Take a listen back to last week’s show as Ryan, Craig, and Josh broke down the rough matchup with UNH and the weekend set with Merrimack.
BOSTON – After a rough set of games versus New Hampshire last weekend, the Northeastern Huskies hockey team responded in a big way this weekend. The Huskies pulled in four points against a struggling Merrimack Warriors squad. It was Northeastern’s first four point weekend since sweeping Vermont in Burlington in January of 2012. It was also the Huskies’ first conference win at home since defeating Boston College on October 13th, 2012.
On Friday, the Huskies traveled to North Andover to faceoff with the Warriors at Lawler Arena. Despite being outshot in the first period 9 to 3, Northeastern made its shots count and went into the first intermission with a 2-0 lead. Mike Szmatula jammed in a loose puck from the crease for the first score, while Dalen Hedges converted on a shot from the left-hand circle on a breakaway with linemate Cody Ferriero. Merrimack responded in the second period, cutting the Husky lead in half with a power play goal courtesy of Vinny Scotti. The score would remain 2-1 through the end of the second period.
In need of a knockout punch, Northeastern answered the call and played its best hockey for the majority of the third period. Kevin Roy netted an extra attacker goal for the Huskies early on in the period, picking the high, blocker-side corner with a perfect snipe from above the circles. About three minutes later, Dalen Hedges converted on another odd-man rush, posting his second score of the night and making it 4-1 Northeastern. Merrimack would score another power play goal on a backhanded shot from Quinn Gould that caught Clay Witt out of position, drawing the Warriors within 4-2 with almost 9 minutes to go. However, with about 5 minutes left, Merrimack goaltender Sam Marotta wasn’t quite able to stop Kevin Roy’s shot from the left faceoff circle. It trickled through Marotta’s pads, giving Roy his 11th goal of the season and finishing off the 5-2 NU win.
On Saturday at Matthews Arena, the Huskies again jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. The first goal came on Torin Snydeman’s redirection of Colton Saucerman’s shot from the point at 10:28 gone. The second goal came nearly 5 minutes later, when Zach Aston-Reese cleaned up a rebound in front of Merrimack goalie Rasmus Tirronen while on the power play. From there on, Northeastern stonewalled the Warriors and finished for a 2-0 win. The impressive defensive performance, NU’s first shutout since opening night against Alabama-Huntsville, was largely because of the play of Clay Witt.
Despite a soft goal allowed to Gould on Friday, Clay Witt had a remarkable weekend. Witt stopped 69 of 7 1 shots over both games. He posted his first career shutout with 38 saves on Saturday, including a incredible post-to-post diving effort, knocking a Kyle Singleton shot out of the air. Perhaps most impressive was that Witt accomplished this despite 15 Merrimack power plays over the weekend. Witt held the Warriors to just 2 of 15 on the power play and did not allow a goal in 5-on-5 play.
Dalen Hedges had a huge weekend for the Huskies as well, posting 2 goals and 2 assists. In addition, he went 23-of-27 in the faceoff circle, including a 14 of 15 showing on Saturday.
The penalty issue cropped up again for the Huskies this weekend. They committed 17 over the two games after committing just 23 penalties total in their previous 5 games. Northeastern was fortunate that Merrimack’s power play ranked 10th in Hockey East, at 11.5%, coming into this weekend. Even so, the Warriors made the Huskies pay twice and stayed in the game far later than they should have on Friday. Northeastern will have to continue to improve in this area, as a stronger opposing power play may have completely changed this weekend’s results.
Next up for NU: The Huskies will take a break from league play this weekend as they travel to South Bend, Indiana to participate in the Shillelagh Tournament hosted by Notre Dame. They’ll take on Western Michigan at 4PM on Friday evening. We’ll have you covered here at WRBB, with Craig White and Ryan Fallon on the call. Northeastern will then play either Alabama-Huntsville or Notre Dame on Saturday, depending on the results of Friday’s games.
By Josh Brown
With the first CAA Championship in program history on the line, the second seeded Northeastern Huskies fell short to No. 1 seed College of Charleston Sunday afternoon in the championship game of the 2013 CAA tournament. The Huskies, who lost the match 3-1, would of made their second NCAA tournament appearance in school history (2001) with a win.
Despite an unfavorable outcome, it is still a season to remember for Northeastern, who end the season with a 19-11 record, their 8th winning season in a row.
After beating No. 3 seed UNCW 3-0 in the semifinals on Saturday, Northeastern fought hard against the perennial Cougars, a team they split their season series with 1-1 with each team picking up their respective win on the road.
College of Charleston got on the board first winning the first set 27-25, a set that featured 15 ties and 7 lead changes. Northeastern jumped out to a quick 4-1 lead but the Cougars, behind Sloane White, were ultimately able to outlast the Huskies in extra points.
The Cougars extended their lead to 2-0 heading into the locker room for intermission. In a set mostly controlled by Northeastern, College of Charleston was able to just pull away at the end after big plays by Darcy Dorton and Cara Howley.
However, Northeastern would not go down easy. The Huskies took set 3 by a score of 25-19 headlined by huge plays from Kelly Bacon and Jamie Bredahl down the stretch. Libero Natalia Skiba provided crucial defense for Northeastern in the set.
It just was not meant to be for the Huskies, who dropped the fourth set 25-23. With the win the Cougars will be heading to the NCAA tournament for the 2nd year in a row.
Kelly Bacon finished the match with 20 kills and 16 digs. Bredahl added 13 kills along with 6 digs. Nichole Kurz had one of her best games of the season tallying 12 kills of her own. Skiba finished the game with 19 digs.
The Huskies will graduate 7 seniors; Kelly Bacon, Hanna Gibeau, Janelle Tucker, Ina Kamenova, Nichole Kurz, Kat Gueth and Brianna Hollis.
Five Huskies won prestigious awards at the annual CAA banquet this year hosted in Charleston, South Carolina before the CAA tournament.
Last year’s CAA player of the year Kelly Bacon walked away with All-CAA First Team honors for the second time in her outstanding Northeastern career. Bacon, who has been the clear-cut leader of the team, will go down as one of the best to ever play at Northeastern.
Freshman sensation Jamie Bredahl became the third Husky in the last 4 years to win CAA Rookie of the Year after a breakout freshman season in which she did not miss a set all season. Bredahl also took home All-CAA Second Team honors as well as being named on the All-Rookie Team.
Junior Libero Natalia Skiba was named the CAA Defensive Specialist of the Year. Skiba, who also won this award in 2011 as a freshman, played in all 115 sets for Northeastern during the regular season, racking up a league leading 648 digs. One of the best Libero’s in all of Division 1 volleyball, she also earned a spot on the All-CAA Second Team.
Senior Ina Kamenova was named to the All-CAA Third Team, after having one of her best seasons at Northeastern. The Bulgaria native picked up a bigger role with each season including becoming one of Northeastern’s best servers this year.
Freshman Ashlee Asada was named to the All-Academic Team.
Northeastern, who will now begin preparing for next season, will once again come into the season ranked among one of the best teams in the conference and will look to make a run at their first CAA crown.
By Zolan Kanno-Youngs
The Northeastern front court continued to impress spectators in San Juan on Friday in the Huskies 86-77 loss to the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in the semifinal round of the Puerto Rico Tip-off.
Junior Reggie Spencer record 11 points and 12 rebounds and redshirt junior Scott Eatherton notched his second straight double double with a game-leading 22 points and 11 rebounds.
“We try to get it down low a lot to me and Reggie and when we get the ball down there were supposed to score and rebounding is just a given,” Eatherton said. That’s what were down there for and I just try to get as many rebounds as I can.”
However, the dominating play could not overcome a team performance from the charity stripe which left something to be desired. The Huskies shot just 18-30 from the line.
“The story of the second half is we just left too many points on the free-throw line,” coach Bill Coen said. “We had a number of empty trips and allowed them to get separation again and at that point, I think we were just a little too tired to make another run.”
The Huskies did, however, come out of the half on fire for their second straight game of a back-to-back. With Charlotte leading 43-34, Over the first eight minutes of the second half, Northeastern went on a 17-8 run, 12 of those points coming from the combined scoring of junior guard Demetrius Pollard and freshman guard T.J. Williams.
After fouling out against Georgetown, Pollard played well with 14 points on five of 13 shooting and Williams had 12 points and two assists in his first career start. Junior forward Quincy Ford was still out of action due to a back injury.
“I know [Quincy’s] really disappointed that he can’t help the team right now but injuries are part of the game,” Coen said. “While I feel badly for Quincy it’s also an opportunity for guys on our bench and just have to step up to the challenge. So far I think our guys have risen to the occasion.”
The 49ers rose to the occasion with eight minutes left in the game and the score tied 58-58. Charlotte went on a 13-4 run over 5 minutes to take a 71-62 lead. Coach Alan Major’s team didn’t give the Huskies a chance for a late run as they connected on 15-18 of their free throws in the final two minutes of the game.
Sophomore guard Shawn Lester led the way in scoring for Charlotte with 20 points. Senior guard Ben Cherry also shot the lights-out with 18 points, including six of seven shooting from behind the arc.
The Huskies next game will be at Virginia Commonwealth University on Nov. 29 at 7 p.m
Zolan Kanno-Youngs is the Huntington News beat writer and a WRBB commentator for Northeastern basketball. Follow him @KannoYoungs.