BY: Josh Brown
BOSTON — Down 3-0 heading into the third while playing without Kevin Roy due to illness, it looked like it would be a rough start to the new year for Northeastern.
The Huskies went on to score three third period goals to salvage a 3-3 against St. Lawrence (8-8-2) and prolong their festivities for at least another night.
“Pleased that we responded, backs against the wall,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “But we’ve got to be smarter, play harder for 60 minutes if we are going to beat good teams like St. Lawrence and teams in our league.”
Saints’ coach Greg Carvel echoed Madigan’s displeasure in coming away with only a tie.
“We need to be a desperate team,” Carvel said. “We lost four games in a row coming in here. Our team could not find the desire to really put that game away.”
Despite the six goals scored combined between the teams, one of the more hyped goalie matchups of the season between the Huskies’ Clay Witt and the Saints’ Kyle Hayton lived up to the potential, with both netminders making acrobatic saves to keep their respective teams in the game.
Despite being outshot 9-7 in the opening frame, St. Lawrence netted the only goal of the period when Brian Ward shot a rocket from the dot that beat traffic in front of the net and ultimately, Witt, to give his team the 1-0 lead.
The power-play goal was the first of three St. Lawrence scored on the night.
The Saints nearly went up 2-0 a couple minutes later when a deflected puck was called ‘no goal,’ the officials saying it was knocked into the net by the hand of Mike Marnell.
A combined 19 penalty minutes were served in the second period (11 by Northeastern), with only St. Lawrence able to take advantage.
With the Huskies shorthanded due to a Zach Aston-Reese five-minute boarding call, Sean McGovern picked up a Woody Hudson rebound and slammed it home to give St. Lawrence a two-goal lead.
Just 45 seconds later, the Saints made it 3-0 when they again crashed the net on a Patrick Doherty shot and Gunnar Hughes was there to jam it in the back of the net.
Despite St. Lawrence getting a majority of the calls, Carvel thought the penalties ruined the tempo of the game.
“I thought a lot of the penalties tonight shouldn’t have been penalties,” he said. “But they set a standard early and called it the whole game.
“It affected the flow of the game for sure.”
Northeastern came battling back early in the third period while shorthanded when John Stevens stole a puck in the defensive zone, brought it down ice and dished it to his brother, Nolan, who scored the Huskies’ first goal.
“It’s completely mental breakdowns,” said Carvel. “It’s inexcusable to have a power play up 3-0 and give up a shorthanded goal.”
Midway through the period, the Huskies continued to claw at the lead on Trevor Owens’ first collegiate goal set up by a Torin Snydeman pass in transition that he was able to fire by Hayton.
After the Huskies had numerous opportunities in the home stretch but could not capitalize, they pulled Witt in favor of an extra attacker. It paid off when Mike Szmatula threw a pass from behind the net to Adam Reid, who was able to send it over the blue line and force overtime.
Both goalies shined in overtime, making big stops to preserve the tie and send both teams home disappointed at the missed opportunity.
“Really upset because our teams been pretty consistent with our effort,” Carvel said. “And in that third period, the breakdowns are things I haven’t seen from my team.”
Madigan, whose Huskies sit at 5-10-2, will face this same St. Lawrence team Saturday night and expects better mental preparation from his squad.
“I don’t think we should be satisfied,” he said. “We’ve got to be smarter.
“The enemy sometimes is us.”
This article can also be found on USCHO…Follow Josh Brown on Twitter @josh_brown31