Northeastern Loses Fourth Game in Last Five Outings With 79-72 Loss to Towson

By: Justin Littman

Less than 36 hours after Northeastern lost a triple overtime thriller to Hofstra, the Huskies faced another tough test. Without Quincy Ford, who was unable to play after the Hofstra game, Northeastern was forced to play shorthanded on tired legs. Towson controlled the glass and scored 28 points off of 16 Husky turnovers, en route to a 79-72 victory.

“I thought that’s where our fatigue kind of showed” said Coach Coen after the game. “We threw some lazy half-court passes which led to immediate scores and their defense is so stingy you don’t want to give them easy baskets either off turnovers or off the backboard.”

The game started off slow, with both teams struggling to hit shots in the first half. The difference, however, came from Towson’s effort on the offensive glass. The Tigers pulled in six offensive rebounds in the first half and were able to take a 25-19 lead into the half.

After shooting just 28% from the field in the first half, the Huskies came out firing to start the second half. David Walker scored six quick points out of the break, forcing Towson coach Pat Skerry to call timeout. The game stayed close and after two Devon Begley free throws with 9:01 remaining, the Huskies took a 44-43 lead. The lead was short lived, however, as the Tigers followed up with a 16-0 run and never looked back.

After Towson had zero players score double-figures on Thursday when they lost 40-37 to Charleston, the Tigers had four starters score in double-figures in this game. John Davis led the Tigers with 20 points and 11 rebounds, and shot 8-11 from the line. Towson attempted a whopping 40 free throws in the second half alone, as the Huskies were intent on fouling as the game came to a close.

For Northeastern, David Walker scored 32 points on 7-12 shooting. T.J. Williams, who replaced Quincy Ford in the starting lineup, finished with 15 points. Bill Coen had high praise for his point guard after the game.

“Since conference play has started I think he’s played pretty well. His numbers are up in almost every category…He’s the guy that can get into the lane. He got to the basket today against their physical defense and we need that from T.J.”

The Huskies are now 4-4 in the CAA and 12-9 overall. They will look to get back on track Thursday, when they head to South Carolina to face the College of Charleston. The Cougars will be without their leading scorer Canyon Barry, who will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. Quincy Ford is “Day-to-Day” for Northeastern.

 

 

Unbeaten Streak at Eight Games as Huskies Top Merrimack 4-1

By: Josh Brown

BOSTON- Heading into Saturday’s game against Merrimack riding a seven-game unbeaten streak, the contrast in Northeastern’s first half of the season up until now has been stunning for most, but for Huskies fans just another case of déjà vu.

With several parallels to last season’s 0-8-1 start present this season, one is particularly noticeable-balanced scoring among all four lines.

That trend continued Saturday night as four different players lit the lamp in Northeastern’s 4-1 win over the Warriors.

“That’s a hard team to play against,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “They’re strong, they’re physical, they come at you. You’re fighting for every inch of ice…and we had to do that. We had to stay with it.”

“We were really able to grind it out, which was a good thing for our team because those are the types of wins that build character in a team and we were able to in the third period nail it down.”

The loss is Merrimack’s (7-13-5, 2-7-5) ninth in a row, the longest such streak since 2008-2009.

That’s probably the best game we’ve played in three weeks,” said Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy. “No moral victories, we didn’t win the game, but we gave ourselves a chance to win. I tip my hat to Northeastern.”

“Our guys weren’t rewarded for tonight’s play, but to me, that’s an effort in the bank. Before you can make a withdrawal, you have to make some deposits and I thought tonight was definitely a deposit. We played hard, played smart and gave ourselves a chance to win. It’s been a while since we’ve done that.”

Northeastern (9-12-4, 4-8-3), whose next game will be a week from Monday in the Beanpot semifinals against Boston University, received 15 saves by freshman Ryan Ruck, who continues to be the backbone behind the Huskies recent success.

Unlike Friday where Northeastern relinquished the first goal, an occurrence that has been quite uncharacteristic during the team’s eight-game unbeaten streak, freshman Adam Gaudette extended his six-game point streak on the power play to put the Huskies on the board first.

With Ben Bahe off for tripping, the Huskies were cycling the puck around the blue line when finally Garret Cockerill sent a shot down on net. Despite the initial save by Merrimack goalie Collin Delia, Gaudette picked up the rebound and tucked it past the net-minder for his sixth of the year.

The penalty-ridden affair continued throughout the first period, with Merrimack taking three in the frame and Northeastern getting whistled for four, but the score remained 1-0 after 20 minutes.

Merrimack would control the tempo early in the second period, and finally capitalized at the 8:25 mark, tying the score at one.

Breaking up a pass in the Northeastern offensive zone, Mathieu Tibbet controlled the puck, skated into the Warriors attacking zone and fed Brett Seney who fired it over Ruck’s glove and into the back of the net.

Despite having a tough time getting extended possession in their own zone, Nolan Stevens put the Huskies up one just over three minutes later.

After Merrimack picked up the puck in their own defensive zone, the sophomore jumped the ensuing pass in the neutral zone, taking the puck from right to left before diving as he tucked it past Delia’s stick.

The power play would hurt the Warriors once again just a couple minutes into the third, all but putting the game away.

Following a face-off win by Mike McMurtry that found the puck right on the stick of Garret Cockerill, the defenseman passed it to Dylan Sikura on the left faceoff dot. After a quick stride towards the net Sikura fired a slap shot that soared over Delia’s glove.

“I thought in the third period we played really well,” said Madigan. “We gave them four or five shots, but we did a really good job of shutting them down through the middle of the ice and coming back we were above the puck a lot, and when Ryan Ruck was forced to make some saves, he stood tall.”

Adding insult to injury, the Huskies, who controlled much of the time-of-possession in the third, would tack one on with just 1:03 left courtesy of Zach Aston-Reese’s seventh of the season.

Parked up in the slot, Aston-Reese put a shot on net that was blocked by a Merrimack defender. Aston-Reese proceeded to follow his rebound and put another one on net that beat Delia.

“Sweep, four point weekend,” said Madigan. “We need it, trying to continue climbing up in the standings. I think we made a little bit of a move there today and we’ll get ready for this tournament in the Boston Garden called the Beanpot on Monday.”

This article can also be found on USCHO.

 

 

Hockey East Notebook 1/21/16

By: James Duffy

Weekend Review

Don’t look now, but there’s a team climbing out of the basement. The red-hot Northeastern Huskies kept the good times rolling last weekend with a sweep of New Hampshire, locking up four points to give them seven on the season. That’s right, they got more points in their last two games than the 11 before that. Led by Ryan Ruck and Dylan Sikura, the Huskies jumped out of last place in Hockey East, leapfrogging a Maine team that only picked up one point against UConn.

New Hampshire, the victims of the sweep, missed a golden chance to climb up the ladder for themselves. Two wins over the Huskies could have brought them to sixth in the conference, just a point back of Boston University, but instead they remain deadlocked in the bottom-half of the conference, still with a single-digit point total. UConn was one of the only teams that was able to actually make serious ground, taking three points in a series against Maine. With that, they went from eleventh to sixth.

Towards the top of Hockey East, things went about as expected. UMass Lowell lives another week at the top, staying two points ahead of Boston College, who has two games in hand. The Riverhawks easily downed UMass Amherst for an easy four points, and Kevin Boyle allowed just one goal in the two games. BC had the tougher test on the weekend, taking on BU in a home-and-home. After cruising to  5-3 win to start the weekend, the teams tied on Saturday night. Three points for the Eagles, one for the Terriers.

Lastly, Providence and Notre Dame both had easy sweeps, dispatching Vermont and Merrimack respectively. Not a bad weekend for the top four in the conference.

Scores

Friday, January 15

Boston University 3-5 Boston College

Connecticut 1-0 Maine

New Hampshire 2-4 Northeastern

UMass Lowell 4-1 Massachusetts

Providence 3-1 Vermont

Merrimack 2-7 Notre Dame

Saturday, January 16

Connecticut 1-1 Maine

Massachusetts 0-5 UMass Lowell

Northeastern 6-2 New Hampshire

Boston College 1-1 Boston University

Merrimack 1-5 Notre Dame

Providence 6-3 Vermont

Tuesday, January 19

Quinnipiac 3-3 Maine

The Week Ahead

As the playoff situation starts to take a little more shape with just over a month left in the regular season, every game gets more and more important. Whether you’re a team at the bottom of the conference trying to avoid going on the road to BC or Lowell, or a team at the top trying to lock up home ice or a first-round bye, each point counts. We’re still a while away, but this weekend starts crunch time.

Northeastern will look to continue to frantically climb up the standings, as they take on Merrimack for a home-and-home. While NU has turned on the jets of late, Merrimack has struggled mightily since a good start to the season. Losers of seven straight, the Warriors will have their hands full trying to get back in the win column. For the Huskies, four points would vault them to at least 10th, and potentially as high as 6th, whereas Merrimack could get to 5.

Vermont and Massachusetts square off in a huge game on Saturday, with both teams sitting at eight points. Its been a down season for the Catamounts, who carried a four-game winning streak into Providence before being swept, killing their momentum and dampening hopes of a late season come up. Massachusetts similarly has hit a losing streak, dropping four straight and 10 of their last 11.

Vermont will also draw UConn over the weekend while Massachusetts gets the pleasure of a game against BC. For UConn, this weekend is just as vital. Vermont is a team just two points behind them, who they’ll need to fend off. Then, taking on BC will be a good gut check game. Assuming they pick up at least a point against Vermont, they’ll head into Chestnut Hill with points in four straight, looking to stay hot for the stretch run.

Back at the top, UMass Lowell and Providence face off in an interesting home-and-home, as both teams will try to cling to one of the top four spots in the conference, guaranteeing a bye in the first round of the playoffs. The points seem to be more important for PC, who has Boston University just two points away from dropping them to 5th place.

Things are starting to heat up as we move towards the last month of the season. Every game carries a little extra weight, every goal is worth a little more, and every team is pushing a little harder. Should be a fun weekend.

Northeastern Falls to James Madison for Second Consecutive Loss

By: Justin Littman

BOSTON-  After a disappointing 78-60 loss to William & Mary on Saturday, Northeastern was looking to get back on track at home. Unfortunately for the Huskies, James Madison had other ideas. Led by senior guard Ron Curry, James Madison took a 42-27 lead into the half and never looked back.

“He (Curry) is playing as well as anybody in the league right now” said Northeastern coach Bill Coen after the game. Curry finished the game with 22 points on 7-12 shooting. Still, the Dukes had plenty of other contributors, with four other players scoring at least nine points.

Northeastern started the game off strong, taking a quick 5-0 lead on two baskets from Jeremy Miller. The fun stopped shortly after, however, as the Dukes caught fire in the first half. They shot 67% from the field and 64% from behind the arc. Curry and junior guard Shakir Brown combined to make their first five three point attempts of the half.

Despite the hot start by the Dukes, Northeastern managed to claw back. The Huskies continuously got to the free throw line in the second half and showed plenty more aggression on the offensive end. After the Huskies cut the lead to 61-55 with 8:10 remaining, James Madison guard Jackson Kent hit a three pointer in the right corner to stop the momentum.

“Jackson’s shot is really one that gave us confidence…It’s a dagger, I thought that shot was a dagger,” commented JMU coach Matt Brady after the game.

It was the closest the Huskies would get the rest of the game.

It was yet another game where it seemed like nothing could fall for Northeastern. As a team they shot 5-27 from three point range, and the Huskies simply could not get the lid off the rim. Regardless, they were getting good looks.

“We were running our offense and guys were getting shots, but we just didn’t make them,” said Coen.”

It was another tough loss for Northeastern, but there were some positives to be drawn from this game. Most importantly, David Walker was able to rediscover his shooting touch in the second half. After scoring single-digits each of his last three games, Walker heated up in the second half, scoring 11 of his 13 points on 3-5 shooting. T.J. Williams also looked good in the second half, as he was aggressive and created shots for himself and his teammates. The leading scorer for the Huskies was Jeremy Miller with 19 points.

Northeastern is now 11-7 on the season and 3-2 in CAA play. Their next game is this Saturday at 2 p.m. when they will take a trip to Delaware to face the Blue Hens. They defeated Delaware last Thursday, 88-56.

 

Hockey East Notebook 1/14/16

By: James Duffy

Weekend Review

It’s been a while, but the Hockey East Notebook is back after a long winter break and better than ever. There’s a lot to dive into since the last edition, with every team in Hockey East having played their fair share of games over the past month, so with out further ado, lets get into it.

The Providence College Friars, formerly the #1 team in the land, have hit somewhat of a rough patch of late. The formerly undefeated Friars have gone 1-3-1 in their last five contests, dropping OT games to Brown and Cornell, and splitting three games with Boston College. They came away with a 2-1 win over the Eagles before getting slaughtered 7-3, then wrapped up their series with a 4-4 tie.

Splitting the three games with Providence helped keep Boston College high in the Hockey East standings, despite losses to surging Notre Dame, and an out of conference loss to Ohio State. The Eagles are one of the best teams in the nation, but some of that early season magic has worn off, mostly because Thatcher Demko has come back down to earth hard. On November 8th, Demko had an unfathomable stat-line, .974 save percentage, 0.67 goals allowed average. Today, those numbers stand at .936 and 1.72. Still remarkable, but a fall from grace no less. Demko is now sidelined with an injury, so he may not get a shot to improve his stats for a little while.

BC sits behind just one team in Hockey East, UMass Lowell, who’s 7-2-3 record in conference is good enough for first place. The Riverhawks were surprisingly swept by UConn to kick off December, which they followed up by losing to Robert Morris in the Three River Classic Championship, but an in-conference win over New Hampshire has them back on track. Lowell’s strong season has continued, mostly on the back of goalie Kevin Boyle, who has stayed among the leagues best goalies since the start of the year.

Notre Dame has been another surprise team, currently locking down the third spot in Hockey East despite just nine in-conference games. They’re 6-1-2 in those nine against conference opponents, with the most recent win coming over Boston College. The Irish battled back from a 3-1 deficit, tagged Demko for four goals and kept their team hot streak going.

Scores

Thursday, January 7

Boston University 6-5 Harvard

Friday, January 8

Providence 3-7 Boston College
UMass Lowell 1-0 New Hampshire
Merrimack 0-3 Cornell
Colgate 1-3 Maine
Northeastern 3-0 St. Lawrence
Connecticut 2-4 Michigan Tech
Dartmouth 0-1 Vermont

Western Michigan 1-7 Notre Dame

Saturday, January 9

Boston College 4-4 Providence
Massachusetts 2-7 Boston University
Merrimack 2-5 Cornell
Colgate 5-1 Maine
Northeastern 4-2 St. Lawrence

Notre Dame 3-3 Western Michigan

Sunday, January 10

Connecticut 3-0 Arizona State

The Week Ahead

The biggest matchup of Hockey East teams this weekend is the home-and-home between Boston College and Boston University. The Eagles and Terriers are two of the top teams in the conference this season, and if Thatcher Demko isn’t good to go this series could really go either way. All eyes should be on this one, it’s going to be a highly contested series.

Beyond that series, not many other are worth too much note. The skidding Providence Friars will look to get back on track when they make the trip up to Vermont for two against the Catamounts. Notre Dame, who’s been rising up in the standings lately, will host Merrimack for a pair in South Bend. After a hot start to the season, the Warriors have come back down to earth hard, and the Irish should make easy work of them.

Connecticut and Maine, two of the bottom three teams in Hockey East, match up for a two-game set in Orono, and Northeastern, the worst team in the conference, matches up with New Hampshire for a home-and-home series. Lastly, UMass Lowell will take on UMass Amherst in what should be another blowout of a series.

National Rankings

Providence – #3 (3)
Boston College – #4 (7)
UMass Lowell – #11 (10)
Notre Dame – #13 (15)

Huskies Shutout St. Lawrence for First Win of 2016

By: Josh Brown

CANTON, N.Y.- A season plagued by tough injuries just got a little bit better for the Northeastern University Men’s Hockey Team Friday night.

With the return of defenseman Dustin Darou from a broken fibula and tibia, the Huskies got just the jolt they needed, scoring two first period goals and an empty netter, en route to a 3-0 win over #13 St. Lawrence.

The Huskies(4-12-4) received 24 saves from freshman Ryan Ruck, who earned his first collegiate shutout in the victory.

“I couldn’t have been more pleased for Dustin Darou,” said Northeastrn coach Jim Madigan. “Now the fact that he’s back, and that young man in a charity baseball/softball game at the Travis Roy event back in… June broke his tibia, fibula, had major surgery, was out for six months and has worked his rear end to get back to where he’s at. The first game back for him after his long six month drought in Canton, NY, close to where he grew up in Ottawa, their was some friends here that knew him and we eased him back in there and I thought he did a real good job.”

“It was also a good rink for him to start. It’s a little bit smaller than our rink, the confines are a little bit tighter, he’s a heavy guy, physical guy, I like the way he played physical, and just really happy for how he played here tonight.”

Just three minutes into the game Northeastern drew first blood via freshman Lincoln Griffin’s second goal of the season.

With Northeastern moving the puck around in their offensive zone, Griffin fired a quick shot on net that was saved by Colgate netminder Kyle Hayton. Not giving up on the play, Griffin collected his own rebound before quickly firing a shot over Hayton’s shoulder to give the Huskies the early lead.

Midway through the period just as Colgate’s Gavin Bayreuther was coming out of the penalty box for slashing, the Huskies were able to beat Hayton again and extend the lead to two.

Griffin started the play on the left side half wall, hitting junior Sam Kurker with a pass right in the slot. Kurker immediately wound-up and sent a one-timer into the back of the net, giving Northeastern all the cushion they would need on this night.

While Colgate did threaten in the second period, Ruck stood tall for Northeastern, stopping all 12 shots he saw in the frame.

“I thought Ryan stood tall,” said Madigan, “he made some real key saves for us. I thought he was good at scrambles at the net-front. He was aggressive, he saw the puck really well there for us…he played with a lot of confidence and he moved really well so that’s the type of goaltender you’re going to need in the second half of the year to win games.”

Colgate continued to try and chip away in the third period, but the momentum was halted midway through the frame when the Saints took a too many men on the ice penalty, putting Northeastern on the power play. Despite the Huskies not scoring on the man-advantage, St. Lawrence could never really recover, allowing an empty-netter late to Mike McMurtry to seal the deal.

“I thought it was our most complete game of the season,” said Madigan. “We were able to get…a two goal lead in the first period and I thought we played a good first period. In the second they really came at us… I thought we weathered the storm. We got some breaks around the net that they didn’t get the bounces, but they carried the play I thought in the second period. Then in the third period I thought period we played a smart third period,  we got pucks in deep, we simplified a little bit. We dressed seven (defenseman) and 11 (forwards), we were a little bit short on the front side. I just liked the mentality of our team in how we approached that third period. I liked (that) the bench was active, it was energized. I thought we did a really good job start to finish.”

“I just liked the way we weathered the storm and blocked some key shots at times and again we played disciplined. Pleased with the effort, pleased with the outcome, and we played a full sixty minutes and now we’ll get some rest and try to get another W tomorrow night.”

Eleven Huskies Score in 88-56 Thrashing of Delaware

By: Dan McLoone

Returning to Matthews Arena after a long North Carolina road trip, Northeastern rode hot starts in both halves and continued to pile on the points in an 88-56 blowout of Delaware. Eleven players scored as Northeastern logged 25 assists on 31 baskets, treating their home fans to a resounding victory in which they never trailed.

“It was a long road trip,” said Northeastern head coach Bill Coen. “We were on the road for eight days or so and guys were excited to get back. They know what time it is. They know it’s conference time and each and every game can make a difference in the league race so they wanted to take care of business at home.”

Freshman Jeremy Miller led the way for the Huskies, registering a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Quincy Ford added 13 points and seven rebounds. Eight Huskies logged at least seven points, and three different players registered at least five assists.

Leading 6-4 in the opening three minutes, Northeastern proceeded to go on a 15-0 run to push the lead to 17. Quincy Ford led the charge, scoring 7 of his points on the day in the opening 12 minutes. The Huskies went into the locker room with a 44-21 lead, as Zach Stahl hit a floater at the buzzer on a broken play.

Northeastern came out strong once again in the second half, opening with a 12-0 run to push the lead to a game-high 35. Delaware’s scrappy play and great shooting from deep throughout the second frame routinely brought them back to within 20, but Northeastern’s bench kept them from pulling any closer. The Huskies bench outscored Delaware’s 37-3, with Zach Stahl and Caleb Donnelly each chipping in nine and Brandon Kamga adding eight.

“We were sharing the basketball,” said Coen. “We got contributions from everybody…We want to continue to develop our bench. One of the keys for us is to make sure our freshman continue to get better.””

After holding Delaware point guard Kory Holden scoreless last season’s scoreless in the first half, the CAA Rookie of the Year runner-up from last season exploded in the second half. Holden, who had a monster 20-point performance in the CAA Tournament loss to the Huskies last year, poured in four triples and finished with 14 points and six assists.

“We knew he’s a good player, and you’re not gonna hold him down the whole game,” said Coen. “I thought we closed out on him a little soft a few times.”

Northeastern improved to 11-5 on the year and now sits atop the CAA at 3-0. The Blue Hens dropped to 5-9 and remain winless in conference play. The Huskies will be back in action on Saturday when they travel to William & Mary.