Hockey East This Week 2/20

February 21st, 2014

Ryan and Joe recap last week’s game in Amherst and prep for the biggest series of the season this weekend against Maine.

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Ryan Fallon Hockey

Quickcast: Men’s hockey downs UMass 5-4

February 16th, 2014

Apologies for the poor audio quality.

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Ryan Fallon The Dog Pound

Men’s hockey holds on, beats UMass 5-4

February 16th, 2014

By Josh Brown

Despite three, late third period UMass-Amherst (8-19-4) goals, the Northeastern Huskies (17-10-3) were able to outlast the Minutemen 5-4, to claim fourth place in Hockey East at the end of the weekend. The 17th win on the season for Northeastern is its highest win total since the 2008-2009 season.

The Huskies struck first, getting on the board at 14:53 of the first period on a Kevin Roy goal, after a little back and forth passing between Roy and Mike Szmatula led to the puck sailing over the glove side of Minutemen goalie Steve Mastalerz, to give the Huskies the early lead.

Despite the 1-0 lead, and only being out shot 11-10 in the first period, the consensus was that Northeastern was being outplayed by UMass, who displayed an array of finesse and physical play in the first 20. Also in the first period, Huskies freshman Dalen Hedges suffered an undisclosed injury, and did not return to the game in what was the first of an injury filled night for Northeastern.

At 3:43 in the second period Northeastern extended their lead to 2-0 on Adam Reid’s 6th goal of the season, moments after Clay Witt made what could be considered the save of the night, diving to stop a UMass shot to keep the lead for Huskies.

UMass answered late in the second period on Ben Gallacher’s first goal of the season, before being promptly matched two minutes later on a Ryan Belonger goal assisted by Kevin Roy, making the score 3-1 Northeastern at the end of the second.

The action really started to pick up in the third as at just 1:53 in the period Tanner Pond found the back of the net after tipping a Zach Aston-Reese shot by the blocker of Mastalerz. Less than three minutes later Aston-Reese got on the scoreboard himself on a breakaway to give the Huskies what seemed like an insurmountable 5-1 lead.

The Minutemen wouldn’t roll over as just 10 seconds later Michael Pereira got his 10th goal of the season shorthanded to cut the lead to 5-2. Still playing shorthanded, captain Conor Sheary also snuck one past Clay Witt to get UMass within two.

Still chipping away, midway through the period Zack LaRue cut the lead to one, scoring on a tip from a Colin Shea shot which was set up by Ray Pigozzi.

That would be as close as the Minutemen would get though, as Northeastern was able to close out UMass and take the 5-4 victory behind 32 saves by Clay Witt. That total is the third straight game for Witt where he has made more than 30 saves.

Northeastern finished the game with only three defensemen after two injuries, most notable Josh Manson, as well as a Mike Gunn 10-minute misconduct with 4:45 left to play in the game.

Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan was happy to escape Amherst with two points, after what was almost a drastic collapse by the Huskies.

“I like the resiliency that we showed, I liked the way we continued to battle all the way through,” Madigan continued, “obviously I don’t like giving up a four goal lead and holding on, but we’ll take the two points…”

The Huskies will now look ahead to a huge two game home stand against Maine on Friday and Saturday, with four crucial Hockey East points at stake for both the third place Black Bears and the fourth place Huskies.

Ryan Fallon Hockey

Men’s hockey drops Beanpot heartbreaker

February 11th, 2014

By Josh Brown

Close but just short.

That was the case for the #12 Northeastern Huskies (16-10-3) Monday night in the Beanpot Championship as they fell 4-1 to the #1 ranked Boston College Eagles (22-4-3), in what could arguably be called Northeastern’s best executed game of the season. The win is Boston College’s 5th consecutive Beanpot title, and the second straight against the Huskies.

Northeastern came out strong in the first period out-shooting the Eagles 16-11 behind a relentless offensive attack and strong defense across the board for the Huskies.Despite this, Boston College scored the lone goal of the first period on Kevin Hayes 21st goal of the season assisted by Bill Arnold and Johnny Gaudreau.

In a reversal of fortune in the second period the Eagles out-shot the Huskies 14-8 but Northeastern scored the only goal of that period on John Stevens’ 6th of the season assisted by Kevin Roy. The Northeastern defense was able to block 12 shots in the second period alone, which helped take the ease off Clay Witt, who once again was his team’s backbone all game long.

Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan was confident where his team was at, after heading into the locker room tied after two periods.

“I like the way our team played, [they] competed hard. They battled for the whole game and through two periods I liked where we were,” Madigan continued, “If you can be 1-1 or up a goal or down a goal going into the third period, you’ve got a chance to win. I just liked where we were going into that third period.”

Despite the consensus that Northeastern outplayed the Eagles in the first two periods, the tide changed in the third with the Eagles out-shooting Northeastern 16-6, and scoring three goals to seal the game.

The first one came at 14:30 of the period on a Patrick Brown tip off of a Isaac MacLeod shot that just right by the shoulder of Clay Witt. Johnny Gaudreau gave the Eagles a two goal lead at 18:44 of the period on an empty-net goal, followed by another Patrick Brown goal with the 50 seconds left in the period that got over the glove of Witt.

Witt ended the night with 37 saves on 40 shots, and ended the Beanpot saving a combined 64 of 67 shots he faced.

Coach Madigan talked about Witt’s performance, and how he kept this Huskies team in the game all game long.

“I thought he played fabulous. I thought both goalies played really well tonight and Clay gave us a chance to win,” Madigan added, “It’s 1-1 after two periods and their goalie makes a great save to keep it out of the net… and Clay makes a few good saves there and he just couldn’t get the tip. It was well placed and he just couldn’t get it. But he was really good. He’s given us a chance to win all year long.”

Kevin Hayes took home Beanpot MVP honors as Eagles freshman goalie Thatcher Demko got the Eberly Award, given to the goalie who accumulates the highest save percentage in the tournament.

The season is still by far not over for the Huskies, who have Hockey East Championship and NCAA Tournament goals in mind. The Huskies will travel to Amherst to try and get revenge on Massachusetts who beat them 3-0 Friday night.

Ryan Fallon Hockey

Men’s hockey falls flat, loses to UMass 3-0

February 8th, 2014

By Josh Brown

In Hockey East only one thing is certain. Anybody can win on any given night.

That was certainly the case Friday night as the Umass-Amherst Minutemen (8-16-4) defeated the Northeastern Huskies (16-9-3) 3-0 in convincing fashion on a night where they out-shot the Huskies 48-27.

“It’s fun when you feel good about the process, and when the end result matches how you feel about the 60 minutes prior to it,” Minutemen Head Coach John Micheletto said after the win.

Despite getting 17 shots on Northeastern goaltender Clay Witt in the first period as opposed to the 5 the Huskies were able to get on Minutemen net-minder Steve Mastalerz, neither team put a puck in the back of the net, as the teams headed into the locker room deadlocked at 0-0. The Huskies got two opportunities on the power play but were not able to get a shot on net in that span.

The second period was all Minutemen from the get go as they out-shot the Huskies 22-8 in a frame which featured goals from freshman Marc Hetnik and senior captain Conor Sheary.

Hetniks’ goal, the first of his collegiate career, came at 1:33 in the period on a helper from Zach LaRue and Steve Mastalerz. Sheary capitalized on a Northeastern turnover when he received a pass from Adam Phillips to score the shorthanded goal.

“It felt great,” Hetniks’ said of the goal, “It’s always good to get the first one out of the way.”

In the third period Northeastern played with a little hop in their step, out-shooting Umass 14-9, but the only goal of the period was an empty-net game sealing goal by Branden Gracel to end any hopes of a comeback by the Huskies.

“Umass was a much better team than we were,” Huskies Head Coach Jim Madigan stated, “They were a lot faster, they thought the game faster, we didn’t respond, they wanted it more, we didn’t play with a sense of urgency. There was two big points at stake here and we didn’t respond.”

When asked why Northeastern could not keep up with the speed of Umass, Madigan could not seem to find an answer.

“That’s a great question,” Madigan continued, “It’s all over our board. I’ll line you up 21 players you can ask them, I have no idea. We talked about it all week long.”

The loss for Northeastern comes after a first round 6-0 Beanpot victory over Harvard. The Huskies will face Boston College in the championship game Monday at 7:30 p.m. at the TD Garden.

Ryan Fallon The Dog Pound

Quickcast: Men’s hockey shuts out Harvard 6-0 in the Beanpot semifinal

February 5th, 2014

Men’s hockey downs Harvard 6-0, moves on to face BC for Beanpot title

February 4th, 2014

By Josh Brown

For the third time in four years the Northeastern Huskies will play in the Beanpot Championship game. The Huskies defeated Harvard 6-0 in the Semifinals Monday night at the TD Garden. The win was Northeastern’s largest margin of victory in a Beanpot game since beating Boston College 6-1 in 2009. Six different Huskies scored in the winning effort. The Huskies will face Boston College in the championship game, who defeated Boston University 3-1 in the 8:00 game.

Northeastern got on the board quickly, only 5:57 into the game, on a Dalen Hedges unassisted goal. 6 minutes and 11 seconds later Kevin Roy got in on the action, scoring his 6th career Beanpot goal assisted by John Stevens and Hedges.

It was a penalty ridden first period for the teams who combined for 9 penalties for 31 minutes, including a Josh Manson game misconduct for contact to the head. In what was a change of pace for the usually out-shot Huskies, Northeastern was able to get 15 shots on Raphael Girard as opposed to the 8 Harvard got on Clay Witt.

31 seconds into the third period, Northeastern extended their lead to 3-0 on a Torin Snydeman goal assisted by Mike Szmatula. 3:51 later Szmatula got another helper, this time feeding the puck to Braden Pimm. Colton Saucerman also got an assist on the goal.

The second period featured much of the same penalty wise with the team’s combining for 18 penalty minutes in the frame, with the Huskies raking up 4 penalties in that span.

In what seemed to be a theme on the night, Northeastern scored early in the third on a Colton Saucerman goal, assisted by John Stevens and Kevin Roy to give the Huskies a 5-0 edge. With time running out, and Northeastern’s win all but sealed Mike Szmatula picked up his third point on the night with his 8th goal of the season, to send the Huskies faithful home with Beanpot fever once again.

Clay Witt ended the night with 27 saves, in what was Northeastern’s first Beanpot shutout since 2011 vs Harvard. 76 total minutes were amassed between the two teams in the contest.

Coach Madigan sees a different Northeastern team as opposed to the Huskies who lost 6-3 to Boston College last year.

“This is a different team than last year…there’s an infusion of young, energized men out there,” Madigan stated.

Madigan’s freshman class chipped in with 2 goals and 6 assists, on what was yet another impressive effort by the Beanpot newcomers.

Szmatula was in awe to be playing in the tournament he has watched all throughout childhood.

“Growing up, I always watched it on TV…tonight we just wanted to give ourselves an opportunity to play in the finals,” Szmatula said.

When it comes to the Beanpot championship game Madigan emphasized the importance of goaltending, special teams and playing disciplined hockey. The Huskies will face Umass-Amherst Friday night at Matthews Arena before taking on the Eagles for the trophy.

Ryan Fallon Hockey

Huskies Split Weekend Series with Notre Dame in South Bend

January 29th, 2014

By Josh Brown

The 10th ranked Northeastern Huskies walked in to the Compton Family Ice Arena last weekend with a 4-0 record in that very building spanning back to the 2011-2012 season with three of those wins coming against Notre Dame (the fourth was against Western Michigan, who Northeastern beat in a shootout in the first round of the Shillelagh Tournament). The Irish who have amassed a 39-18-1 record at home the past three seasons, would pick up that much garnered for win against the Huskies on Saturday night 3-0, only after Northeastern was able to continue their success in the Hoosier State with a 4-0 win of their own on Friday.

The scoring started early for the Huskies, a change of pace from the Vermont series which saw a stalemate until late into the second period both games. Adam Reid got Northeastern on the board at 5:46 in the first period on an unassisted goal, his fourth of the season. Reid wasted no time getting goal number five 2:13 later on a goal assisted by Dalen Hedges and Mike McMurtry.

Despite being outshot 11-4 in the period, Northeastern went into the locker room with the 2-0 lead after one. Coach Jim Madigan was not only happy with Reid’s first period performance, but that of the third line as a whole.

“I liked the way that line played. They had a good game the other night. They are possessing pucks down low, they just needed to get a little luck around the net,” Madigan continued, “[Dalen] Hedges made two real good passes there [Mike] McMurty’s got a good stick…Adam [Reid] is more of the power forward on that line and you saw two really nice shots to get us going.”

Northeastern was able to pick up right where they left off in the second period, on a Mike Szmatula power play goal at 1:44 in the period assisted by John Stevens and Kevin Roy. Later in the period the Huskies would tack on one more, as McMurtry would pick up his fifth goal of the season with help from Dalen Hedges and Adam Reid, who had his first three point game of his Huskies career.

Despite two trips on the power play by each team in the third period, the 4-0 lead stuck giving the Huskies a well deserved two points, on a night where Clay Witt faced 30 shots, as opposed to the 14 the Huskies managed to get on Notre Dame goalies Steven Summerhays and Chad Katunar.

Madigan talked about why his team plays so well in front of the Irish faithful.

“Every time we’ve come up here it’s been for two games. We’ve been able to get away as a team, settle into an environment, we’re at the hotel and the guys are together, we’re hanging out together, we’ve got meetings…” Madigan adds, “so it’s nice when you get away as a team…and more than anything they’re a top team.”

Saturday would not bode as well for Northeastern, with the Irish salvaging two much needed conference points.

Notre Dame this time would be able to get on the board early thanks to a Vince Hinostroza goal assisted by Mario Lucia and Peter Schneider. Insurance was added at the 10:17 mark of the period on the power play, when Lucia was able to get his second point of the night with the goal assisted by Hinostroza and Austin Wuthrich.

Regular strength and the power play were not the only two ways the Irish would score on this night, as they added a short-handed goal by Schneider set up by Jeff Costello and Kevin Lind.

That proved to be all the Irish needed, as they were able to close out the 3-0 win. Despite the loss Madigan was able to draw some positives from the game.

“Obviously disappointed with not picking up two points tonight, but I liked the way our guys played.” Madigan said, “They played hard, they competed, we played hard to the end, we didn’t get any puck luck tonight.”

“We were around the net we had some good chances and we couldn’t find the net…but I liked the way we played right until the end of the game. It’s a mentality we’ve been trying to work with and our guys showed it tonight.”

Northeastern lays in second place in Hockey East at 8-5-1 in the conference, two points ahead of third place Providence. For the Huskies now, it’s all about the Beanpot, where they will face the Crimson of Harvard in the first round Monday at 5:00.

Ryan Fallon Hockey

Men’s hockey splits a pair with Vermont – but grabs 2 Hockey East points

January 21st, 2014

By Joe Nolan

Northeastern split the weekend series with UVM, winning Friday night 3 – 2, but losing Saturday 4 – 1. However, NU still managed to gain ground in Hockey East because only Friday’s contest counted for in-conference standings.

Northeastern stole the first game despite being outplayed for much of the game, and only managed 19 shots on goal to Vermont’s 48. This has become a perplexing trend for the Huskies, masked largely by Clay Witt’s consistent excellence, whose .943 save percentage ranks second in Hockey East.

Vermont was in control for most of the first two periods, but NU took advantage of a 5 on 3 opportunity to score with only 35 seconds remaining before intermission. Braden Pimm beat sophomore goaltender Brody Hoffman for his team leading 15th goal this season, chipping in a smooth centering pass from Mike Szmatula. Then, early in the third period, Matt Benning made it a two goal lead. He collected a pass from Ryan Belonger in the high slot, patiently skated around a diving defender, and found an open corner from close range.

When Zach Aston-Reese put the Huskies up 3 – 0 with five minutes remaining, the game seemed like was finished. However, with Torin Syndeman called for a major penalty and Hoffman on the bench, Chris McCarthy and Mario Puskarich made things interesting with goals at 18:29 and 19:10, respectively.

Saturday night’s contest followed a similar script through the first two frames. At 17:31 of the second, Mike Gunn blasted a shot from the blue line that was tipped in by Dalen Hedges for his 7th of the season. Unfortunately it was Vermont who then scored to start the third, when McCarthy picked off a Josh Manson pass and dished to Puskarich on the doorstep. Less than two minutes later, Tom Forgione carried the puck up ice for an odd man rush and ended up finishing with a shot that beat Witt glove-side high. It was the eventual game winner, though McCarthy earned a power play tally and later an empty net goal to finish the scoring.

The Huskies have won 4 of their last 5, but none of those wins have come easily and at times the team has appeared to struggle with bad habits. The squad faces another challenge this weekend, when they travel to South Bend, Indiana, for two games at Notre Dame.

Ryan Fallon Hockey