SOUTH BEND, Ind.-It was much of the same for Northeastern hockey, as the Huskies continued their early-season struggle in South Bend, dropping a 3-2 decision to Notre Dame. The Huskies continue to start slow, spotting the Fighting Irish with a 3-0 lead that they simply could not climb back from. Head coach Jim Madigan’s squad now finds itself at 1-8-1, the same record that it had through 10 games in last season’s historically bad start.
Northeastern was once again unable to get out to a good start, as Fighting Irish defender Jordan Gross wristed a soft shot from the blue line past netminder Ryan Ruck just 5:54 into the contest. Notre Dame doubled their lead just over seven minutes later, when miscommunication by Ruck and Jarrett Fennell left the puck free in the crease. Gross poked it home for his second tally of the day.
Just three minutes into the second period, the Fighting Irish extended their lead to 3-0, as Andrew Oglevie sent a puck past Ruck from just outside the crease.
“Similar story where we fell behind,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan, “it’s been two or three goals where we’ve been falling behind and then we bounced back in the second period and played hard but we’re always chasing the game and that’s what happened here tonight. We can’t continue giving up two and three goals to good teams and expect to win games.”
The Huskies struggled to get their offense going all day, but responded with two goals in 28 seconds to cut the deficit to one. Zach Aston-Reese netted his first score of the season, sending home a loose puck past Irish goalie Cal Petersen, who was out of position. Seconds later, Brendan Collier tipped home a shot attempt by Ryan Rosenthal to bring the score to 3-2.
“Do I like the resiliency? Yeah, but we’ve been at the same spot now for the last five, six games,” said Madigan, “where we’re behind, mostly behind by two goals and I’d rather see us show a little bit more determination in getting up a goal or two then having to always fight. It takes a lot out of you when you’re trying to battle fight back from a two or three goal deficit and you’ve got very little room for error. The resiliency (is) good but I’d rather have the opposition chasing us.”
Northeastern had a golden opportunity to tie up the game late in the second period after Notre Dame’s Andy Ryan was assessed a five-minute major and ejected for contact to the head. In their five minutes with a man advantage, the Huskies tried to set up an offense, but shot themselves in the foot numerous times with poor passes and sloppy puck control along the blue line to waste valuable time. The penalty expired without a single shot on goal for Northeastern.
The game emphasized Northeastern’s continued struggle on the power play, as they finished 0-5 on the night with a man advantage despite having 21 minutes of ice time with an extra skater. Throughout the night, the team was unable to consistently test Petersen in net.
After logging just seven total shots through the second period and opening 15 minutes of the third period combined, Madigan’s squad picked up the intensity while searching for the game-tying goal in the closing minutes. They fired numerous opportunities on net, but Petersen played very well between the pipes to preserve the win.
In what ended up making matters even worse, Huskies forward Dalen Hedges went down with an injury in the third period, needing assistance to make it off the ice.
“Unfortunately Hedges got hurt there at the end of the game and I think he’ll miss some time here, he’ll be reevaluated back in Boston on Sunday/Monday.”
Notre Dame improves to 5-2-2, and is 3-0-0 in Hockey East, while Northeastern drops to 0-4-1 in the conference. The two teams will square off again on Friday night at 7:35 p.m. at Compton Family Ice Arena. Complete game coverage can be heard on WRBB.