Men’s Hockey Upsets No. 4 UMass

Photo by Sarah Olender

By Dale Desantis

BOSTON — Tuesday night’s showdown between the Northeastern Huskies and the UMass Minutemen was a chippy, defensive affair. The teams combined for 15 penalties, then failed to score on every one of the resulting power plays.

The Huskies triumphed in their home opener, topping the fourth-ranked Minutemen 3–1 behind the efforts of their freshmen and their grad transfer goalie. The Huskies have won their first three games and limited their opponents to a single goal in each one.

The game was scoreless well into the second period before the Huskies struck. With 9:23 remaining, freshman forward Matt DeMelis converted a wrister over the head of UMass goalie Matt Murray. The decisive goal opened play for both teams in what had been a stagnant offensive game.

Photo by Sarah Olender

The Huskies added to their lead later in the period after UMass defender Philip Lagunov was whistled for slashing Northeastern’s Jordan Harris on a two-on-one breakaway. The freshman defender took advantage of the penalty shot, confidently bearing down on Murray and flicking the puck over his right shoulder. It was Harris’ second goal of the young season.

Photo by Sarah Olender

The third period was electric. Just as the Northeastern defense looked unassailable, UMass freshman Matt Kessel drove a dagger from the blue line past Northeastern goalie Craig Pantano to make the score 2–1. A dogfight ensued, culminating in a five-minute spearing penalty against Northeastern’s Brendan Van Reimsdyk with three minutes to play. The Husky defense held fast, and Zach Solow notched an empty-net insurance goal with 12 seconds to play.

Pantano shone brightest, steering 34 shots away from the net and reassuring those who doubted the Huskies’ depth in goal before the season. He looked comfortable anchoring a team that heavily featured two freshman defenders in Mike Kesselring and Jeremie Bucheler.

“He gives you calmness, poise, and leadership,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said of Pantano. “He’s been in every building and has won.”

Photo by Sarah Olender

Tune in Sunday at 3 PM when the Huskies take on Holy Cross at Matthews Arena. Matt Cuhna and Adam Doucette will be on the call.

Men’s Hockey Notches Second Straight 2–1 Win Over Union

Image Credit: nuhuskies.com

By Christian Skroce

SCHENECTADY, NY — It was another stressful outing for the young Huskies team, but Northeastern was again victorious in a come-from-behind effort against the Union College Dutchmen. The game started as a defensive slugfest, with the first two periods devoid of scoring and chock-full of penalties.

Union finally scored early in the third period. Union forward Anthony Rinaldi swooped in from the left wing and fired a poorly angled shot on goal. Despite a nice save from Northeastern goalie Craig Pantano, the puck remained untouched in the crease, and Morton — who entered the offensive zone from the penalty box just as Northeastern’s power play ended — put away the easy chance.

For a while Northeastern’s offense continued to struggle as they failed to capitalize on another power play. Then, with 11 minutes remaining in the third, freshman forward Riley Hughes came to the Huskies’ rescue. He stole the puck from a Union defender, earned a one-on-one breakaway against Union goalie Darion Hanson, and sent a shot through Hanson’s legs to even the score.

Northeastern didn’t take long to gain the upper hand. Just three minutes later, senior forward Biagio Lerario finished off a rebound from a long-range effort by fellow forward Zach Solow. The Huskies would not look back, as they fought their way to their second consecutive one-goal win during opening weekend.

“Well you’re playing with danger, you have to play well,” coach Jim Madigan said. “It’s good that we can find a way to win in a close game in the third period, and that shows resiliency and a mature team, but at the same time, there’s an identity we want to start playing to.”

While the Huskies were happy to come away with two weekend wins, there were clearly some growing pains for the team’s younger players. As Madigan pointed out, the coaches clearly have a plan for this team, and while it was a tough two games, the team held their own and begins its season undefeated.

Tune in Tuesday night at 7 PM when Northeastern returns to action against UMass Amherst; Matt Neiser and Dale Desantis will be on the call.

Men’s Hockey Tops Union in Season Opener

Image Credit: nuhuskies.com

By Matt Neiser

Schenectady, NY — The Northeastern men’s hockey team traveled to Schenectady, NY on Friday night, opening their 2019–20 campaign with a matchup against the Union Dutchmen. Despite a shaky beginning that saw them fall behind early, the Huskies battled back with goals from sophomore Jordan Harris and junior Grant Jozefek to secure a 2–1 victory.

Northeastern (1–0–0) was rusty early on, with errant passes and missed defensive assignments all over the place. This was to be expected; the Huskies hadn’t played since March 30 and Union already had two games under their belt from last weekend.

The Dutchmen (0–3–0) took advantage of that rust in the first period, capitalizing on an uncharacteristic mistake from Husky captain Ryan Shea. Looking to clear the puck from behind his own net, Shea launched the puck directly into the path of Union freshman Liam Robertson, who sent a one-timer past Craig Pantano to make it 1–0.

The Huskies began to find their form in the second period, taking advantage of a continued power play from the first frame to get on the front foot offensively. After knocking on the door for a while, Northeastern finally found paydirt with six minutes left when a loose rebound fell right at the feet of Harris, who slotted the puck home to tie the game.

Northeastern completed the comeback with a goal in the third period, and boy was it a beauty. After a puck was dumped in behind his net, Pantano came out to collect. He slid the puck to freshman defenseman Jeremie Bucheler, who threaded a brilliant breakout pass to free Jozefek in the Union zone. Jozefek put on a quick half-move before firing top shelf, beating Union goaltender Darion Hanson.

Among Northeastern standouts was freshman Mike Kesselring. In his first collegiate game, the 6’ 4” defenseman put together a complete two-way game. He used his size on defense, breaking up multiple dangerous Union attacks. Kesselring was confident and decisive on offense as well, playing precise passes and unleashing a few firecracker shots from the point.

In fact, the entire Husky defensive core was excellent. Shea, Bucheler, Harris, Kesselring, and Julian Kislin showcased the blue line’s insane two-way potential, making countless plays on both offense and defense.

Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan credited the squad’s veterans as key to the team’s decisive third period: “Those older guys really stepped up in the third period and led our team and found a way to win. That’s a good team in the other room.”

The Huskies and the Dutchmen face off again Saturday at 4 PM. Matt Neiser and Christian Skroce will be on the call.