Men’s Hockey Finishes Sweep Over Maine

By Matthew Cunha

Photo by Sarah Olender

Northeastern needed a comeback after entering the third period down 2–1, but goals from Neil Shea and Zach Solow allowed them to fend off Maine Saturday night at Matthews Arena. The 3–2 win gave the Huskies a weekend sweep over Maine; the women’s team beat Maine earlier in the day and will face them again tomorrow.

“It wasn’t our greatest game, and I didn’t think our execution was great,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “But going into the third we knew we could play one good third period and win the game and that speaks to character.”

For a while, Northeastern seemed to be in full control. For more than half the game, Jayden Struble’s first collegiate goal kept them in front.

With 3:33 to go in the second period, that all changed. Mitch Fossier, who led Maine in scoring last year and captains this year’s squad, wheeled around the offensive zone and fired a last-ditch shot at Huskies goalie Craig Pantano. With players obscuring Pantano’s view, the shot slide through to tie the game at one.

About 70 seconds later, an Aidan McDonough hooking penalty gave the Black Bears a power play. Just 14 seconds after that, Pantano couldn’t corral the rebound off a Fossier shot, and Maine’s Adam Dawe capitalized to give the Black Bears a 2–1 lead. What had seemed like a sure Northeastern victory was slipping away.

But Northeastern responded. Four minutes into the third period, Neil Shea controlled the puck behind the Maine net and, despite the horrendous angle, threw the puck off the back of Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman and into the net, becoming the second Husky to score his first career goal.

“Freshman are finding their way through the season,” said Madigan. “All our freshmen are getting better. It’s nice for all our freshman just to get that first one. You remember that first goal; it’s part of your memory bank for the rest of your life.”

Northeastern got some chances on a Dawe penalty seven minutes into the period, but didn’t convert its doorstep chances.

With around six minutes remaining, Maine’s potent offensive duo of Fossier and Eduards Tralmaks had a chance to steal the game for Maine. Tralmaks led Fosser for a give and go; Fosser gave it back to Tralmaks who broke in alone as Struble was down on the ice. Tralmaks tried to deke it over to his backhand, but Pantano robbed Maine’s leading scorer.

“He’s been great all year,” said Madigan of Pantano. “He gives us a chance to win every single night. We expect it out of him. Craig bailed us out when we needed it and played really well.


With 4:13 remaining, a strong Northeastern attack bore fruit when senior defender Ryan Shea deked his way around several Maine players. Shea found fellow senior Zach Solow in front of the net, and Solow one-timed the shot past Swayman for his fourth goal of the season.

“We had a good offensive zone shift there,” said Solow. “It was a great individual effort by Shea. He beat his guy, I got lost and he put it right on my tape.”

Despite a Northeastern penalty for too many men on the ice, the Black Bears couldn’t answer. The game ended 3–2.

Northeastern outshot Maine 41–28, including 14–8 advantages in both the first and third periods. Pantano had 26 saves for Northeastern and Swayman had 38 for Maine.

Northeastern (8–4–2, 5–3–1 HEA)  has won their last three contests; Maine (7–5–2, 4–4–2 HEA) has lost their last two. The Huskies will head to Belfast, Northern Ireland for the Friendship Four. They’ll face New Hampshire on Friday and either Colgate or Princeton on Saturday.

Hockey East Preview: Maine Black Bears

Last Season: 15–17–4 (11–9–4 HE, sixth place); Lost in HE quarterfinals 

Head Coach: Red Gendron (seventh season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Eighth

Losses

  • G Rob McGovern 
  • D Sam Becker
  • D Brady Keeper
  • D Rob Michel
  • D Keith Muehlbauer
  • F Canon Pieper
  • F Brendan Robbins
  • F Daniel Perez
  • F Chase Pearson

Additions

  • G Matthew Thiessen
  • D Levi Kleiboer
  • D  J.D. Greenway
  • D Perry Winfree
  • D Adrien Bisson
  • F Ben Poisson
  • F Brady Gaudette
  • F Dawson Bruenski
  • F Remy Parker

By Matthew Cunha

In the last two years, Red Gendron’s Black Bears finished sixth after several seasons as Hockey East bottom-feeders. The improvement was largely due to goalie Jeremy Swayman, who made the All-Hockey East third team last season and posted a 2.78 GAA and .919 save percentage. Last season, the fourth-round Boston Bruins prospect often bailed out the Black Bears.

Big blows came this offseason with the departures of Chase Pearson and Brady Keeper to the pros. Pearson and Keeper finished second and third in scoring for the Black Bears, combining for 52 points. 

The good news for Maine is the return of senior Mitchell Fossier. Fossier led Maine in scoring for the second straight season with 36 points, good for seventh in Hockey East. Fossier was the clear-cut choice to captain the Black Bears this season. He will be assisted by seniors Ryan Smith and Tim Doherty (fourth in scoring last season) and junior Jack Quinlivan. 

The nine newcomers for the Black Bears are highlighted by junior J.D. Greenway, the 72nd pick in the 2016 draft (Toronto Maple Leafs) and the brother of Minnesota Wild’s Jordan Greenway. J.D. played two seasons at the University of Wisconsin (10 points in 46 career games) before losing playing time and deciding to play junior hockey. The 6’5” defensemen should add clarity, structure, steadiness, and a veteran presence to the Black Bears’ back end, though his experience at Wisconsin is a bit concerning.

Another addition Northeastern fans will notice is freshman Brady Gaudette, the brother of former Northeastern Husky and Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette. Brady comes to Maine after a year of playing junior hockey.

Bottom Line: Maine seems destined for the middle of the pack once again thanks to Swayman, who now has talented defenseman J.D. Greenway in front of him. Outside of Fossier, the Black Bears will have a hard time putting the puck in the net after the losses of Pearson and Kepper to the pros. If the freshmen can’t score the offense could go downhill fast, but Swayman is good enough to get this team back in sixth place with another first-round exit.