Northeastern made the trip up to Andover, MA Sunday afternoon to conclude their home-and-home with Merrimack. It was the fourth time the teams had played in the last month, courtesy of a last-minute schedule change.
Northeastern, still carrying the momentum from last night’s thrilling come-from-behind win, entered with a ton of energy. The first line of Zach Solow, Grant Jozefek, and newly minted World Juniors gold medalist Sam Colangelo was putting loads of pressure on Merrimack goaltender Troy Kobryn.
The Husky defense was also impressive to start. Top pairing defensemen Jordan Harris and Julian Kislin did well to keep the puck away from the center of the ice in the defensive zone, making goaltender Connor Murphy’s job much easier.
The Merrimack style of dumping the puck into the offensive zone and chasing after it wasn’t working against this strong Northeastern defense, so they shifted things up. The Warriors started trying to find stretch passes to forwards on the blue line; this increased aggression left some Huskies open in the neutral zone, allowing for easier zone entry.
It wasn’t long before Northeastern’s second line got something going. It was a quick sequence, with Jordan Harris working the puck around the boards to Aidan McDonough. McDonough found his linemate Matt DeMelis cutting into the slot with a head of steam, and Demelis scored the one-timer to put the Huskies up.
About a minute later, the Huskies struck again. Riley Hughes skated the puck all the way from the goal line past the blue line, and a rocket was all it took to beat Kobryn again. The Huskies finished the period with a two-goal edge.
The Huskies took the ice for the second period with the same intensity. It didn’t take long for their full-ice pressure to pay off; Kobryn couldn’t control a shot from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine and Dylan Jackson netted the rebound. James Davenport, in his third college game, earned his first point as the secondary assistant. The Huskies led 3–0.
Connor Murphy, still playing between the pipes for Northeastern as Devon Levi recovers from a minor upper body injury, played admirably. His only blemish in the first two periods was a nice Logan Drevitch snipe late in the second period.
Northeastern forward Austin Goldstein headed to the box for interference, and the Huskies ended the second period on the penalty kill. They killed it off with ease in the beginning of the third, and immediately resumed their oppressive offensive pace.
About five minutes in, offsetting penalties yielded about a minute of four-on-four hockey. In the tight confines of Lawler Rink, Sam Colangelo displayed his NHL-level puck handling, weaving in and out of a number of Merrimack skaters and slinging a couple of shots on net.
“We’ve watched him on TV for the past month,” Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan said. “It’s his second college game. So the pace and the tempo, and learning how to play at this level each and every shift, I thought he did really well.”
Kobryn was tested more and more throughout the period as the Northeastern forecheck clamped down on the Merrimack defense. Fontaine created a couple of chances for himself, picking the pocket of the Merrimack defense a few times before turning and firing a quick shot toward the net.
After Murphy fought off a quick breakaway chance, Merrimack’s Filip Forsmark found himself in the box, giving Northeastern their fourth power play. Less than 20 seconds later, Jozefek joined him, marking the third time that a Northeastern penalty ended their own power play.
“The referees were calling a lot today, which is fine,” Madigan said. “The referees set the strike zone, and we didn’t do a good job at adjusting to that strike zone. We had some power plays on calls that probably Merrimack wasn’t happy with, but we should’ve learned how the referee was calling the game, and we didn’t.”
In the four-on-four action that followed, Merrimack clawed back into the game. Mac Welsher was the scorer this time, winning the puck back in the offensive zone and firing a wrister into the top corner.
The scrappy goal added wind to Merrimack’s sails, and the Warriors put even more pressure on the Huskies. Merrimack started to keep Northeastern on their heels, and flung a few shots toward Murphy. The increased pressure exposed a chink in their defense, which Colangelo exploited, getting a one-on-one look against Kobryn. Kobryn kicked Colangelo’s shot away, then neutralized Jozefek’s backhand shot off the rebound.
With under two minutes left to go, a phantom call against Jozefek gave Merrimack their best scoring chance of the afternoon. The Warriors pulled their goaltender, giving them a six-on-four. Down by a goal with under a minute to go, Merrimack threw everything but the kitchen sink at the Huskies, but the penalty kill unit withstood the pressure, the Warriors could not beat Murphy, and the Huskies held on for a 3–2 win.
The Huskies rose to 5–3–2, good for second place in the Hockey East standings behind UMass. Merrimack, having played fewer games and sitting at 1–5–0, is second-to-last.
Northeastern’s next game is at home against Providence at 6 PM on Wednesday. WRBB will call that game, with coverage commencing a few minutes before puck drop.
Northeastern (3–3–2) entered the back half of their weekend series with a sour taste in their mouth after giving up a late lead the night before and falling, 4–3, to UMass Amherst (8–3–1). The Huskies couldn’t avenge that loss Sunday night, as they allowed three first-period goals en route to a 5–3 defeat.
Early on, the Minutemen made the Huskies pay for laxness with the puck, with Jerry Harding scoring his first career goal soon after a Northeastern turnover just two minutes into the first.
Northeastern had a couple of opportunities to get their offense going with some early two-on-twos but were quickly shut down by a stout UMass defense. During an early stretch of four-on-four play Matt Kessel picked the pocket of Dylan Jackson and looked poised for a quality shot on goal before a Julian Kislin tackle set up a penalty shot for the Minutemen.
Northeastern couldn’t stay out of the penalty box in the first period; right after killing one off, they received a minor for too many men and were disadvantaged again. The Huskies struggled to get much offense going early as they were constantly forced unto their back paws by an unrelenting Minutemen attack.
When Northeastern got the man advantage, it could not capitalize. UMass goalie Matt Murray made an incredible glove save off of a rebound attempt from Aidan McDonough, coming all the way across the net to thwart it, halting the Husky power play, and recording the play of the game in the process.
Coming off a huge kill, UMass’s Zac Jones fired a shot from near the blue line, pinging it off the piping into the net, narrowly avoiding three Minutemen who screened Murphy.
Entering the second period with a 3–0 lead, UMass continued to bear down on the Northeastern defense. Two minutes into the period, Carson Gicewicz redirected a shot to net his team’s fourth goal of the game and his eighth of the season.
Two minutes later, senior captain Zach Solow got the Huskies on the board, knocking in a rebound off of a laser from Aidan McDonough.
Northeastern began to look more comfortable in the offensive zone following the Gicewicz goal, setting up sustained attacks on Murray.
“Solow’s goal gave us life,” Madigan said. “In the second and third period I thought we responded, and I think that the third period was our best period.”
Despite not registering another goal in the period, the Huskies showed some real fire following their score. The Minutemen played bend-but-don’t-break on defense for the remainder of the period, not getting many scoring chances but unwilling to give further momentum to Northeastern.
A tripping penalty three minutes into the third period by Minuteman Garrett Wait created another Husky power play. McDonough got revenge on Murray during the man advantage, catching him off-balance and netting his team’s second power-play goal of the evening. It was McDonough’s second multi-point effort of the season.
It seemed as though the Huskies wanted it more than the Minutemen in the second and third, who were playing in their third game in four days.
Northeastern locked down in the third, not giving up a single power-play goal. But Madigan pointed out that there is still much defensive work to be done..
“We defended harder in the second and third period but we have to do that for three periods,” he said. “We have to be heavy on pucks. We have to be heavier at our net front defending, defending earlier and defending harder. Mostly that’s our defensemen but it’s our forwards as well. Until we are ready to make a full commitment to blocking shots all the time and to defending harder at the net and be harder to play against, we are going to have fleeting success.”
With just under six minutes to play and after continued pressure from Northeastern, Dylan Jackson netted his first collegiate goal right in front of the net to pull his team within one.
Madigan pulled his goalie in the game’s final minutes, but Wait notched an empty net goal with 30 seconds remaining to put away the Huskies for good.
The Huskies and Minutemen remain third and first respectively in the Hockey East standings. Northeastern next game is on Friday.
BOSTON — In a Friday night game of oddities, Northeastern left a chance for a huge win go begging as they gave up two rebound goals in the third period to allow No. 9 UMass to waltz out of Matthews Arena with a 4–3 win.
No. 10 Northeastern (3–2–2) set up for the top-ten tilt against the Minutemen (7–3–1) without freshman forward Steven Agriogianis, who sustained an upper body injury. Agriogianis was one of Northeastern’s best players through the first three weeks of the season, with two goals and three assists to his name. Despite his absence, the Huskies started on the right foot.
It’s a new year, but it’s still the same Jordan Harris. The junior scored his third goal of the season with an excellent shot from the slot. This was the first oddity of the night: a shot from Aidan McDonough left UMass’ Cal Kiefiuk down in a heap in their own zone. The officials let the game continue, though, and Harris took advantage to give the Huskies the lead seven minutes in.
A few minutes later, Zach Solow took a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct after shoving and jawing after the whistle, giving the Minutemen a chance to use their elite power-play unit. That unit had converted 12 goals in 46 tries entering Friday’s game, and it didn’t take them long to notch their 13th. The imposing Carson Gicewicz tapped in a loose puck twenty seconds into the power play. It was his seventh goal in the last six games, as the St. Lawrence transfer continued his torrid stretch.
Immediately after the UMass goal, Northeastern took another penalty for a bench minor (served by extra skater Michael Outzen in his first collegiate action). This allowed UMass to continue to build pressure, though nothing came of the power play.
The second period may have been Northeastern’s sloppiest of the season. The power play didn’t string passes together like they did in the first frame and UMass kept Northeastern on the back foot. The Minutemen took advantage, scoring another power-play goal through Garrett Wait. Husky goalie Connor Murphy was caught out of position as Wait strode up from behind the net and ripped his shot to the near post.
“We’ve got to bear down on our power plays and on their power-play goals, we didn’t defend well enough and we can’t go to the box as many times as we did,” Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan said.
Plenty of solid play came in the third period, as Ty Jackson scored his team-leading fifth goal of the year by flicking a pass off the back of UMass goalie Matt Murray to tie the game with 13 minutes to play.
Less than three minutes later, Harris once again gave Northeastern the lead, this time with a howitzer from the point. Ty Jackson won the puck along the boards and fed Harris, who struck it well and beat Murray glove side to give Northeastern the 3–2 lead.
But just as soon as they had taken the lead, they lost it. UMass scored two nearly identical goals off rebounds in front of Murphy. First, Josh Lopina locked up the game at three by diving to tap in a loose puck.
And a few minutes later, Oliver Chau did the same minus the dive to give the Minutemen the 4–3 advantage.
Northeastern kept the pressure up until Jayden Struble took a five-minute major for spearing with a minute to play. Northeastern couldn’t get the puck into the UMass zone, and they left the ice with the loss.
“We’re down 4–3 at the end against good teams like that, we’ve got too many penalties, some warranted, some weren’t, Madigan said. “Some good calls, some bad calls. But that’s the game of hockey. You’ve got to work with it, and we didn’t manage it well when we did get poor calls.”
The two teams tangle again tomorrow in Amherst at 6 PM.
Sunday night’s game started out smoking hot once again for the Huskies, as an early power play set the tone for the early part of the period.
Northeastern had nearly every good opportunity early on as they outmatched Vermont and kept the puck in the offensive zone. The Vermont defense did a good job controlling the pressure of Aidan McDonough and Riley Hughes as they defended some very close scoring opportunities. On the other end, the best scoring chance came early on as Vermont had a three-on-one breakaway that Northeastern goalie Connor Murphy halted.
Soon after Vermont had their first power-play attempt, Julian Kislin made his way into the sin bin for holding. During the power play, Northeastern shot themselves in the foot, as they got called for too many men on the ice when Marco Bozzo entered far too early on a five-on-three.
By the end of first, Vermont more than made up for their lack of offense at the outset. They lacked skill in the Northeastern zone, but got enough pucks in front of the Northeastern edge to earn a slight edge going into the second. If it had been a boxing match, the refs would give round one to the Catamounts. But the scoreless first period meant that there would be no free french fries offered at a Burlington establishment.
Meanwhile, goaltender Tyler Harmon was getting busy in the Catamount net throughout the first half of the game. His strong presence helped keep the game equal as he stymied the Northeastern offense time after time. On the other end, Murphy faced only three strong scoring opportunities, most on breakaways.
The young group of Matt DeMelis, TJ Walsh, and McDonough created some of the best opportunities in the second period. Walsh probably would have snuck one in if not for a spectacular save from Tyler Harmon to keep the game level. This crew seems poised to be a veritable goal-scoring threat through the season if they continue to grow and get more comfortable with each other.
It was a pretty tame game until a Zach Solow fall sparked the Huskies. Northeastern would soon after be assessed their first power play of the period on a tripping call, and a DeMelis tip of a Riley Hughes slapper broke the scoreless tie.
Soon after, Jacques Bouquot finished a rebound of the post to bring Vermont back level. It was one of the Catamounts’ few even-strength goals this year, as the team responded extremely well going into the break.
Early in the third, a muffed clear from Vermont fell to Northeastern’s Ty Jackson, who drove home Northeastern’s fifth power play of the year. The power play has been a strong suit for Northeastern all year and tonight it provided a bevy of their offensive opportunities.
But déjà vu struck, as Vermont quickly tied the game on a Ray Vitolins goal.
The game was pretty sterile for the most part, as solid goalie play kept the game tied 2–2 through the third period. Although it was a back-and-forth affair, it felt Vermont was very much in the game and just couldn’t come up with that much-needed go-ahead goal.
As the game moved through overtime and into a shootout, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine played hero once again as three Connor Murphy saves made him the lone scorer in the shootout. The game goes down as a tie for record purposes, but Northeastern gets two points instead of the typical one point for a tie (and three points for a regular win).
The Northeastern Huskies notched an authoritative come-from-behind win Sunday evening at Merrimack College, winning the second game of the home-and-home, 6–3.
The Warriors (1–3–0) hosted the Huskies (2–0–0) at Lawler Rink, marking the Huskies’ first away game this season. Merrimack, fresh off of a split series with UMass, lost the first game in Matthews Arena, 8–2, and looked to turn things around on their home ice.
Merrimack opened the scoring, as Alex Jefferies put the puck past a well-screened Connor Murphy off of a feed from Pat Holway. The opportunity came during the power play after a tripping call against the Huskies. The Northeastern penalty kill unit couldn’t clear the puck out of their own zone, allowing Merrimack to work the puck around the perimeter before Jefferies found an opening.
Northeastern continued their slow start, struggling to penetrate the offensive zone as Merrimack took the game’s first seven shots. The Huskies didn’t make things any easier for themselves, either, earning three minor penalties within the first 10 minutes.
Time in the box cost Merrimack the previous night’s game, as Northeastern logged four power-play goals. It looked like the same fate would befall the Huskies, as once again Jeffries struck on the power play. This time it was a Logan Drevitch shot that rang the post and bounced to Jefferies. Connor Murphy couldn’t get to the other side of his crease in time, and Jefferies put the Warriors up 2–0.
“We weren’t giving ourselves a chance,” Northeastern Head Coach Jim Madigan said. “First five minutes we had two penalties, and they had one power-play goal. Then the penalties just kept on coming . . . We needed to play smarter.”
Northeastern was still without a single shot on goal when they finally got a power-play chance with just under seven minutes left in the opening period. The Huskies established a rhythm in the offensive zone, and with 10 seconds left on the penalty, Riley Hughes broke through the neutral zone and buried his second goal of the season.
“It gave us some life,” Madigan said. “We needed that goal. We talked about it in one of the timeouts, about cutting the lead in half. Riley had a real second effort there to make it 2–1.”
The Huskies had another opportunity with the man advantage, but couldn’t beat Zachary Borgiel, who made a series of acrobatic stops on some excellent Northeastern shots. Soon before the end of the period, Drevitch found himself on the end of a hit from Northeastern’s Jayden Struble and had to be helped off of the ice by trainers, where he disappeared into the locker room. The Warriors had already lost Patrick Kramer to injury on Saturday night after an ugly collision with the boards. The period ended soon after, with Merrimack leading 2–1.
It didn’t take long before Northeastern ended up back in the penalty box. This time, It was TJ Walsh who was penalized for a slash. However, the Huskies penalty kill clearly made some adjustments during the intermission, as they were much more compact and effective at eating away the penalty time.
After NU killed off the penalty, Merrimack’s Ben Brar was sent into the box for slashing, giving Northeastern a third power-play opportunity. Aidan McDonough cycled the puck up to Jordan Harris at the point, who found a wide open Grant Jozefek lurking on Borgiel’s back post. Jozefek easily put the puck past a still-moving Borgiel, knotting the game up at two.
Just as they had the night before, Northeastern kept their foot on the gas and continued to pressure the Warriors. As a penalty against Merrimack’s Zach Lovett expired, Gunnarwolfe Fontaine dashed down the ice and cooly slid the puck to a following Zach Solow, who zipped the puck right through Borgiel’s five-hole.
Zach Solow was rewarded with not only a goal, but with a 10-minute game misconduct penalty for his actions after the goal. Whether he said something to the referee or one of the Merrimack players was disputed, but regardless, Solow spent the rest of the period in the box.
Northeastern’s defense continued to show out, and used their size to effectively control the neutral zone and keep Merrimack in their own half of the ice. Jeremie Bucheler was a standout physical contributor for the Huskies, as he threw around his 6’1” frame with ease, pinning Warriors skaters against the boards and shunting them off the puck like they were nothing.
After another stellar penalty-killing effort from the Huskies, Steven Agriogianis slid the puck across the ice to Aidan McDonough wide open in the slot with seconds to spare in the period. The sophomore Canucks prospect sniped the top right corner of the net to beat Borgiel glove side.
Early in the third period, Merrimack’s Dominic Dockery took a nasty spill into the boards after a tussle with Gunnarwolf Fontaine for the puck. Dockery was helped into the locker room, and Fontaine was given a five-minute major penalty and an ejection from the game. Northeastern’s penalty kill took this as a challenge, and they were more than up to the task. The Huskies did not allow the Warriors to put a single shot on net for the first two minutes of their power play. Then Merrimack’s Ryan Nolan was sent to the box for interfering with Connor Murphy, leaving both sides with four skaters. Ty Jackson scored his first collegiate point after Agriogianis collected his own rebound and dished the puck to Jackson on the back post.
Merrimack, despite allowing five unanswered goals, proved they were not out of the game yet. Less than thirty seconds after Jackson’s goal, Merrimack’s Conor Lovett scored after the Huskies abandoned him in the slot.
Merrimack sensed the Huskies sleeping on defense and upped the ante on their offensive efforts. Connor Murphy, still between the pipes for Northeastern in Devon Levi’s absence, stood on his head, keeping the lead at two. Merrimack pulled Borgiel with two minutes to go, and after a minute of offensive zone time, Aidan McDonough scored his second goal of the game on an empty net, icing the victory.
“I thought we played solid,” said Madigan of the third period, “Our lines were all jumbled up because of penalties . . . we killed off way too many penalties. We have to address that.” The Huskies were whistled for nine penalties overall, totaling 37 minutes in the box.
Northeastern’s success continues to come from all over the team. Senior captain Zach Solow is expected to produce, but players like Jackson, Fontaine, and Agriogianis, all freshmen, have been contributing too.
“[We were] down 2–0, there was no panic on the bench. The younger guys stuck with it, and the older guys led the way,” Madigan said. “From a coaching perspective, we learned a lot about our guys.”
Northeastern’s net scheduled game is an away series against Vermont on December 26 and 27, though it is possible a game is scheduled for this weekend.
Northeastern’s 2019–20 season began about as well as anyone could have hoped. The Huskies started with a convincing sweep of Union and two signature wins against UMass Amherst and St. Cloud State. However, the Huskies’ fortunes would take a turn for the worse, as heartbreaking losses to teams like Vermont, UNH, and BC placed NU as the seventh seed in the Hockey East playoffs, setting them up to face the Minutemen once again in the quarterfinals.
But as we all know, Northeastern would not play in that series. As the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States with a boisterous fury, Northeastern quietly dissolved into the offseason with questions of what went wrong, instead of what could have been.
There was significant offseason turnover. The Huskies lost key pieces at all three positions, including captain defenseman Ryan Shea, Mr. Bright Lights himself Tyler Madden, and veteran net-minder Craig Pantano. Rounding out the losses are senior forwards Matt Filipe, John Picking, and Brendan van Riemsdyk.
Northeastern emphasized experience going into last season, as seen in their aggressive pursuit of graduate transfers. Pantano and van Riemsdyk, along with the other seniors, contributed to NU’s impressive start and will certainly be missed in the locker room. But despite losing the offensive prowess of Tyler Madden and the veteran leadership from other skaters, this is still a hopeful Huskies squad that will be helped by a second straight top-ten recruiting class in the nation.
This team’s strength is its defense, which is easily the most experienced unit on the roster. As we’ve seen in recent seasons, Northeastern has adopted an aggressive, grind-it-out style with its physically imposing defensemen at the forefront. NU employs multiple counterattacking defensemen who force the issue in the offensive zone. Their leader this year is junior Jordan Harris, who logged three goals and 18 assists last season, including the game-winning overtime goal in the 2020 Beanpot final against Boston University.
Joining Harris is fellow Canadiens’ draft pick Jayden Struble, who will look to rebound after an injury-riddled freshman campaign. Struble’s physical prowess is undeniable, as he finished in the top five of several NHL Combine categories heading in 2019, which helped him get drafted in the second round. Struble will be one of the best athletes on the ice this season, which should prove invaluable for the Huskies as they face draft-pick-filled teams like BC, UMass Amherst, and BU.
Filling out the defensive unit are juniors Julian Kislin and AJ Villella, as well as sophomores Mike Kesselring, Jeremie Bucheler, and Tyler Spott. Coming in at 6’4” and 190 pounds each, Kesselring and Bucheler will bring the physical defensive play they became known for during their freshman years. Freshman defenseman James Davenport will also look to contribute to a deep defensive unit.
The biggest question for the Huskies is consistent scoring from their forwards. Gone are the days of relying on Adam Gaudette and Dylan Sikura to make plays and find the back of the net. In recent years, Northeastern has focused on depth and scoring across all four lines, which has been especially apparent in the Huskies’ two most recent recruiting classes. Northeastern is filled with hardworking forwards who break down opposing defensemen as games go on, but talent will not be the issue with NU’s forwards this season. The real problem will be their lack of college experience.
Returning upperclassmen Grant Jozefek and Zach Solow will provide veteran leadership for NU’s forwards, with the latter unsurprisingly earning the honor to captain this year’s squad. Solow has been a mainstay in NU’s top two lines since he arrived on campus, and displayed invaluable leadership qualities even as a freshman and sophomore. He has a fire that is rare in young players and he can always be counted on to emotionally spark his team on and off the ice. Jozefek shares this passion with Solow, and the two have been a handful for opposing teams whenever they are on the ice together.
Also returning for the Huskies is an impressive group of sophomore forwards, all of whom were members of last year’s top-ten recruiting class. Leading this group is last year’s top freshman goal scorer: Aidan McDonough. McDonough’s offensive abilities were especially potent on the power play, as he logged six goals on the man advantage last season, good for third in the conference. McDonough would often work on the same lines as Solow or Jozefek, which will no doubt continue this season. His elite vision and knack for being in the right place at the right time should come in handy. Returning forwards Matt Demelis, Riley Hughes, TJ Walsh, and Neil Shea should all have larger roles this season.
But all eyes will be on the newcomers for the Huskies, led by USHL teammates Sam Colangelo and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine. Both were selected in the 2020 NHL Draft, with Colangelo going to the Anaheim Ducks in the second round and Fontaine heading to the Nashville Predators in the seventh round. The two connected often on goals for the Chicago Steel and will look to continue their record production.
Colangelo will look to be the primary cog in this year’s attack. The Stoneham native is a gravity well who attracts opposing defensemen no matter where he is on the ice. Colangelo’s stick skills and elite vision should allow him to set up his teammates and find the back of the net often. At 6’2”, his size will also allow him to compete in front of goal against some of the best defensemen in Hockey East.
Fontaine will prove to be a valuable two-way forward, as he excels at back-checking and covering his defenders during counterattacks. Brothers Dylan and Ty Jackson complete the tremendous freshman forward class and will look to contribute on the third and fourth lines.
Northeastern’s most important addition may be goaltender Devon Levi, who will look to fill the massive shoes left by Cayden Primeau and Craig Pantano. The French-Canadian netminder is a bit undersized at just under 6 feet tall, but his agility and puck tracking have allowed for his meteoric rise. Levi’s stock skyrocketed last year as he posted a 1.47 goals against average and 0.941 save percentage for Carleton Place Canadians in the CCHL, both of which were easily the best in the league. Levi’s impressive season undoubtedly put him on every NHL team’s radar and led to the Florida Panthers drafting him in the seventh round of the 2020 NHL Draft, despite the team drafting BC goalie Spencer Knight in the first round a year prior. Connor Murphy and Nick Scarpa complete the goalie room for NU.
The most important stretch for NU this season may be from January 22 to February 13. During that month, Northeastern will take on New Hampshire and Connecticut in home-and-home series, while also facing off against Maine twice at Matthews Arena. Those three teams have given the Huskies fits in recent years, and given how close the Hockey East standings will be, winning any less than four of those six games could spell disaster for Northeastern.
Bottom Line: The Huskies will go as far as their impressive freshmen can carry them. Transition to college will be difficult, especially given the abnormal season, but their overwhelming talent alone may be enough to win a decent number of games this season. If Northeastern can start strong, they will position themselves nicely to host a playoff series come March.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Anaheim Ducks nabbed Sam Colangelo with the 36th pick in the NHL Entry Draft, making him the highest Northeastern selection since Jamie Oleksiak in 2011. He was also the first Hockey East player selected this year and the first college player off the board in the second round.
It was, he says, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. But Anaheim can wait for now. Colangelo, who grew up about 25 minutes from Matthews Arena, has some local hockey left to play first.
Sam Colangelo’s ties to Northeastern don’t end with his nearby upbringing in Stoneham, MA. They don’t end with his reunion with high school teammate Neil Shea, or with high school and USHL teammate Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, or with summer skating partner Aidan McDonough. The roots run even deeper; he’s skated with Jayden Struble, Jordan Harris, and Riley Hughes since they were all five or six years old.
He had an actual relationship with Northeastern early on, too. It was the first college he visited, back at the age of 14.
“I was still in middle school and I didn’t even know where I was going to high school yet, so it was pretty crazy,” Colangelo told WRBB. “I love being in a city. Obviously Northeastern is a great school as well. So it was kind of a no-brainer for me. I kind of fell in love with the school right away.”
Northeastern Associate Head Coach Jerry Keefe, who spearheads the team’s recruiting, told us the feeling was mutual.
“I’ve known Sam since he was about 11 years old . . . and he was just a little guy back then,” Keefe recalls. “When he was a 14, 15-year-old he started to pop hard. He was always a good skater, but then all of a sudden, the pop in his legs came. He started to become a more powerful skater. He was always really smart, and then he started to play the game faster.”
“Coach Keefe was straightforward with me on what I needed to work on,” Colangelo remembers. “He believed in me from the start and I always trusted him from the start. He’s a great guy and a great offensive style coach, and that’s my game . . . I just thought [the coaches] knew my game better than anyone else.”
Colangelo was also attracted by the experiences of former Huskies — including Adam Gaudette and Dylan Sikura — who the Huskies developed into NHL-quality talents. But there was yet another draw for the local kid: a little hockey tournament in early February, one he attended every year growing up.
“When you’re a young kid and you commit to a Beanpot school, everyone talks about ‘Oh, you’re gonna play in the Beanpot!’” Colangelo says with a grin. “That was when I was 15; I’m almost 19 now, and realizing I’m going to be playing in TD Garden hopefully pretty soon is a cool thing to think about. Going to it every year growing up, I was always dreaming about playing in it.”
After sharing a line with Neil Shea at Lawrence Academy, Colangelo and Gunnarwolfe Fontaine hopped to the Chicago Steel of the USHL. Colangelo tied for third in the league in points and goals, and the team was on pace to break numerous league records en route to a championship. But COVID-19 didn’t care, and the season shut down in mid-March, leaving Colangelo to shift his focus to the NHL draft earlier than he’d anticipated.
“I was able to meet with some teams in person, but I was supposed to go to the NHL combine when you do all the interviews with the GMs and stuff like that, which would have been a cool experience,” he tells us. “I ended up having to do it basically the same way I’m doing this right now: sitting in front of my computer.”
But even if Zoom calls dulled the pre-draft experience, it couldn’t dull the emotion when the moment finally came.
“I’m an only child,” he says. “And [my parents] invested so much in me and I’m excited to see how happy they are. I definitely wouldn’t be here without them.”
Sam Colangelo is one of the most promising players Northeastern has seen in years. Though he’ll likely still be 18 years old when the season kicks off, the 6’2”, 208-pound forward will be one of the strongest players in Hockey East.
“He’s a big, powerful guy with skill,” Keefe observes. “So he’ll end up being a power forward with a great stick that has great vision.” Keefe also noted his goal scoring and all-around offensive game, saying “we’re expecting big things from him right away.”
Colangelo cited his hockey IQ and shot as strengths, and mentioned that he’s worked hard to boost his speed over the last few years. But his biggest strength might be his elite vision and playmaking; he excels at being in the right place at the right time, and consistently creates offensive opportunities for teammates. But he acknowledged that he’d like to improve his first three steps and, though he’s a stronger defender now, he wants to be the sort of player his coaches can trust in all three zones.
“I’m definitely a hockey junkie,” he says. “I love the game and I’ll do whatever it takes to get to the next level.”
Keefe cited Colangelo’s down-low game as a key area to improve, noting its importance for NHL-caliber forwards. But he’s already psyched about the offensive possibilities Colangelo can help the Huskies unlock.
“We want to work hard to get the puck back, but when we do get it back, we want to go to work offensively,” he explains. “Any time we can get someone with really good hockey sense and hockey IQ offensively, it really does fit into the style we want to play. And he skates really well for a big guy. We want to play fast in transition and he fits that mold.”
When asked about his favorite current NHL player comparisons, Colangelo mentioned several offensive power forwards, including Charlie Coyle, Kasperi Kapanen, and Mark Scheifele, but noted that the list doesn’t stop there: “I could probably sit here and name 10 to 15 guys that I’ve watched all their shifts from the season. In Chicago, we’ve watched film every single day. And there are a lot of guys I like to just take bits and pieces from their games and keep that in mind.”
Colangelo sees himself as a true all-around player, which has often been echoed in profiles from NHL experts and draft analysts. One cited Colangelo’s “bulldozing strength and near pathological need to shoot the puck” with accurate, powerful snapshots and wristers. Another lauded his strength, which gives him not only scoring range and accuracy, but makes him powerful enough to hold off defenders, throw checks, snag loose pucks, and muscle into corners, the slot, and the crease. They acknowledged, as does he, that his speed and acceleration are improving but remain a work in progress, especially given his professional potential. He also excels at clogging passing lanes, creating zone exits, stifling opponents on the penalty kill, distributing to teammates, picking corners from distance and bad angles, and securing the puck while handling.
For a Huskies team that lost leading scorer Tyler Madden to the pros this offseason — plus two of their top point men to graduation — the offensive boost is a must-have.
For the next few days, Colangelo and teammate Jayden Struble will be in Michigan for the US National Junior Team Evaluation Camp, which is used to gauge players for next year’s National Junior Team. If Colangelo can make it, he’ll follow in the footsteps of his friend Jordan Harris, as well as former Huskies Tyler Madden and Cayden Primeau.
“My birthday is December 26, and that’s when the World Juniors start every year,” he says. “Since I was a little kid, I’d always wake up the day after Christmas, it would be my birthday, and I got to watch World Juniors. That was my favorite tournament to watch growing up.
“If I have a chance to make that team, I’m gonna go there and work my hardest and hopefully have a chance. To go with Jayden is awesome as well. I know we both worked hard for this. And we’re both super excited to get there.”
But for now, Colangelo is, in many respects, just like any other Northeastern freshman, taking classes online and limiting in-person socializing due to COVID-19 safety protocols. Though his first puck drop at Matthews Arena likely won’t arrive until late November, his eyes are trained on the prizes already.
“We have the same three goals every year,” he states bluntly. “Beanpot, Hockey East, national championship. If you don’t win all three of those there’s definitely some stuff left on the table.”
And as for moving from the USHL to Hockey East, where he’ll face players up to six years older than him?
“I’m a pretty confident kid and I think my game will adjust well,” he offers. “I’m not really the type of kid who gets nervous. I get excited and let the adrenaline take over.”
— It was do or die time for Northeastern as they took a five-game losing streak
into their regular season finale against Boston University. And to no one’s
surprise, things were tense (and a little weird) from the very beginning.
The Huskies began the game on the penalty kill after backup goalie Curtis Frye was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Frye lifted a cross-ice shot during warmups that struck a BU player, which caused the referees to review the “play” just before puck drop. Because of the penalty call, senior forward Grant Jozefek spent the first two minutes on the sin bin while BU started the game on the power play. Despite a less than ideal start, the Huskies responded well in the first period and easily killed off the penalty.
responded in a big way just six minutes after the penalty kill, as a
well-constructed power play goal gave them the early lead. The Huskies combined
excellent puck movement with great positioning as Aidan McDonough finished off
a pass from Grant Jozefek. Northeastern controlled play for the rest of the
period and headed into the first intermission with a one-goal advantage.
some nice Northeastern chances throughout the second period, BU controlled the
majority of play. The best chance for Northeastern came about 15 minutes into
the period, as Matt Filipe nearly found fellow forward Neil Shea on a
breakaway, though the pass trickled just wide of Shea’s stick.
Huskies held their lead after two periods despite a late-period scare. With
just 20 seconds left in the frame, BU forward Trevor Zegras sent a long-range
shot on Pantano, who had difficulty holding onto the puck. With both teams
fighting for the puck to the immediate right of Pantano, BU defenseman Cam
Crotty eventually redirected the puck into the net. However, it was determined
after a lengthy review that Crotty interfered with Pantano, causing the goal to
be waved off and allowing NU to escape the second frame with the 1–0 lead.
an admittedly sluggish second period, the Huskies found their grove once again
just 43 seconds into the third frame, as Matt Filipe finished a rebound off a
long-range drive from defenseman Ryan Shea.
Huskies’ momentum was short-lived, however. BU responded with their own goal just
three minutes later when senior forward Patrick Harper sent in a bullet from
the near face-off dot. Despite the goal light going off, play continued for the
next two minutes with the referees saying the shot had not gone in. A review of
the play determined what everyone already knew — the Husky lead was down to one.
their season on the line, Northeastern did what they do best: block shots and
clog shooting lanes. Despite some nice chances for BU, the Huskies maintained
their lead for the rest of regulation. Northeastern combined impressive defense
with timely offense, as the Huskies enjoyed several stretches of offensive zone
time to further drain the clock.
BU would not go quietly, however, as with just 1:44 left Northeastern was called for a tripping penalty, giving BU a man advantage for the rest of regulation. The Terriers turned it into a two-man advantage, playing the entire power play with goalie Sam Tucker on the bench. Despite the six-on-four Terrier advantage, Northeastern held its own defensively, as BU would have virtually no chances on the power play. Matt Filipe cleared the puck for the final time as the Husky bench celebrated the breaking of a five-game losing skid with an intense 2–1 victory over their crosstown rivals.
thought our kids played a gutty, tough, and determined game,” coach Jim Madigan
said. “We wanted to make sure that we earned our way into the playoffs and just
not backed into it and tonight’s win was that.”
Ryan Shea echoed his coach’s thoughts, saying, “We didn’t want to leave it up
to chance. We didn’t want to risk our season and watch them [UNH] at 7 o’clock
. . . We just wanted to get the job done ourselves.”
is a building we haven’t had much success in over the years,” Madigan said of
Agganis Arena. The Huskies avenged their 6–3 defeat at Agganis earlier this
year while playing in front of one of the Terriers’ largest crowds this season.
On Pantano’s performance, Madigan explained, “I thought he was really dialed in today. He was tracking pucks well and getting the puck out of the crease. I also thought our guys defended well, getting in front of shots and limiting BU’s opportunities.” Madigan said the team understood how dominant Boston University can be offensively, noting “With these guys [Patrick Harper, Trevor Zegras, Patrick Curry] you can just try to contain them and hope that they don’t get the opportunities where they can get going.”
win places Northeastern (18–13–3, 11–12–1 HEA) in seventh place in Hockey East
to finish the regular season and gives them a spot in the Hockey East
Tournament. Northeastern will have a quarterfinals series away at UMASS Amherst
next weekend, with the game times still to be announced. The Huskies are 1–2
against the Minutemen this season, with both losses coming on the road.
Northeastern will have its work cut out for them if they are going to truly
turn their season around, though this win gives them the confidence boost they
will need to have any chance.
It was a game Northeastern could hardly afford to lose, and
they just might pay dearly for it.
The Huskies took the ice Friday night fully aware of the
stakes that awaited them. They sat tied for seventh place in the tightest
playoff race Hockey East has ever seen, with just four games left to ensure a
top-eight finish and the resulting playoff berth. They looked to rebound from
their worst beatdown since 1992, a 10–1 shellacking from Boston College in their
They didn’t. If anything, Friday’s loss might have been more
disappointing. Against the Vermont Catamounts, the only winless team in a
Hockey East season of record parity, the Huskies faltered, dropping the contest
The Catamounts didn’t even wait two minutes before recording
the game’s first tally, with Alex Esposito beating Husky goalie Craig Pantano
top shelf off a feed from Matt Alvaro.
The rest of the first period belonged to Stefanos Lekkas,
Vermont’s senior goaltender. Alex Mella and Matt Thomson try to stuff shots
home? Nope. Matt Filipe smoothly swerves from the neutral zone to the doorstep
for a point-blank look? Nope. Zach Solow on a breakaway 10 seconds later?
Jordan Harris wrister? Point-blank push from John Picking?
Numerous passes tossed into the slot and a pair of two-on-ones? No, no, no, and
Some chances were worse than others, but there were chances,
and Lekkas erased them. After one momentum-killing save with 2:39 to go, he laid
flat on his back on the goal line, hands by his head, as if to catch his
breath. He saved 12 shots in the period to Pantano’s nine, and despite
Northeastern leading by two in shots, they trailed 1–0 after the first period.
Lekkas entered the evening with 3,816 career saves, the most
in Hockey East history. During Friday’s game he moved into eighth place on the
NCAA’s all-time list. But he wasn’t invincible, and Huskies cracked him almost
immediately after the first intermission.
A little more than a minute in, a scramble for the puck behind
Lekkas drew five skaters below the goal line and de-congested the offensive
zone. When Aidan McDonough won the scrum and forced the puck through to Matt
DeMelis in the high slot, Lekkas went to his knees anticipating a DeMelis
one-timer. But DeMelis had other ideas, sliding a pass to a wide open Biagio
Lerario at the bottom of the right dot for the one-timer that evened the score.
Vermont, not content with a tie, upped its aggressiveness
and pushed into the Huskies’ zone. After a Pantano save had the puck sitting
loose in the crease for what seemed like an eternity, Vermont’s Andrew Lucas
tried to stuff it home and thought he had, but the puck just barely stayed off
the goal line.
No matter; a faceoff in the Catamounts’ offensive zone led
to Esposito’s second goal of the night — and fifth of the season — just ten
Two minutes later came another. Frequent turnovers by both
teams in the neutral zone led to a Vermont rush before Northeastern could set
its defense. William Lemay fielded the puck at the center of the left dot and
rifled it to captain Derek Lodermeier, who launched a missile past Pantano to
make it 3–1.
Vermont’s passing was crisp, their movement smooth, their
aggression apparent. When the Huskies turned up their aggression in the back
half of the period, it backfired. A point-blank shot by Northeastern’s Tyler
Spott was met by a full-body save from Lekkas, at which point most Husky skaters
were deep toward the goal. The Catamounts sprung into transition; Ace Cowans
moved largely unimpeded through the neutral zone to the left dot before slapping
the puck into the top corner for Vermont’s fourth score.
About a minute later, what had been a strikingly calm, clean,
penalty-free game took a sharp turn when a puck in close resulted in most of
the players on the ice rushing the goal as Pantano threw his body on the puck. The
pileup yielded a bit of extracurricular shoving, and McDonough and Vermont’s
Max Kaufman headed to the penalty box with coincidental penalties for hitting
after the whistle. Matt Alvaro also drew a roughing penalty, giving the Huskies
the evening’s first power play with two minutes to go in the period.
Northeastern subbed in its top line for the man advantage but
attempted just two shots, neither of which had much of a chance. The Huskies
moved deliberately and struggled to open up passing angles. The Catamounts
outshot the Huskies by just one in the second period, but the gigantic
disparity in shot quality yielded a 3–1 scoring margin and a 4–1 lead.
The third period began on a strong foot for the Huskies, as
McDonough chased down a loose puck in the corner and fed a cutting DeMelis for
a nifty score.
The Huskies were aggressive in stretches during the third period
but tried just eight shots and didn’t put any past Lekkas’ pads. Besides a couple
of narrowly avoided Vermont empty-net goals, the third period passed without
“Disappointing game for us. We didn’t
have the consistent 60-minute game,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan observed.
Madigan also spoke of the Huskies’ failure to execute their “identity plays.”
“Chipping pucks in below their goal
line. We turned two pucks over at the blue line because we didn’t want to put
it down low,” he said. “We blew a faceoff play assignment that we just went
over at meal today. When you have those mental mistakes, and there was three of
them . . . you’re going to come out on the short end.”
Pantano allowed four goals for the second straight game, and
the 34–33 shot margin would seem to implicate him heavily in the loss. But he
can hardly be blamed for letting in some of the uncontested rockets Vermont
launched his way.
Northeastern’s third consecutive loss dropped them to 17–11–3
(10–10–1 HEA) and kept them tied for seventh place in Hockey East, albeit with
one less game in hand. Vermont’s first conference win was their first of 2020
and their fourth of the season. The teams rematch Saturday at 7 PM EST, with
the stakes still sky-high.
“We’re running out of runway here,”
Madigan remarked. “We’ve got three games left and we’re in a playoff battle and
I don’t know if the guys have understood the sense of urgency we’re at. They’ve
heard it enough, but they’re not reacting and responding enough to the urgency
of the situation we’re in.
“If I’m a player and I see where we are
in the standings and I’m a senior and my career is winding down, there’s a
sense of urgency. So they’ve got to take some stock in themselves and as a
group we’ve got to come together tomorrow night.”
30 years, to three in a row, Northeastern is a Beanpot dynasty.”
That was our final call on air Monday night as the Northeastern Huskies raised the Beanpot trophy for the third time in as many years. It was a moment that Husky players, coaches, fans, and yes, even radio guys, will never forget, and it just might be the greatest moment in Northeastern hockey history.
is not the first team to win three Beanpots in a row; that honor goes to the
1963–65 Boston College squads. Nor is the Huskies’ streak the longest; for that
we look to Boston University’s six consecutive titles from 1995 to 2000. Northeastern’s
three-peat is the ninth in Beanpot history and the first by a team not named BC
or BU. But make no mistake, this hat trick is as historic as they come, and its
countless moments remind us why we love sports and why we love calling games
for this team.
broke its 30-year Beanpot drought in 2018, pulling out victories against
perennial powerhouses BC and BU. The Huskies were led by the best top line in
the country, and possibly team history — Nolan Stevens, Dylan Sikura, and
eventual Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette. The trio showed up in the biggest
game of their lives, and a hat trick from Gaudette propelled the Huskies to a 5–2
win over their cross-town rivals and sent TD Garden into a frenzy.
whole night was unforgettable, but perhaps the most popular image was of a fan
in the crowd holding a sign — it turned out to be an XXXXL t-shirt — that simply
read, “I can graduate in peace.” Flashes of Gaudette parading the Beanpot
trophy around TD Garden danced through the minds of Husky fans for weeks to
come after that first Beanpot win. None of them could fathom the run that was
year later, Northeastern flexed its muscles and asserted itself as one of the
premier programs in college hockey. It began in the semifinal against BU, when,
less than a minute into overtime, Tyler Madden arrived in dramatic fashion.
In the post-game press conference, I grabbed a mic and sheepishly asked the freshman forward, “How were you able to stay so calm with everything on the line?” At the podium, Madden simply nodded, leaned forward, and announced, “Well, there were bright lights out there tonight, and I shine in those.” Thus was born the legend of Mr. Bright Lights.
week later, Northeastern retained their trophy with a win over BC. Despite leaping
out to a 3–0 lead, Northeastern, ever content to give its fans a show, let
Boston College storm back in the third period to make the score 3–2 late in
regulation. But the Huskies had been here before. Struggling to maintain their
narrow lead, the Huskies found another gear, and with a late push and an even
later goal, hung on to become back-to-back Beanpot champions.
goalie and future NHL player Cayden Primeau shone during the 2019 tournament, allowing
just three goals in two games between the pipes and winning the Eberly Award
and Tournament MVP. The team went on to secure the Hockey East title and break
the Northeastern single-season win record.
the Huskies weren’t done, as just a year later, they found themselves in the
Beanpot Championship again after a 3–1 semifinal victory over Harvard. The
final promised to be a heated affair, as Northeastern faced a BU team fresh off
a thrilling 5–4 overtime upset victory over BC in the semifinal.
It was a nightmare start for the Huskies, as BU forwards Jake Wise and Trevor Zegras each scored in the first eight minutes to stun the Huskies right out of the gate. The score held for the next 12 minutes, and the Huskies headed to the locker room searching for answers.
came out buzzing in the second period, as sophomore forward Tyler Madden
brought NU within one with a perfectly placed wrister from the slot. Talented freshman
Aidan McDonough evened the game just three minutes later, but the Huskies
weren’t done there.
eight minutes gone, consecutive BU penalties gave Northeastern a five-on-three.
After a remarkable passing display, junior forward Zach Solow scored to give
Northeastern a 3–2 lead, all on the first power play, meaning NU would kept a
man advantage after the goal.
they took full advantage. One minute after Solow’s goal, senior forward Grant
Jozefek notched Northeastern’s fourth straight goal after an incredible
individual effort. 4–2 Northeastern.
taking full control of the game, Northeastern didn’t let up in the second
period and brought a whole new meaning to “close but no cigar.” One of the
craziest plays of the game came just minutes after the Huskies’ fourth goal, as
Zach Solow found himself with the puck and an open net just in front of him.
While facing away from the net, Solow attempted a backhanded shot that
ricocheted off the near post, somehow crossed the goal-line to hit the second
post, and ricocheted out of the crease. Husky fans’ mouths dropped as the TD
Garden replay showed the puck soaring perfectly over the goal-line while
remaining nanometers away from counting as a goal.
second near-miss came a few minutes later, as Northeastern again found
themselves on a breakaway. A close-range shot from Madden was popped into the
air, deflected twice, and seemed destined to float over BU goalie Sam Tucker
for Northeastern’s fifth score of the period. But freshman forward Robert
Mastrosimone came to the Terriers’ rescue and batted the midair puck out of the
the hectic second period ended, and both teams headed to their locker rooms to
prepare for a third period that no one could have anticipated.
two minutes into the third, BU began its comeback with David Farrance’s
brilliantly placed shot from the left dot. With the lead shrunk to one, both teams
desperately tried to grab the palpable momentum that pervaded the game, and in
one of the most insane regulation finishes in Beanpot history, the hockey gods
had one more trick up their sleeves.
just a minute remaining in the third period, BU pulled its goalie to give them
a man advantage. The Terriers used it well, peppering Northeastern netminder Craig
Pantano with shot after shot. Despite the rapid opportunities, the NU defense
remained strong, turning away chance after chance. That is, until Trevor Zegras
just 1.2 seconds remaining, Zegras found the puck just to the right of Pantano
and threw everything he had into a backhanded shot that wound up in the back of
the net. With bated breath, Husky fans quickly turned their gaze from BU
celebrating to the clock overhead that showed a few tenths left, and although many
didn’t want to admit it, everyone in the stadium knew that the Beanpot final
would be headed to overtime.
the game, Northeastern players were asked about their thoughts when BU tied the
game. Head coach Jim Madigan interjected, “Well, the coaches were saying WTF .
teams returned to the ice for an initial five-minute overtime period. The
Terriers kept the momentum from Zegras’ goal, earning chance after chance, but
Northeastern’s defense stayed strong enough to keep the game even and give both
teams a much-needed break before the 20-minute second overtime.
looked around the locker room and saw no panicked faces,” senior defenseman and
team captain Ryan Shea said. “Everyone was just focused on their game and was
ready to go.”
overtime was a defensive struggle, with both teams trading chances. That is,
until Shea pulled off a remarkable hustle play to draw a holding penalty with
just about six minutes remaining in the overtime frame to give the Huskies a two-minute
power play. And that was all they needed.
With 5:27 to go and under 30 seconds remaining on the power play, sophomore defenseman Jordan Harris collected the puck near the blue line in the offensive zone. With his eyes fixed on the goal and the trophy, Harris coolly skated into the slot and let a shot fly. With Zach Solow planted in front of BU goalie Sam Tucker, the puck soared through the air, through the crowd, and into the back of the net.
Harris and his teammates flung their gloves and sticks into the air and sprinted down to the other end to mob Pantano. TD Garden erupted, and I mean erupted. Twelve full sections of Northeastern students and countless more in the arena screamed and cheered as the improbability of the Huskies’ accomplishment sank in.
said that if we get the puck near the blue line to push it to the middle and
get a shot on net,” Harris said. “Hopefully a lane opens up, which it did, and
I took my opportunity, and luckily it paid off.”
The Eberly Award for best goaltender of the tournament went to Pantano, who recorded 40 saves in the championship game. Pantano grew up watching the Beanpot as a local Massachusetts kid, and continued to watch during his time just north of us at Merrimack College. This was his only opportunity to make his own mark on this historic tournament, and when it mattered most, he didn’t blink.
Solow was crowned MVP for his two-goal performance. Though his stats speak for
themselves, it’s Solow’s on-ice tenacity and off-ice leadership that have
impressed Husky fans and coaches.
perhaps his greatest trait is this: he doesn’t know what it means to lose a
Beanpot game. None of Northeastern’s juniors do either. After three decades of
heartbreaking losses, gutsy performances to no avail, and seeing another team lift
that pot of beans, Northeastern has achieved all-time greatness in Boston’s
most personal and meaningful sports tournament.
heart-attack Huskies had the added benefit of pulling out their improbable win
in front of 17,850 fans, the largest crowd in Beanpot history. BU fans made
their mark, but it was the Northeastern faithful who truly took over TD Garden
(as they have for years) and made it Northeastern’s home away from home. In the
past three seasons, Northeastern is 8–1 there. The bright lights were out on
Monday night, and the Huskies shine in those.
was a great Beanpot game; I’ve seen a lot of them over the years,” Madigan
said. “Congratulations to our players . . . they’ve set the bar incredibly high
for this program and they’ve represented the school well.”
“The winning culture that we’ve built — along with the guys before us — has been everything,” Shea noted. “I came to Northeastern to win a Beanpot, and now we’ve got three of them.”
was a distinct theme throughout the postgame press conference: “Never forgot their
roots.” Northeastern has 14 Massachusetts natives on its roster, all of whom
grew up watching the Beanpot and dreamt of winning it someday. Milton,
Massachusetts resident Jim Madigan praised two Huskies who also grew up there —
Ryan Shea and Aidan McDonough, who had an impressive four-point performance in
the Championship game.
“I had [McDonough] at my house during the Stanley Cup when he was nine,” said Madigan. “I’ve known him a long time and he’s grown into a great young man, and an even better hockey player . . . we’re a Mass team now.
young men have separated themselves from every other team in the 90-year
history of this program,” Madigan said. When asked about a potential four-peat,
Madigan smiled, shook his head, and said, “I think we’re just going to enjoy
a personal note, thank you to everyone involved with Northeastern hockey. This
has been a truly incredible ride that thousands of people — alumni old and new,
current freshmen, family — have loved being a part of.
And to my WRBB Sports family, thank you for everything. There are so many people who deserve to be a part of this run, and I like to believe that everyone at WRBB, past and present, was a crucial part of this broadcast. Like Jim Madigan said, I think I’m just going to enjoy this for a little while.