to even the score.
Northeastern didn’t take long to gain the upper hand. Just three minutes later, senior forward Biagio Lerario finished off a rebound from a long-range effort by fellow forward Zach Solow. The Huskies would not look back, as they fought their way to their second consecutive one-goal win during opening weekend.
you’re playing with danger, you have to play well,” coach Jim Madigan said.
“It’s good that we can find a way to win in a close game in the third period,
and that shows resiliency and a mature team, but at the same time, there’s an
identity we want to start playing to.”
While the Huskies were happy to come away with two weekend wins, there were clearly some growing pains for the team’s younger players. As Madigan pointed out, the coaches clearly have a plan for this team, and while it was a tough two games, the team held their own and begins its season undefeated.
Tune in Tuesday night at 7 PM when Northeastern returns to action against UMass Amherst; Matt Neiser and Dale Desantis will be on the call.
Schenectady, NY — The Northeastern men’s hockey team traveled to Schenectady, NY on Friday night, opening their 2019–20 campaign with a matchup against the Union Dutchmen. Despite a shaky beginning that saw them fall behind early, the Huskies battled back with goals from sophomore Jordan Harris and junior Grant Jozefek to secure a 2–1 victory.
Northeastern (1–0–0) was
rusty early on, with errant passes and missed defensive assignments all over
the place. This was to be expected; the Huskies hadn’t played since March 30
and Union already had two games under their belt from last weekend.
The Dutchmen (0–3–0) took
advantage of that rust in the first period, capitalizing on an uncharacteristic
mistake from Husky captain Ryan Shea. Looking to clear the puck from behind his
own net, Shea launched the puck directly into the path of Union freshman Liam Robertson,
who sent a one-timer past Craig Pantano to make it 1–0.
The Huskies began to find
their form in the second period, taking advantage of a continued power play
from the first frame to get on the front foot offensively. After knocking on
the door for a while, Northeastern finally found paydirt with six minutes left
when a loose rebound fell right at the feet of Harris, who slotted the puck
home to tie the game.
Northeastern completed the
comeback with a goal in the third period, and boy was it a beauty. After a puck
was dumped in behind his net, Pantano came out to collect. He slid the puck to
freshman defenseman Jeremie Bucheler, who threaded a brilliant breakout pass to
free Jozefek in the Union zone. Jozefek put on a quick half-move before firing
top shelf, beating Union goaltender Darion Hanson.
standouts was freshman Mike Kesselring. In his first collegiate game, the 6’ 4”
defenseman put together a complete two-way game. He used his size on defense,
breaking up multiple dangerous Union attacks. Kesselring was confident and
decisive on offense as well, playing precise passes and unleashing a few
firecracker shots from the point.
In fact, the entire Husky defensive
core was excellent. Shea, Bucheler, Harris, Kesselring, and Julian Kislin
showcased the blue line’s insane two-way potential, making countless plays on
both offense and defense.
Northeastern head coach Jim
Madigan credited the squad’s veterans as key to the team’s decisive third
period: “Those older guys really stepped up in the third period and led our
team and found a way to win. That’s a good team in the other room.”
The Huskies and the Dutchmen face off again Saturday at 4 PM. Matt Neiser and Christian Skroce will be on the call.
Season: 27–11–1 (15–8–1 in HE, third place);
Beanpot Champions; Hockey East Champions; lost to Cornell in NCAA Quarterfinals
Coach: Jim Madigan (ninth season)
Poll Projected Finish: Fourth
G Cayden Primeau
D Jeremy Davies
D Eric Williams
F Brandon Hawkins
F Lincoln Griffin
F Patrick Schule
F Liam Pecararo
G Connor Murphy
G Craig Pantano
D Jayden Struble
D Jeremie Bucheler
D Mike Kesselring
F Riley Hughes
F Aidan McDonough
F Brendan Van Riemsdyk
“We’re the greatest team to wear the Husky
logo, and that’s gonna be a feeling that’s going to last a lifetime.” Those
were the final words junior forward Zach Solow spoke as he reflected on
Northeastern’s 2018–19 season, and while they seemed bold at the time, it’s
hard to argue them.
The Huskies finished the season with an
overall record of 23–10–1, going 15–8–1 in Hockey East play to capture the
third seed in the conference tournament. Along the way, Northeastern came up
with massive wins, beating the number-one-ranked team in the country not once,
but twice (St. Cloud State and UMass Amherst). The cherry atop the incredible
regular season came during a little tournament in February, when the Huskies
defeated Boston College 4–2 to capture their second consecutive Beanpot title,
a feat the program hadn’t accomplished since 1985.
But the magic didn’t stop there for the
Huskies. The team continued its momentum into the Hockey East tournament,
rattling off three straight victories — including a 2–1 overtime win against
Boston University — en route to another meeting with BC in the Hockey East Finals.
Despite a strong showing from the Eagles, Northeastern came away with a 3–2
victory to win the program’s second conference title in four years. For the
first time, Northeastern won the Beanpot and Hockey East Conference in the same
Coming off the high of winning their
conference, the Huskies were awarded a second seed in the 2019 NCAA Hockey
Tournament and a favorable matchup against third-seeded Cornell. Despite high
hopes entering the matchup, the dream of reaching the program’s first Frozen
Four came to a screeching halt as the Huskies suffered a 5–1 drubbing at the
hands of Cornell’s massive skaters. Just like that, Northeastern’s historic
season came to a depressing end, and while the success gave fans plenty to
cheer for, the bad news continued into the offseason.
Shortly after the NCAA Tournament loss,
sophomore netminder Cayden Primeau announced his intention to sign an
entry-level contract with the Montreal Canadians, ending his career at
Northeastern after just two seasons. Junior defenseman Jeremy Davies would
follow his teammate to the NHL, signing an entry-level contract with the New
Jersey Devils (Davies was traded to the Nashville Predators in a package for
P.K. Subban). The Huskies also lost several key seniors to graduation:
defensive captain Eric Williams and impressive forwards Lincoln Griffin,
Patrick Schule, Liam Pecararo, and Brandon Hawkins.
While the losses were heavy, the Husky
faithful should expect great things, especially on the defensive end. Despite
losing Primeau and Davies, the Northeastern defense should improve upon last
year’s impressive season. Newly appointed captain Ryan Shea leads a deep
defensive unit filled with unrivaled intelligence and athleticism. Returning
along with Shea are sophomores Jordan Harris and Julian Kislin, both of whom
impressed during their freshman campaigns, often looking like seasoned veterans.
But the biggest storyline for this defense
will be the incoming freshmen class, which adds much-needed size and skill to
the team. Headlining the commits is Jayden Struble, a second-round pick from
this year’s NHL Draft who finished first in almost every drill at the NHL Draft
combine. Joining Struble on the blue line are freshmen Jeremie Bucheler and
Mike Kesselring, two physical, 6’4” skaters.
The defensive unit’s depth should make the
goalkeeper’s job much easier, which is good news for a team trying to replace
Cayden Primeau. In the long term, Husky coaches are hoping incoming freshman
Connor Murphy will be the answer between the pipes. To help Murphy’s
transition, the Huskies also brought in fifth-year goalie Craig Pantano, whose
57 games of experience at Merrimack should prove valuable, especially early in
Without question, the most volatile unit will
be the offense. While the Huskies did not lose any elite talent up front, the
team’s depth will come into question. Northeastern is returning several skaters
hoping to take massive leaps this season, particularly junior forward Zach
Solow and sophomore forward Tyler “Mr. Bright Lights” Madden, who impressed
with 28 points last season.
To counteract the loss of depth, the Huskies are bringing in several freshmen skaters, most notably Riley Hughes and Aidan McDonough. As seventh- and sixth-round draft picks respectively, Hughes and McDonough will look to add skill and size to the second and third lines. In addition, Northeastern is bringing in graduate transfer Brendan Van Riemsdyk, a 6’3” forward from the University of New Hampshire, whose four years of Hockey East experience will be valuable for the young Husky forwards.
Bottom Line: While many might see this as a rebuilding year for the Huskies, revamping is the preferred word. With the team’s best recruiting class in years, Northeastern is continuing to build themselves into a contender. While the losses of Davies and Primeau will not be easy to overcome, they just mean that other players will have to step up, particularly guys like Matt Filipe and John Picking. If the senior forwards step up in a similar way to last year’s class, this team’s mix of young studs and veterans skaters should allow them to once again finish in the top three of Hockey East and make another run at the conference title.
Season: 14–22–3 (10–11–3 in HE, seventh place); lost
in HE finals
Coach: Jerry Yorke (26th season)
Poll Projected Finish: First
The last few years of college hockey have
not been kind to Jerry Yorke’s Eagles, and 2018–19 was yet another disappointing
year. While the team ended its historic non-conference losing streak, Boston
College’s woes continued into their conference schedule as the team finished seventh
in Hockey East, its worst regular season finish since 2008. The team also
failed to win the Beanpot, losing
to Northeastern in the final.
Despite the poor regular season, the
Eagles picked up the pace in the Hockey East Tournament by eliminating
Providence and UMass Amherst before ultimately falling
to Northeastern in the title game. Once again, Jerry Yorke and BC failed to
come away with any hardware. In fact, even with the waves of talent coming
through the Conte Forum over the past decade, Boston College has failed to win
the Hockey East Tournament or a national championship since 2012.
After an encouraging Hockey East
Tournament run, BC came to terms with several offseason losses. Two senior
captains — Michael Kim and Christopher Brown — graduated, while the team’s
other captain, forward Casey Fitzgerald, signed an entry-level contract with
the Buffalo Sabres. The offense took yet another hit when freshman forward Oliver
Wahlstrom — the 11th pick in the 2018 NHL Draft — ended his college
career and signed with the New York Islanders. The final loss came on the back
end, as junior goalkeeper Joseph Woll decided to forgo his senior season and
sign with the Toronto Maple Leafs. The talented goalie was a mainstay for the
Eagles these last few years, posting an impressive 45–8 record with a 2.51
goals against average.
Despite the lackluster recent results and
losses for BC, hope has arrived this season. The Eagles’ incoming freshmen
class should terrify every team in the country. Three commits were chosen in
the first round of the 2019 NHL Draft, a feat practically unheard of in college
Headlining the monumental freshmen class
is forward Matthew Boldy, the 12th pick. Boldy is an intelligent
playmaker whose stick skills will immediately bolster BC’s already impressive
attack. Taken just four picks after Boldy was fellow freshman Alex Newhook, who
averaged a remarkable 1.9 points per game in the BCHL last season. The two
first-round picks will join upperclassmen David Cotton on the front lines;
Cotton is a talented skater returning for his senior year after a fantastic 23-goal
Spencer Knight, the 13th pick and BC’s replacement for goalie Joseph Woll, is the first goalie taken in the first round since Jack Campbell in 2010. At 6’3” and 198 pounds, Knight fills the entire goal and — as his 2.36 GAA in 33 games for the US Under 18 team proves — is one of the best goalie prospects in years. While the transition into Hockey East can be difficult for young goalies, hockey fans should remember that former Northeastern goalie Cayden Primeau made it look easy for two years. Knight might be even better.
Bottom Line: This BC team won’t be short of talent, especially in their offensive unit. The combination of young superstars Boldy and Newhook and the veteran talent of Cotton and Logan Hutsko should prove deadly. Senior defenseman Ben Finkelstein and junior Michael Karrow lead a solid Eagles defense backed by Spencer Knight between the pipes. This team is young, but its star potential should scare every team in the country. With a difficult out-of-conference slate, the young Eagles will be battle-tested and well-prepared for a deep Hockey East Tournament run and a return to the NCAA Tournament.
Last Season: 16–18–4
(12–9–3 HE, fifth place); lost in HE semifinals
Head Coach: Albie O’Connell (second season)
Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Fifth
By Adam Doucette
The Boston University Terriers’ 2018–19
season was the first with coach Albie O’Connell at the helm. Other than the
coaching change, it was not the most memorable season for the Terriers. They
didn’t notch a Beanpot win, they didn’t make it to the Hockey East finals, and
they didn’t make the NCAA tournament. Their overall record was below .500 for
the first time since 2013–14.
While a team cannot be expected to be
elite right away under a new coach, BU has gotten used to contending. However,
the team with the most Beanpot titles under its belt won’t have an easy time
climbing back to the top of college hockey.
The Terriers are losing four of their five
top point scorers from a year ago, including goal leader Joel Farabee (17) and
assist leader Dante Fabbro (26). They are also losing the services of Jake
Oettinger, their star goaltender who made 47 saves in last year’s Beanpot final
The Terriers picked up two graduate transfers for this season. One is Alex Brink, a 6’0” forward from Brown University; the other is Sam Tucker, a 6’3” goaltender from Yale University. The team will also hold onto Patrick Curry, the lone remaining top-five point scorer from last year. The senior forward will serve as team captain for the 2019–20 campaign while senior Patrick Harper and juniors Logan Cockerill and Cam Crotty have been named assistant captains.
Bottom Line: It won’t be easy for the Terriers to build on last season after losing so many top players. Second-year coach Albie O’Connell will have to learn on the fly and figure out how to best use the new players. Expectations may not be as high as they were in past years, but the program is confident that O’Connell can lead them back to the top.
Last Season: 15–17–4
(11–9–4 HE, sixth place); Lost in HE quarterfinals
Head Coach: Red
Gendron (seventh season)
Poll Projected Finish: Eighth
G Rob McGovern
D Sam Becker
D Brady Keeper
D Rob Michel
D Keith Muehlbauer
F Canon Pieper
F Brendan Robbins
F Daniel Perez
F Chase Pearson
G Matthew Thiessen
D Levi Kleiboer
D J.D. Greenway
D Perry Winfree
D Adrien Bisson
F Ben Poisson
F Brady Gaudette
F Dawson Bruenski
F Remy Parker
By Matthew Cunha
In the last two years, Red Gendron’s Black Bears finished sixth after several seasons as Hockey East bottom-feeders. The improvement was largely due to goalie Jeremy Swayman, who made the All-Hockey East third team last season and posted a 2.78 GAA and .919 save percentage. Last season, the fourth-round Boston Bruins prospect often bailed out the Black Bears.
Big blows came this offseason with the departures of Chase Pearson and Brady Keeper to the pros. Pearson and Keeper finished second and third in scoring for the Black Bears, combining for 52 points.
The good news for Maine is the return of senior Mitchell Fossier. Fossier led Maine in scoring for the second straight season with 36 points, good for seventh in Hockey East. Fossier was the clear-cut choice to captain the Black Bears this season. He will be assisted by seniors Ryan Smith and Tim Doherty (fourth in scoring last season) and junior Jack Quinlivan.
The nine newcomers for the Black Bears are highlighted
by junior J.D. Greenway, the 72nd pick in the 2016 draft (Toronto
Maple Leafs) and the brother of Minnesota Wild’s Jordan Greenway. J.D. played
two seasons at the University of Wisconsin (10 points in 46 career games)
before losing playing time and deciding to play junior hockey. The 6’5” defensemen
should add clarity, structure, steadiness, and a veteran presence to the Black
Bears’ back end, though his experience at Wisconsin is a bit concerning.
Another addition Northeastern fans will notice is freshman Brady Gaudette, the brother of former Northeastern Husky and Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette. Brady comes to Maine after a year of playing junior hockey.
Bottom Line: Maine seems destined for the middle of the pack once again thanks to Swayman, who now has talented defenseman J.D. Greenway in front of him. Outside of Fossier, the Black Bears will have a hard time putting the puck in the net after the losses of Pearson and Kepper to the pros. If the freshmen can’t score the offense could go downhill fast, but Swayman is good enough to get this team back in sixth place with another first-round exit.
Last Season: 12–15–9
(8–10–6, eighth place), lost to UMass Amherst in HE quarterfinal
Head Coach: Mike Souza (second season)
Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Seventh
D Richard Boyd
F Brendan Van Riemsdyk
F Marcus Vela
F Ara Nazarin
F Chris Miller
D Nolan McElhaney
D Kalle Eriksson
F Lucas Herrmann
F Chase Stevenson
F Robby Griffin
F Joe Hankinson
In his first year as head coach of the Wildcats, Mike
Souza led UNH to their best win percentage (.458) since 2014–15. In the
previous three years, UNH had finished 11th, 10th, and 10th in Hockey East and
failed to post a win percentage above .438 under longtime coach Dick Umile.
During a stretch between December 7 and February 1, the Wildcats posted an 8–1–3 record, including a win over Boston College and a tie over 15th-ranked Miami. That run helped them sneak into the playoffs after starting the season 2–7–5. They faced off with eventual NCAA runners-up UMass Amherst and came up just short, losing to the Minutemen in a 5–4 double-overtime thriller in Game 1. They got shelled 6–0 in game 2, but nonetheless it was a positive season for coach Souza.
Last season, nine Wildcats produced more than 15 points; only three (Ara Narzarin, Marcus Vela, and Van Riemsdyk) aren’t returning. Leading the way will be senior Liam Blackburn, who produced 24 points last year. Fifth-round NHL pick and Ottawa Senators prospect Angus Crookshank tied for second in scoring with 23. Fellow rookie Jackson Pierson, third-round pick Max Gildon, and junior assistant captions Charlie Kelleher and Patrick Grasso were the other Wildcats to produce at least 15 points.
With plenty of scoring returning and Crookshank and
Pierson likely to take steps forward, scoring should not be a problem this
season for UNH. Losing Nazarin and Vela to graduation hurts the Wildcats’
bottom line, but there should be enough firepower to fill those gaps. The good
news for Northeastern fans: Brendan Van Riemsdyk, brother of NHL player James
Van Riemsdyk, left UNH to play his senior season at Northeastern.
On the back end, UNH will be led by senior defenseman and captain Anthony Wyse. Last season, UNH allowed 2.86 goals per game, ninth in Hockey East. In the net is Mike Robinson, 86th overall pick of the San Jose Sharks in 2015. Robinson has not lived up to expectations in Wildcat land, finishing 10th in Hockey East in goals against (2.48) and save percentage (.915) last season. Seventh-round Tampa Bay prospect Ty Taylor will back him up.
Bottom Line: The Wildcats’ offensive depth should be fine, as they return six of their top nine scorers plus Angus Crookshank and Jackson Pierson. The concern for the Wildcats is the question marks on the back end, where goalie Robinson has not lived up to his potential. If he can break out as a junior, the Wildcats could be in good hands. In his second season, Souza should continue to improve with a top-five finish in Hockey East.
Last Season: 7–24–3
(4–18–2, 11th place); missed HE playoffs
Coach: Scott Borek (second season)
Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: 11th
G Jere Huhtamaa
G Troy Kobryn
D Declan Carlile
D Jacob Modry
D Zach Vinell
D Zach Uens
D Liam Dennison
F Liam Walsh
F Hugo Esselin
F Regan Kimmens
F Mac Welsher
F Ben Brar
F Joey Cassetti
F Christian Simeone
F Ryan Nolan
F Flip Forsmark
F James Corcoran
Last year was the beginning of a plan for seismic
change in Merrimack’s hockey program. The school replaced 13-year head coach
Mark Dennehy with successful Providence assistant Scott Borek. With Merrimack relatively
new in Division I — men’s hockey joined in 1989 — the perception of the North
Shore program seemed ready to change.
Unfortunately, Merrimack hit a new low in 2018–19,
tallying just seven wins all year and finishing last in Hockey East with four
conference wins. It was their worst record in twelve seasons; the team hasn’t
had a winning record since 2011. Wins over powerhouses Northeastern, BU, BC,
and Michigan provided the season’s sole saving grace.
After such a dismal season it’s unsurprising that for
Borek to retain his position, he needed to immediately bail out the Warriors’ sinking
ship. Coming into this season, he cut seven players and recruited sixteen. As
the prospects stand for this season, no one expects too much for the upcoming
One of the few returning bright spots is freshman goal scorer Chase Gresock. Tallying 24 points with 11 goals and 13 assists last season, the newcomer cemented himself as someone to watch. Hopefully within Borek’s big recruiting class coach there’s a better first line to help Gresock build upon a respectable start to his career.
Bottom Line: Merrimack is a last-place team, and when seven players are cut going into a season it reflects poorly on the pre-Borek era. Until Borek strings together good recruiting classes, Merrimack will remain at the bottom of Hockey East.
season: 19–13–5 (12–7–5 HE); lost in HE quarterfinal
Head Coach: Norm Bazin (eighth season)
Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Sixth
G Christffer Hernberg
D Avini Bershia
D Croix Evingson
D Seth Barton
F Nick Master
F Ryan Dmowski
F Connor Wilson
F Ryan Lohin
F Cole Paksus
F Michael Dill
F Nick Marin
D Mattais Goransson
G Logan Neaton
D Jordan Schulting
D Marek Korenick
F Matt Brown
F Carl Berglund
F Brian Chambers
F Andre Lee
The Riverhawks’ 2018–19 season was a great success.
With a 19–13–5 record, Head Coach Norm Bazin rebounded from a tough 2017–18 campaign
that saw the Riverhawks slip from fourth to seventh in the conference
standings. Behind a group of rising juniors and senior scorer Ryan Dmowski, the
Riverhawks placed fourth in Hockey East last year with 12 conference wins, with
two coming against powerhouses BC and Northeastern.
Unfortunately the regular seaon success did not carry to
the postseason, as BU eliminated UMass Lowell in the Hockey East quarterfinals.
Although this was a disappointment, BU was playing great hockey after a dismal
start to the season.
Last year the Riverhawks were anchored by junior goaltender Tyler Wall and his impressive .929 save percentage. Five different players tallied over 20 points, led by junior forward Ryan Lohin (27). Although no one put up huge offensive stats, the scoring-by-committee model and unselfish play benefited the team. With Wall and four of the top five goal scorers returning, the Riverhawks are poised for another solid season.
Bottom Line: The biggest knock against Coach Bazin’s squad is an inability to land top-rated recruits. BC and BU both scored great recruiting classes and will likely leapfrog Lowell in the standings. Nonetheless, Lowell is a well-run program primed to contend in Hockey East.