Huskies lose heart-breaker at Drexel, 68-67

by Matthew MacCormack

PHILADELPHIA — In a thrilling back-and-forth affair, Drexel’s Tramaine Isabell hit a free throw with one second remaining to lift the Dragons over Northeastern, 68-67, on Saturday afternoon at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

The Dragons scored the game’s final seven points after a Tomas Murphy bucket helped Northeastern (14-8, 7-3 CAA) build a 67-61 lead with 2:20 remaining. Drexel (9-14, 3-7) earned their second straight victory, led by 20 points from Isabell and a 13-point, 11-rebound, 6-block performance from big man Austin Williams.

Husky point guard Vasa Pusica finished with 20 points and seven assists. Murphy chipped in 16 points on seven of 10 shooting, and Shawn Occeus (7 pts, 5 steals) was tremendous in limiting Isabelle — who scored 40 points in Thursday’s win over Elon — to just eight of 20 shooting from the field.

Northeastern head coach Bill Coen was not made available for comment after the game.

NU’s Donnell Gresham and Bo Brace each missed the front end of a one-and-one in the final 22 seconds. Drexel intentionally fouled both players to stop the clock.

Isabell was fouled three times in the last 10 seconds . The first time, Isabell knifed into the lane with Drexel down 67-65, and Occeus fouled him. Isabell hit one of two free throws to cut the Drexel deficit to 67-66.

After Brace missed a free throw on the other end, Isabell was again fouled, this time by Murphy. Isabell hit the first to tie the game at 67, and then missed the second.

As players from both teams scrambled for the rebound, Brace fouled Isabell in the corner, sending the Drexel junior to the line for two free throws with one second left. Isabell hit the first and intentionally missed the second with the Dragons up 68-67.

“I knew if I kind of got my body in front of [Brace], the collision would happen,” said Isabell, a transfer from Missouri.

“I kind of flailed my body a little bit but sometimes you have to do stuff like that to win.”

After an inadvertent buzzer gave Northeastern a chance to reset for a prayer with 0.7 seconds left, Pusica missed a fade-way three as the buzzer sounded.

Up next for Northeastern is a battle with College of Charleston on Thursday night. WRBB coverage will begin at 6:45 p.m. with Matt MacCormack and Justin Littman on the call.

Late Gaudette goal leads No. 8 Northeastern to 4-4 tie against No. 10 Providence

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – If you are looking for a signature moment to cap off Adam Gaudette’s Hobey Baker resume, look no further than Friday night at Matthews Arena.

Down 4-3 with 40 seconds remaining in the third, Gaudette was left all alone at the left dot in the Northeastern offensive zone. In what looked like an almost effortless motion, fellow Hobey Baker nominee Dylan Sikura fed Gaudette with a one-time opportunity from atop the right circle that he fired past Providence goalie Hayden Hawkey.

Tie game.

Not only did Gaudette’s goal salvage a 4-4 tie for the Huskies, but with Boston College’s loss to UMass-Lowell the Huskies now own a share of first place in Hockey East.

The game-tying tally was Gaudette’s 19th goal of the season and fifth game-winning strike. Gaudette, who also had a goal at the 8:04 mark of the third, now has an NCAA leading six multi-goal games.

Cayden Primeau got the start in net for Northeastern (15-6-4, 11-4-2), making 29 saves on the evening. Hawkey, a fellow Montreal draft pick, saved 20 shots for the Friars (16-8-3, 9-5-3).

Although Northeastern carried the momentum early, Providence got on the board first courtesy of Scott Conway. At the 9:58 mark of the opening frame, Conway collected a rebound off a shot from Brandon Duhaime and jammed it past Primeau.

The Huskies responded on the power play with just 1:53 remaining in the period. After Gaudette forced the defense down low, he hit Davies with a one-timer at the point that beat Hawkey glove side.

The Friars tacked on two goals in the second period to take a 3-1 lead after 40 minutes. Conway scored his second of the game at the 17:49 mark on the power play and Ben Mirageas answered with one of his own 1:56 later.

Although the Huskies cut the deficit to 3-2 on Gaudette’s first goal of the night, Providence scored just 26 seconds later when Vimal Sukumaran drew Primeau out of his net on a breakaway opportunity and netted his seventh of the year at the 8:30 mark of the third.

Eric Williams helped Northeastern cut the deficit back to one less than three minutes later on his third goal of the year. Zach Solow won a faceoff at the left dot that was corralled by Matt Filipe. The sophomore dished the puck to a wide-open Williams, who took a couple strides back to the dot and beat Hawkey five-hole.

With the Huskies pressing in its offensive zone late in the third, Gaudette finished off the comeback with 40 seconds remaining.

Northeastern and Providence will meet again Saturday night at Schneider Arena in the rubber game of the series. WRBB will have complete coverage, with pregame beginning at 6:45 p.m.

MBB beats Hofstra, now alone atop CAA

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y — Three Huskies racked up double-doubles and the defense kept a pair of potent Hofstra scorers in check as Northeastern pulled off an 81-67 victory over Hofstra in the Mack Sports Complex on Thursday night.

Bolden Brace (14 points, 10 rebounds), Anthony Green (14 points, 12 rebounds) and Vasa Pusica (16 points, 10 assists) all posted huge contributions for Northeastern (14-7, 7-2 CAA). Shawn Occeus also chipped in 16 points.

The Huskies entered the game with the top-rated defense in the conference, and did nothing to relinquish their fearsome title. Hofstra junior Justin Wright-Foreman was held to 20 points on three of 21 shooting despite entering the contest averaging 28 points per game in conference play. Sophomore Eli Pemberton — a 15 point per game scorer — scored just 10 on three of 10 shooting from the floor.

Senior big man Rokas Gustys contributed 13 points (6-6 FG) and 10 rebounds, but he was overshadowed by Northeastern’s Green, who played a season-high 32 minutes.

“We needed Anthony to step up and play a big game and fortunately he rose to the occasion,” NU head coach Bill Coen said after the game.

“He did a great job offensively and defensively.”

The victory — paired with a loss by William and Mary (13-7, 6-3 CAA) at Towson — pushed NU into sole possession of first place halfway through the conference slate.

The Huskies next game is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Drexel (8-14, 2-7 CAA). Matt MacCormack and Michael Petillo will be on the call.

 

 

 

Stevens hat trick lifts No. 8 Northeastern past Massachusetts

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – For outside observers, Saturday night looked like a trap game for the No. 8 Northeastern men’s hockey team.

Not only did the Huskies have to endure a two-hour bus ride home after suffering a 3-0 loss to Massachusetts on Friday night, but they were without the services of Jeremy Davies (one-game suspension) and Grant Jozefek (upper-body injury).

It did not matter.

Dylan Sikura scored just 31 seconds into the game and Nolan Stevens recorded a hat trick as the Huskies cruised to a 5-0 win in front of 2,131 fans at Matthews Arena.

Freshman Cayden Primeau got the start in net for Northeastern (15-6-3, 11-4-1), making 19 saves on the evening.

The win moves Northeastern back in sole possession of first place in Hockey East. It is also the sixth consecutive home win for the Huntington Hounds.

After winning the opening faceoff, Stevens controlled the puck on the right-side boards in the Northeastern offensive zone. The captain dished a pass down to sophomore Biagio Lerario on the goal line, who found a cutting Sikura for the early tally.

Nolan Stevens pushed the Huskies’ lead to 2-0 just 46 seconds into the second period. With the puck loose in the neutral zone and a lot of open ice to skate, Stevens narrowly got around UMass defenseman Jake McLaughlin and used one hand to flip the puck over the outstretched glove of goalie Matt Murray (28 saves).

The goal was Stevens’ 100th career point at Northeastern.

Stevens recorded his 101st point at the 17:07 mark of the period, notching his second goal of the game on a snipe between the circles. After a receiving a pass from Sikura at the top of the left dot, Stevens walked untouched into the slot and placed the puck in the top left corner of the net.

Brandon Schultz scored his first career goal at the 8:34 mark of the third period on a weak-side feed from John Picking and Nolan Stevens completed the hat trick at 12:30 on a power play strike to put the game out of reach.

The Huskies will be back in action next weekend when they take on No. 10 Providence in a home-and-home series beginning in Matthews Arena on Friday night. WRBB will have complete coverage.

Huskies move into a tie for first with a statement victory in Williamsburg

By: Justin Littman

WILLIAMSBURG – The Northeastern Huskies stepped up to the challenge against the top team in the CAA, controlling the game in a 90-70 victory over the William & Mary Tribe. This was only the second time in 11 tries that the Huskies have been able to escape Kaplan Arena with a victory. As for William & Mary, they have now lost two in a row at home, and are now 20-3 in their own arena since the start of last season.

Vasa Pusica led an efficient offensive attack for the Huskies, who seemed to get whatever they wanted throughout the night. Pusica finished the game with 20 points and nine assists. For Pusica, 18 of those points came in the first half, where the Huskies led by as many as 19. Coach Coen had high praise for his point guard after the game.

“He’s been big for us all year, and his shooting is just a small part of what he does for us. He always seems to settle us down when the other team is making a run to come up with a big play, big pass, or a big shot. He played at a high level tonight and we needed him to do so.

As a team, the Huskies shot over 71 percent from the field, and over 63 percent from downtown. This anomaly highlighted both the strength of Northeastern’s offense tonight, as well as the struggles the Tribe have faced defensively all year.

The Huskies were equally masterful on the defensive end, scoring 26 points off 13 William & Mary turnovers. Shawn Occeus set the tone on defense once again, finishing the game with four steals and many more deflections. He even put his body on the line to take a charge midway through the second half.

The Tribe, who entered the game shooting 44 percent from three on the season, shot under 30 percent from behind the arc. They made only five threes all game. David Cohn, who leads the CAA in assist-to-turnover ratio, had only three assists, and turned the ball over five times. Four starters scored in double figures for William & Mary, but they struggled to get any production from their bench, which scored only 11 points.

With the victory, Northeastern has ascended into a three-way tie for first place in CAA, joining William & Mary and Hofstra at the top. They are all 5-2 in the conference. The Huskies have a quick turnaround, as they fly back to Boston and quickly prepare for a Saturday afternoon matchup with the Delaware Blue Hens. Delaware (11-9, 4-3 CAA) is coming off a big road loss to Hofstra, losing 90-63.

No. 10 Northeastern completes weekend sweep with 5-3 victory over No. 20 Maine

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – Different day, same result.

Five different Huskies found the back of the net and freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau made 17 saves to lead No. 10 Northeastern to its second consecutive 5-3 win over No. 20 Maine.

The win improves Northeastern to 14-5-3 overall and 10-3-1 in Hockey East.

After sophomore Grant Jozefek scored the game’s first goal at the 5:10 mark of the opening period to give the Huskies the early lead, Maine (11-9-2, 5-6-1) netted a pair courtesy of Alexis Binner and Mitchell Fosiser.

Although Maine outshot Northeastern 9-8 in the second period, Eric Williams and Dylan Sikura found the back of the net to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes.

Northeastern put the game away in the last five minutes of the third period, receiving goals from Brandon Hawkins (15:10) and Nolan Stevens (18:57). Maine forward Nolan Vesey scored on the man-advantage with 41 seconds remaining, but the comeback effort fell short.

The Huskies will be back in action next weekend when they take on UMass-Amherst in a home-and-home series beginning at the Mullins Center on Friday night. WRBB will have complete coverage.

 

No. 10 Northeastern skates to 5-3 win over No. 20 Maine

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – No. 10 Northeastern and No. 20 Maine were the two hottest teams in Hockey East heading into Friday night’s game at Matthews Arena.

The Huskies entered the contest with a seven-game unbeaten streak. Maine was 6-0-2 since returning from the Friendship Four in Northern Ireland.

But on this night, it was the Huntington Hounds who kept the good times rolling. Behind two goals from Adam Gaudette and 30 saves from freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau, Northeastern skated to a 5-3 win in game one of the series.

The win improves Northeastern to 13-5-3 overall and 9-3-1 in Hockey East. It was the fifth consecutive home win for the Huskies over Maine (11-8-2, 5-5-1), and pushes Jim Madigan’s squad to 8-2-1 over the Black Bears in their last 11 meetings.

After falling behind 1-0 on a power play goal from Eduards Tralmaks midway through the first, the Huskies scored the next four goals to take a 4-1 lead at the 13:39 mark of the second period.

Adam Gaudette scored the first two, netting a power play goal at the 11:16 mark of the first on a one-time feed from Jeremy Davies at the left dot. Just 1:31 later he scored again after crashing the net on a Dylan Sikura shot and jamming the rebound past Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman (33 saves).

Northeastern scored its second power play goal of the game with just under five minutes remaining in the opening frame. With just 17 seconds gone on the man advantage, Matt Filipe sent a pass across the goal line to an open Grant Jozefek. The sophomore corralled the puck and sent it over the pads of Swayman for his sixth goal of the season.

Bobby Hampton pushed the Huskies lead to 4-1 on his fourth goal of the season. After collecting a pass from Gaudette at the point, freshman defenseman Collin Murphy sent a shot down low that Hampton redirected into the back of the net.

The Black Bears would not go away easily, though. Emil Westerlund cut the deficit to 4-2 at the 16:40 mark of the second on a rebound out in front and Brady Keeper scored early in the third on a weak side tap-in goal to bring the Black Bears within one.

Unfortunately for Maine, its comeback effort would fall just short.

Dylan Sikura – who missed out on a spot on the Canadian Olympic team – put the game away with his 11th goal of the season with just 1:24 remaining in regulation. Although he initially appeared to be offside, the senior assistant captain kept a foot on the line before receiving a leading pass from Biagio Lerario that he turned into a breakaway goal.

The Huskies will be back in action at Matthews Arena on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Black Bears at 5 p.m. Josh Brown, Joe Barbito and Max Willner-Giwerc will be on the call, with pregame coverage beginning at 4:45 p.m.

Northeastern names Jeff Konya new director of athletics

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Photo courtesy of Oakland University athletics

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON – Northeastern University has selected Jeff Konya to be its next director of athletics, the school announced in a press conference on Wednesday morning.

Konya will replace Peter Roby, who announced his intention to retire in 2018 last year after over a decade on the job and 15 years at the university.

“Northeastern is a university with limitless potential,” Konya said. “I am humbled by this opportunity and I look forward to working with the talented and committed coaches, student-athletes, and staff. We will remain committed to a high standard of student athlete-success, which has been a hallmark of this department, and we will unleash the full potential of this athletic department to garner national recognition and to match the unprecedented trajectory of the university.”

Prior to coming to Northeastern, Konya served as director of athletics at Oakland University for the past three-and-a-half years. Under his leadership the university won three-straight McCafferty Trophies, given to the all-sports champion of the Horizon League. He was also named one of Under Armour’s Athletic Directors of the Year in 2016-2017.

Often looking to break new ground, Konya made waves in 2016 when he hired co-head baseball coaches. This was the first time anything like that had been done at the Division 1 level. He also launched the popular Black & Gold Awards, which honored Oakland athletics in an Oscars-Style ceremony at the Fox Theatre every year.

“People make places,” Konya said. “You can accomplish great things when you have a singular mindset and vision and when you get buy-in from folks. I have an internal saying – I strive for perfection, will settle for excellence.”

The move came as a surprise to some in the Oakland community. Last June Konya agreed to a contract extension that would keep him at the school through 2022. This came after reports that he was a finalist for the Eastern Michigan AD job.

Konya, who graduated from Princeton University in 1995 and completed his J.D. at the University of Iowa in 1998, served as director of athletics at Cal State Bakersfield from 2010-2014. Prior to that he was AD at Northeastern State. Konya also has leadership experience at Southern Methodist University, Memphis, Bucknell and University of Texas at San Antonio.

“Jeff Konya is a proven leader who has the passion and the vision to drive our athletic programs to new levels of success,” said Northeastern President Joseph E. Aoun. “When I met with Jeff during the search process, I was immediately struck by his energy, his entrepreneurial spirit, and the innovation that has defined his career. These are Northeastern values. And in Jeff, we found someone who shares those values.”

He will begin his tenure at Northeastern on February 1.