By: Josh Brown
BOSTON – No. 10 Northeastern and No. 20 Maine were the two hottest teams in Hockey East heading into Friday night’s game at Matthews Arena.
The Huskies entered the contest with a seven-game unbeaten streak. Maine was 6-0-2 since returning from the Friendship Four in Northern Ireland.
But on this night, it was the Huntington Hounds who kept the good times rolling. Behind two goals from Adam Gaudette and 30 saves from freshman goaltender Cayden Primeau, Northeastern skated to a 5-3 win in game one of the series.
The win improves Northeastern to 13-5-3 overall and 9-3-1 in Hockey East. It was the fifth consecutive home win for the Huskies over Maine (11-8-2, 5-5-1), and pushes Jim Madigan’s squad to 8-2-1 over the Black Bears in their last 11 meetings.
After falling behind 1-0 on a power play goal from Eduards Tralmaks midway through the first, the Huskies scored the next four goals to take a 4-1 lead at the 13:39 mark of the second period.
Adam Gaudette scored the first two, netting a power play goal at the 11:16 mark of the first on a one-time feed from Jeremy Davies at the left dot. Just 1:31 later he scored again after crashing the net on a Dylan Sikura shot and jamming the rebound past Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman (33 saves).
Northeastern scored its second power play goal of the game with just under five minutes remaining in the opening frame. With just 17 seconds gone on the man advantage, Matt Filipe sent a pass across the goal line to an open Grant Jozefek. The sophomore corralled the puck and sent it over the pads of Swayman for his sixth goal of the season.
Bobby Hampton pushed the Huskies lead to 4-1 on his fourth goal of the season. After collecting a pass from Gaudette at the point, freshman defenseman Collin Murphy sent a shot down low that Hampton redirected into the back of the net.
The Black Bears would not go away easily, though. Emil Westerlund cut the deficit to 4-2 at the 16:40 mark of the second on a rebound out in front and Brady Keeper scored early in the third on a weak side tap-in goal to bring the Black Bears within one.
Unfortunately for Maine, its comeback effort would fall just short.
Dylan Sikura – who missed out on a spot on the Canadian Olympic team – put the game away with his 11th goal of the season with just 1:24 remaining in regulation. Although he initially appeared to be offside, the senior assistant captain kept a foot on the line before receiving a leading pass from Biagio Lerario that he turned into a breakaway goal.
The Huskies will be back in action at Matthews Arena on Saturday afternoon when they take on the Black Bears at 5 p.m. Josh Brown, Joe Barbito and Max Willner-Giwerc will be on the call, with pregame coverage beginning at 4:45 p.m.