Husky Sports Update Week 10: 11/7-11/13

Senior point guard T.J. Williams (10) dropped a career high 30 points to lead NU to an 87-77 opening night victory over Boston University (Image Credit: Northeastern Athletics).
Senior point guard T.J. Williams (10) dropped a career high 30 points to lead NU to an 87-77 opening night victory over Boston University (Image Credit: Northeastern Athletics).

Northeastern opened up the much-awaited basketball season Friday with a matchup against local rival Boston University. TJ Williams scored a career-high 30 points for the Huskies in an 87-77 victory. He and Alex Murphy came up huge, combining for 50 points, with Murphy’s 20 also representing a career high. The Huskies set the tone early with a 16-point halftime lead, which proved to be too much for the Terriers to overcome.

Women’s Basketball

The Lady Huskies opened the season with a dominant showing against Boston University at home on Friday. They took control early, leading by 14 after the first quarter then proceeding to win 78-59. Jess Genco stole the show with 27 points on 9-12 shooting and 7 three-pointers.  

Two days later, Northeastern dismantled Canisius on the road, blowing out the Griffins 83-59. The Huskies outscored Canisius in all four quarters. Gabby Giacone scored a career best 18 points as well as blocking three shots, securing the win for Northeastern.

Northeastern will challenge Saint Mary’s at home on Friday, November 18 at 12 PM at the Cabot Center.

Men’s Ice Hockey

After a tie and a loss to a perennially strong Boston University squad, the Huskies looked to bounce back on Saturday at home against Notre Dame. They opened up hot, taking a 2-1 lead deep into the second period before surrendering the final four goals in a 5-2 defeat. On Sunday, Northeastern took on the Irish again in a game that was suspended after two periods.

The game was suspended after two periods in a scoreless tie after a Zamboni malfunction. The third period is intended to be made up at a later date. NU had some positives to take away from the weekend, however, as goalie Jake Theut made his first career start Sunday and stopped 22 shots without allowing a goal. The penalty kill was also strong Sunday as the Huskies held the Irish to 0-for-5 on the power play.

Head Coach Jim Madigan acknowledged the team’s third period struggles following Saturday’s game, saying that “you need to play smart for 60 minutes to win.” He called the defense to action, and they responded Sunday before the unfortunate suspension.

Northeastern (3-4-3) faces conference foe Providence on Friday, November 18 at 7 PM in Matthews Arena where they seek their first Hockey East victory.

Women’s Ice Hockey

The Lady Huskies swept conference rival Merrimack on Friday and Saturday with two 4-2 victories. They started the weekend in North Andover where they scored three goals in the third period to secure a comeback win. Northeastern spread the puck around, as four different Huskies scored and six recorded assists.

On Saturday, the Huskies notched a more convincing win where they jumped out to a 3-0 lead early in the second. McKenna Brand scored two early goals and netminder Brittany Bugalski saved 22 shots in a comfortable victory.

The Lady Huskies look to extend their 4-game winning streak at Vermont on Friday, November 18 at 2 PM.

Women’s Soccer

Northeastern had its NCAA tournament campaign cut short Sunday by No. 3 Clemson after a 14-7-1 regular season by the Huskies. Clemson scored a goal in the 61st minute to take the lead then they never looked back, outlasting the Huskies by a score of 1-0. Northeastern opened strong with 5 shots in the first half, but were overwhelmed in the second half by a potent Clemson offense who took 17 shots in the game.

Northeastern’s 14 wins for the season is the second most in program history, trailing only the 2014 squad who recorded 15 victories.

Women’s Volleyball

Northeastern wrapped up their volleyball season Sunday in a matchup versus CAA rival Elon. The Huskies took a tough 2-3 loss on the road after taking the first set. Despite a strong effort, the Huskies were outperformed in kills, blocks, and team assists. Northeastern had strong showings from Carmen Costa, Jamie Bredahl, and Natalie Shollin, with 13, 11, and 10 kills respectively. Kristen Walding played a strong supporting role by dishing out 43 assists.

Northeastern still finished the season a solid 20-10, despite closing on three consecutive losses.

Men’s & Women’s Cross Country

The Huskies went to the NCAA Northeast Regionals on Friday, November 11. On the men’s side, they finished 14th of over 35 Division I teams at the Bronx. They had strong efforts from both Paul Duffey and Chance Lamberth, who finished 57th and 58th respectively in a field of over 230 runners. Their times for the 10k race were an impressive 31:59 each.

The women’s team finished a respectable 17th, with an impressive performance by senior Jordan O’Dea in the 6k. She finished 34th with a time of 21:24. Senior Lucy Young also finished in the top 100 with a time of 21:58, good for 70th place.

Northeastern will compete next at the IC4A Championships on Saturday, November 19.

Women’s Swimming and Diving

The Lady Huskies are off to a strong start with a dual meet record of 4-1. Northeastern will face their next challenge at the Frank Elm Invitational, hosted by Rutgers in New Brunswick, NJ. They will compete from Friday, November 18 to Sunday, November 20.

Men’s and Women’s Rowing

Both teams competed in the Foot of the Charles on Saturday, where the women finished second and the men finished first.

AUDIO: Northeastern Upsets UConn

TJ Williams had 20 points, 7 rebounds, and 6 assists as Northeastern defeated UConn for the first time since the 1985-86 season Monday night at Gampel Pavilion in Storrs, Conn.

Alex Murphy contributed 9 points and 15 rebounds as the experience of Northeastern prevailed in a closely contested battle against a youthful UConn team. Northeastern, who led for the majority of the first half, fell behind 40-36 early in the second half. They fought back, going on a 13-4 run topped off by back-to-back threes by Williams. The Huskies never looked back, and held on for a 64-61 victory. They are now 2-0 on the season.

Up next for the Huskies are three consecutive games in the Steve Wright Classic this weekend. They will get a rematch against Boston University on Friday night before finishing off the weekend with games against LIU-Brooklyn and Maine.

Listen to Jeremy Leopold’s final call here:

Huskies bounce BU in season opener

By: Matthew MacCormack

The Northeastern Huskies were forced to replace 70% of their scoring from a season ago. New faces speckled the roster in Tuesday’s season-opening bout with Boston University at Matthews Arena, and the question loomed: where are the points going to come from?

After one game, it looks like head coach Bill Coen’s senior captains are ready to answer the bell.

T.J. Williams had 30 points and eight assists, and graduate transfer Alex Murphy poured in 20 in his Northeastern debut as the Huskies (1-0) edged BU, 87-77 on Friday night. The Huskies shot a blistering 43% from three in the first half to gain a 16-point edge at the break, and the lead never got smaller than five. Eric Fanning posted 29 points and seven boards for the visiting Terriers (0-1).

“We have a steadying force in our seniors,” said Huskies’ coach Bill Coen in the post-game presser.

“They really helped bridge that gap from the losses from last year.”

In a surprise move, Coen gave freshman Shawn Occeus the starting nod. Occeus responded by scoring five consecutive points after Murphy knocked down two threes in the first two minutes of gameplay. Occeus and fellow freshman Bolden Brace and Max Boursiquot combined for 16 points.

BU’s Justin Alston threw down a dunk with 11:00 to play in the first half to cut the Northeastern lead to 18-15. From there, the Huskies crafted a 23-8 run, with five different players contributing points in the stretch. NU led 41-25 at the break.

The Terriers cut the lead to just five with 11 to play in the second half, but Northeastern responded thanks to some stellar driving by Williams. The senior point guard had 19 points in the second half, and went 11-15 from the free throw line after not stepping to the charity stripe in the first half.

BU coach Joe Jones was impressed with Williams’s effort.

“From a guy averaging six points per game to doing what he’s doing now,” Jones said.

“He’s gotta be one of the most improved players in the frickin’ country.”

After an up-and-down campaign a season ago, Williams flashed the potential that could make him a dangerous weapon down the stretch.”

“Just staying dialed in, being dialed in on and off the court, having my team behind me,” Williams said.

“I’m just glad we got the win.”

Next up for the Huskies is game at UConn, which lost to Wagner on Friday night. Northeastern will meet BU next Friday at Agganis Arena as part of the Steve Wright classic.

CAA Preview: Northeastern Huskies

nuCoach: Bill Coen (11th season)

Last Season: 18-15 (6th in CAA)

Additions:

  • F Alex Murphy (Florida/Southborough, Mass.)
  • G Shawn Occeus (Grandview Prep/Boynton Beach, Fla.)
  • G Bolden Brace (Santa Barbara High/Santa Barbara Calif.)
  • G/F Maxime Boursiquot (Kent School/Ottawa, Ontario)

Losses:

  • G David Walker (17.9 ppg, 4.0 apg, 3.6 rpg, First Team All-CAA)
  • F Quincy Ford (16.4 ppg, 7.0 rpg, Second Team All-CAA)
  • F Zach Stahl (10.6 ppg, 6.1 rpg)
  • G Caleb Donnelly (4.6 ppg)
  • C Kwesi Abakah
  • G Brandon Kamga

No other team in the CAA lost as much talent and leadership as the Northeastern Huskies, who were picked 7th in the conference’s preseason media poll. Three thousand-point scorers graduated, leaving head coach Bill Coen with an inexperienced core that might struggle to fight for relevance in a crowded CAA.

Gone are the dynamic trio of G David Walker, F Quincy Ford and F Zach Stahl. Walker was the team’s leading scorer, and was relied on heavily to bail the Huskies out with his clutch shooting and impressive athleticism. Ford was the heart and soul: a fifth year senior who could do just about anything on a basketball court. No one would argue Stahl has the smoothest game, but his rebounding and interior scoring kept NU’s offense churning. Even the loss of Caleb Donnelly, a sharp shooting senior, stings.

In addition to the graduations, Northeastern lost two more players to transfer in C Kwesi Abakah and G Brandon Kamga, slicing away at the Huskies already thin stash of reserves.

Almost 70% of last year’s points are gone, but the Huskies caught a big break with the announcement that 6’8 F Alex Murphy would join the squad this fall. Murphy is a graduate transfer who played at both Duke and Florida, and his skillset appears to fill the void left by Ford: a playmaking combo forward who can take charge. Murphy averaged 5.1 ppg in his last full season at Florida, but his experience could make him a valuable weapon in the CAA. Staying healthy is key for the 23-year-old; injuries have followed him throughout his star-crossed journey.

Aiding Murphy will be sophomore C Jeremy Miller, who earned a preseason All-CAA Honorable Mention nod last month. A high-profile recruit coming out of high school, Miller struggled at times as a freshman, but averaged 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds while shooting 37% from three-point land.

The knock on Miller, frankly, is his toughness in the interior. Too often, he was outmuscled for rebounds and looked lost on defense. For the 6’10 stretch five to capitalize on his tremendous potential, he’ll have to improve as an interior defender this season.

Point guard T.J. Williams (6.8 ppg, 2.7 apg) will be another key for Coen and the Huskies. When he’s on, Williams is a tremendous playmaker and slasher. Last year, injuries and off-court troubles kept Williams from making a huge impact, but there’s a need for a go-to scorer, and the Pflurgerville, Texas native has the skills to be one of the best floor generals in the conference.

Senior swingman Jimmy Marshall and junior G Devon Begley should be relied on heavily. Neither has seen a huge role to this point, and their development will say a lot about how the Huskies fair.

Coen will also need to rely on his second-year players to step up. G Donnell Gresham is a smooth shooter and nice off-the-ball guard next to Williams. The giant duo of Anthony Green and Sajon Ford (both 6’10 or above) didn’t see much time last year, but the graduation of Stahl and Quincy Ford means open minutes in the frontcourt.

A freshman might step into the fold, as Miller and Gresham did a year ago. Guards Bolden Brace, Maxime Boursiquot and Shawn Occeus will look to provide depth.

Bottom Line:

Coen will be tested this season. The Huskies struggled to get CAA wins last year with four seniors, and now the roster is even more inexperienced. There’s definitely some potential, especially if Murphy stays healthy and makes the impact he’s expected to. Miller and Williams will be key, and likely will determine how good Northeastern can be. Just don’t be surprised if the Huskies stay in the conference cellar.

CAA Preview: UNCW Seahawks

uncwCoach: Kevin Keatts (3rd season)

Last Season: 25-8 (T-1st, CAA Tournament champs)

Additions:

  • G Ambrose Mosley (Old Dominion/Jacksonville, Fla.)
  • F Matt Elmore (Dixon/Jacksonville, N.C.)
  • G Jaylen Fornes (Word of God/Pamlico County, N.C.)

Losses:

  • G Craig Ponder (11.4 ppg, 3.1 rpg)
  • C C.J. Gettys (5.3 ppg, 5.1 rpg)
  • F Dylan Sherwood (4.1 ppg, 2.3 rpg)
  • G Mark Matthews
  • G Trey Grundy

By: Matthew MacCormack

The voters made it clear when the CAA released its preseason media poll in late October; UNCW is the best team in the conference, and it might not be that close.

The Seahawks received 37 of the 40 first-place votes, and senior G/F Chris Flemmings was voted as the conference’s preseason Player of the Year. Head coach Kevin Keatts returns after back-to-back Coach of the Year designations. Three of his top four scorers are back from last year’s CAA champs, and the Seahawks look primed to take advantage of a conference that lacks another elite squad.

In his second season at the helm in Wilmington, Keatts steered the team to 25 wins, which tied a program record. After edging Hofstra in the conference championship, the Seahawks came close to busting brackets in the NCAA Tournament. Four-seeded Duke squeaked by the 13-seed with a 93-85 victory, but the game nonetheless served as Wilmington’s welcome to the rest of the college basketball world.

The up-tempo Seahawks offense took the conference by storm last year, leading the CAA with 80.2 points per game. Keatts frequently rolled out four-guard lineups, allowing the “space and pace” system to thrive.

Defensively, the ‘Hawks were just as impressive. UNCW led the conference in steals per game (with a whopping five players finishing with 30 or more thefts) and finished second in blocks per contest.

Flemmings was the key to UNCW’s defensive success. The 6’5 swingman is the CAA’s answer to Draymond Green; Flemmings can cover basically anyone in the conference, as evidenced by his shadowing of CAA Freshman of the Year Jarrell Brantley in UNCW’s win over Charleston in the conference tourney. This versatility allows Keatts to go small without sacrificing defense, and unlocks the activity and quick hands of the UNCW’s guards.

As evidenced by his preseason POY nod, Flemmings is one of the premier talents in the CAA. The smooth-shooting, gangly-armed wing led UNCW in scoring (16.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.8 rpg) while shooting 51% from the floor.

“Chris is what college basketball is all about,” Keatts said of Flemmings, who transferred from Division II Barton College.

“He’s a guy who didn’t get a lot of offers out of high school and he’s kind of worked his way up and earned his position.”

Joining Flemmings as returning starters are guards C.J Bryce, Denzel Ingram, Jordon Talley. The 6’5 Bryce earned All-CAA Rookie honors after averaging 10.1 points and 4.2 rebounds, showing intriguing potential all season long. Ingram isn’t the biggest guy out there (6’0, 175 lbs), but he led the Seahawks with 75 three-pointers at a 37.1% clip, and was second in scoring with 12.7 ppg.

Talley averaged 8.5 points a game, but is suspended indefinitely for conduct detrimental to the team. His absence hurts the Seahawks depth; look for Old Dominion graduate transfer Ambrose Mosely to step up in his place.

If there’s a chink in the Seahawk’s armor, it’s in the frontcourt. Seven-footer C.J Gettys transferred to Rutgers, and 6’9 captain Dylan Sherwood graduated. A group of less-experienced but capable bigs will have to emerge. Senior center Chuck Ogbodo is a defensive specialist, and junior Marcus Bryan brings a soft tough and intriguing post skill set. The X-Factor could be Devontae Cacock, a 6’7, 240-pound wrecking ball who just scratched his potential in limited minutes as a freshman.

Keatts has a track record as an excellent recruiter, dating back to his days as an assistant at Louisville with coach Rick Pitino. Don’t be surprised if a newbie steps up and plays a big role, just like Bryce did a season ago. Guard Jaylen Fornes has an opportunity with Talley’s suspension, and forward Matt Elmore will be able to compete for frontcourt minutes.

Bottom Line:

There’s a lot of unknowns in the CAA this year; parity reigns supreme and it’s hard to decipher which teams will emerge. If there’s one certainty, however, it’s that the Seahawks will be the premier team in the conference this year. Flemmings could easily win POY honors, and Keatts is one of college basketball’s rising coaches. It’s not a bold prediction, but the Seahawks should have no trouble running the CAA this year.

 

Husky Sports Update Week 9: 10/31-11/6

Men's hockey salvaged one point from a weekend series with No. 4 Boston University (Image Credit: Northeastern Athletics).
Men’s hockey salvaged one point from a weekend series with No. 4 Boston University (Image Credit: Northeastern Athletics).

By: Patrick Milne

Men’s Hockey

Over the weekend, the men’s hockey team had two highly anticipated showdowns against their cross-town rivals, the Boston University Terriers. BU came into the weekend ranked No. 4 in the nation, after beating Sacred Heart 7-0 and Quinnipiac 3-0. However, the injured Huskies, missing both John and Nolan Stevens, came into Friday’s game hungry and ready to fight for the win.

November 4 – The first game at Mathew’s Arena lived up to all expectations. It was a heated, physical, and back and forth battle throughout the whole game. After two periods, the Huskies were down 2-1, but got an early power play goal to start the third thanks to an absolute snipe by Adam Gaudette over the blocker of BU goaltender Jake Oettinger. The Terriers retook the lead a few minutes later, but the resilient huskies refused to go away and quickly tied it back up. Then again, after a power play goal by BU, Zach Aston-Reese redeemed himself for taking the penalty that lead to BU’s goal, by tying it up with under a minute left. After a scoreless overtime period both teams walked away with a tie and looked to finish what they started in the game the following night at Agganis Arena.

November 5 – However, the Northeastern Huskies were unable to find the back of the net on Saturday night, despite putting 27 shots on goal, and ultimately lost 3-0 to the Terriers.

Next weekend, the Huskies (3-3-3) have two home games against number 9 ranked Notre Dame (4-3-1).

Women’s Hockey

The Women’s Hockey team had a successful weekend, winning both their game against Maine and Providence and advancing their record to (8-3-1).

November 5 – In their Saturday victory over Maine, the Huskies scored the first three goals. The Black Bears then made a late comeback attempt, but the Huskies were able to hang on for a 3-2 win.

November 6 – The Huskies had another close game with conference foes Providence on Sunday. In an unorthodox fashion, Northeastern scored their two goals short-handed on the same penalty kill in the first period. The Friars then scored a short-handed goal of their own a few minutes later. The rest of the game was scoreless, resulting in a 2-1 win for the Huskies.

The Women’s hockey team looks to continue their win streak next weekend with two games against Merrimack.

Men’s Soccer

November 1 – The Northeastern Men’s Soccer team had a disappointing week after losing 2-0 to Dartmouth, bringing a close to their season. Northeastern had 6 of their 16 shots on target, but were unable to beat the Dartmouth keeper. The loss brings Northeastern record to 6-11 to end their season. The Huskies will look to build on their experience from this season when they return next fall with many of the same players, only graduating three seniors.

Women’s Soccer

The Northeastern Women’s Soccer team had an exciting weekend, winning the CAA Championship for the third time in four years!

November 4 – On Friday, Northeastern beat number 5 William and Marry in the CAA Championship Semifinals. The top-seeded Huskies dominated a very good William and Marry team, getting goals from Hannah Rosenblatt and Valentina Soares Gache off of corner kicks, as well as a nice header from Eve Goulet, while shutting out William and Mary thanks to some great defense from senior Jenny Sinclair and the rest of the back line, as well as stellar goalkeeping by Natalie Nidetch.

November 5 – Northeastern’s offensive and defensive domination continued into the championship game on Sunday, against second seeded Drexel, winning again 3-0. Hannah Rosenblatt opened the scoring for the Huskies, followed by goals from Nicole Gorman and Carina Deandreis.  

Northeastern will continue their season when they compete for the NCAA championship. They will learn whom they are playing in the first round during the NCAA Selection Show on November 7 at 4:30 p.m.

Women’s Swimming and Diving

November 4/5 – The Northeastern swimming and diving team had a tri-meet against George Mason and Towson on Friday and Saturday. The women brought their A game to the pool, beating both the Patriots and the Tigers.

With an impressive record of 4-1 the Huskies look to continue their winning streak on November 18th at the Frank Elm Invitational against Rutgers.

Women’s Volleyball

November 4/5 –Northeastern’s Volleyball had a rough weekend losing a hard fought match against Delaware 3-2 on Friday. The Huskies then lost 3-1 on Saturday to a tough Towson team.

The Huskies (20-9) have their last regular season game at Elon on November 13th.

CAA Preview: Hofstra Pride

hofstra

Coach: Joe Mihalich (4th Year)

Last Season: 24-10 (14-4, 1st in CAA)

Additions:

  • G Deron Powers (Hampton/Williamsburg, VA)
  • G Elijah Pemberton (Cheshire Academy/Middletown, CT)
  • F Ty Greer (Daytona State/ Chicago, IL)
  • F Stafford Trueheart II (Canisius HS/Lancaster, NY)

Losses:

  • G Juan’ya Green  (17.8 ppg, 7.1 apg, 4.4 rpg, CAA Player of the Year)
  • G Ameen Tanksley (15.9 ppg, 5.2 rpg)
  • F Denton Koon (11.4 ppg, 6.6 rpg)

By: Kyle Williams

Picked to win the conference and represent the CAA in the tournament, Hofstra made it all the way to the final before losing a heartbreaker in overtime to UNCW. Still, by many measures they had a fantastic season. They won 24 games, including wins over Florida State and St. Bonaventure. They tied for first in the CAA during the regular season, and got invited to the NIT. They averaged almost 80 points per game while running a fun, up-tempo offense that featured two of the more dynamic guards in mid major basketball in Juan’ya Green and Ameen Tanksley. And beyond all that, they were just a really fun team to watch.

This season, Hofstra is a prime candidate to regress: losing the reigning conference player of the year will do that to you. Both Green and Tanksley were huge parts of this team, representing their two leading scorers, two of their three leading three-point shooters, and their leading assist man in Green. Beyond that, this offense ran on the ability of those two to get to the rim and either finish, find open shooters, or draw fouls (Green alone took 240(!) free throws). Another loss is Denton Koon, a key role player who averaged 11-6 and could knock down outside shots (35% from deep last year). All together, these three represent a large chunk of Hofstra’s offensive production that will have to be replaced.

The good news for the Pride is that they have some talented recruits coming to help shore up the ranks. Deron Powers is eligible to play this year after transferring from Hampton after the 2014-2015 season; he average 10 points and 4 assists in his last season there. He should be able to come in right away and be effective in Mihalich’s system. Also joining the team are freshmen Eli Pemberton and Stafford Trueheart II. Pemberton is a 6’4 combo guard who can finish at the rim and has some ups. He has a little bit of a jump shot, but he’ll have to hit it consistently to find a bigger role in this offense. Stafford Trueheart II is a 6’6 PF who averaged a 20-10 with 3 blocks while leading Canisius HS to a state championship; he looks like more of a SF at the college level, but he has good touch around the rim and some range, and could eventually fill the opening left by Koon. Hofstra is also bringing in Ty Greer, a JUCO transfer who has one of the better stories in college basketball, hitting a game winning three pointer days after being shot in the leg.

Joining the new recruits are returning starters Rokas Gustys and Brian Bernardi. If I had less self-control, this preview would have just been ROKAS GUSTYS typed over and over again like I was Jack Nicholson in The Shining. Gustys is a monster, a double-double machine who averaged a 13-13 with a block per game, and had multiple 20-20 games last year. He’s big (6’9, 260 lbs), but athletic enough to run the floor, and has a soft touch around the rim. While the new guards are getting used to Mihalich’s system, expect the Hofstra offense to be centered around Gustys. Bernardi is another reliable senior that the team will rely on; he was third in the conference last year in three-point shooting, and provides a nice target on the wings for kick-outs.

Bottom Line: Expectations will be lower for the Pride this year, given what they lost. However, this has the makings of a good team, starting with Gustys, Powers, and Bernardi. There will be growing pains with the freshman, and they won’t be a 1st place team again. But, this is a Joe Mihalich team; they’re going to run, they’re going to score points, and they’re going to give the other CAA teams trouble every night. The conference is in a bit of a talent dearth right now, and Hofstra will ride a POY-caliber season from Gustys to a 4th place finish.

Three second period goals leads No. 4 BU to shutout of Northeastern

Hear what Coach Madigan had to say after the Huskies (3-3-3, 0-2-1) fell to No. 4 Boston University 3-0 on Saturday evening. Northeastern will be back in action on Saturday, November 12 when they begin a two-game homestand against No. 9 Notre Dame. WRBB will have coverage of both games with pregame beginning at 6:45 p.m. on Saturday and 2:45 p.m. on Sunday.

 

Huskies rally late to force tie against No. 4 Boston University

By: Dan McLoone

The Northeastern hockey team fought for a hard-earned point in Hockey East play on Friday night, skating to a 4-4 tie with Boston University. Without their top two scoring options in John and Nolan Stevens, the Huskies clawed their way back from a one-goal deficit on three separate occasions, culminating in Zach Aston-Reese’s goal with under a minute to play to force overtime.

“I told our kids I liked our effort,” said head coach Jim Madigan. “I thought we were resilient and we worked hard particularly through that third period battling back. They’re a good hockey club.”

Northeastern drew first blood, as Garret Cockerill punched home a shot from the slot during a 5-on-3 power play seven minutes into the game. The Terriers got it right back just 17 seconds later, as Clayton Keller pounced on an errant pass from Eric Williams and beat netminder Ryan Ruck one-on-one to tie the game up with a shorthanded goal.

BU took a 2-1 lead with 2:38 left in the first period, scooping up the rebound from a shot that Ruck couldn’t cover up. Cycling the puck back to the blue line, the Terriers fired a shot from the blue line that freshman Patrick Curry tipped home for his first collegiate goal.

The Huskies came out firing after a scoreless second period as Adam Gaudette netted his sixth goal of the year, firing a shot over Jake Oettinger’s right shoulder on the power play to tie the game up at two just 2:22 into the third period. The teams exchanged opportunities until Jordan Greenway managed to tip home a Dante Fabbro shot to give the Terriers a 3-2 lead with 11 minutes left to go. Greenway was called for a 10-minute misconduct for unsportsmanlike conduct while celebrating the goal and wound up spending all but the last minute of the game in the penalty box, matching the 10-minute misconduct that Aston-Reese took earlier in the period. Aston-Reese was just one of the nine penalties that the Huskies took on the night.

“We didn’t play smart enough out here tonight and it took away some momentum for us,” said Madigan. “We’re already short a couple of key players on the team, so when some of our top players are sitting in the box it only further complicates things for us.”

Once again, the Huskies stormed back, as Dylan Sikura potted his third goal of the season, beating Oettinger top left once again to tie the game at three with 7:45 left to play. The Terriers reclaimed the lead with 4:16 to go, as Keller netted a power play goal for his second tally of the day.

With time winding down and the Huskies scrambling for the tying goal, Madigan pulled Ruck. With an extra skater and an empty net, the Huskies were able to control the puck in their offensive zone for some great looks. The eventually broke through with 55 seconds to go, as Aston-Reese atoned for his the 12 minutes that he spent in the penalty box during the period by sneaking one past Oettinger to send the game into overtime.

“We knew it was going to be a battle the whole game,” said Gaudette. “We fell behind but we didn’t get discouraged. We just stuck to our game plan, we just kept battling and grinding it out. We knew we had to get pucks deep and get pucks on net and that’s what we did and it ended up working out, battling back.”

The Huskies controlled the pace of play in overtime. Ruck didn’t have to make a save, while Northeastern’s attack drew a penalty and fired five shots on Oettinger during the extra five minutes. The freshman netminder stood tall to preserve the tie.

“It was a point,” said Madigan. “I’m sure BU is looking at it the same way. There’s an opportunity for one of us to get a three point weekend and that’s how we’re approaching going into tomorrow night.”

Northeastern and Boston University will square off again on Saturday night at Agganis Arena, with puck drop slated for 7 p.m. Full coverage of the game will be provided by WRBB.