— 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.
— Northeastern began their Friday night hopeful
that they could beat Boston University on home ice, then go to Agganis Arena
the next day and overtake the Terriers in the Hockey East standings. They ended
the night realizing that wasn’t going to happen.
The Terriers came to
Matthews Arena Friday night and thoroughly beat the Huskies, 3–0. After
surviving an up-tempo first period, Northeastern conceded a goal to BU’s
Patrick Curry with 7:11 elapsed in the second period. Husky goaltender Craig
Pantano stuffed the initial shot by BU center Jake Wise, but Curry slid the
rebound under Pantano’s pads.
The Huskies attempted to rebound
but instead conceded again, this time to a Cam Crotty redirect with 14:26 gone
in the second.
had a decent first period, and then second and third period we didn’t generate
much offense,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan observed. “They got up 2–0; we
didn’t respond well enough.”
The Huskies went into the
second intermission down two goals and in desperate need of a better offensive
effort. That didn’t happen, as Terrier center Wilmer Skoog put one past Pantano
to give BU a 3–0 advantage.
Northeastern simply lacked
the offense to cut into the deficit. While senior forward Grant Jozefek
returned after missing last week’s doubleheader due to injury, the continued absence
of leading goal scorer Tyler Madden (day-to-day with a hand injury) was noticeable. Madigan, however, refused to blame Madden’s absence for the
team’s offensive struggles.
“Other guys need to
step up,” he said before channeling his inner Rick Pitino. “Tyler Madden, he’s
not walking through the doors right now . . . we’ve got enough in that room to
create some offense; it’s up to those guys to create offense.”
On the opposite side of the
puck, David Farrance continued his run of dominance. The star defenseman played
well all night and notched an assist on all three BU goals.
Despite the disappointing loss,
Northeastern still controls its own playoff destiny. If the Huskies beat BU on
Saturday in their last regular-season game, they guarantee themselves a spot in
the Hockey East Tournament. If they don’t, they will make the tournament only
if Boston College beats or ties New Hampshire tomorrow.
Christian Skroce and Adam
Doucette will call the game from Agganis Arena, with coverage beginning around
3:45 PM EST.
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for the Huskies. After
losing star sophomore forward Tyler Madden to injury, the Huskies dropped two
games against first-place Boston College, including their worst loss since
1992. After losing senior Grant Jozefek to injury in the second BC game, the
Huskies were swept by last-place Vermont.
The Huskies look to rebound with a home-and-home against
Boston University this weekend. Both games are critical, as the Huskies — who
sit in eighth place, one point ahead of New Hampshire — need to finish in the
top eight to make the Hockey East Tournament.
The Friday game begins at 7 PM, the Saturday game at 4 PM.
WRBB will call both games, with Matt Neiser and Adam Doucette on the Friday
game and Christian Skroce and Adam Doucette on the Saturday contest. Both
broadcasts will go live about 15 minutes before game time.
WRBB Sports caught up with head coach Jim Madigan and captain Ryan Shea at Northeastern’s Wednesday practice at Matthews Arena.
I saw in your
postgame press conferences that you were down to ten forwards. How is Jozefek
Jozefek is day-to-day and we’re hoping he can play on Friday. He skated yesterday, he skated today, he looks good. So he’s getting close. Madden’s getting close, but he probably won’t go on Friday.
How’s the morale of the team?
We’re not a fragile group. We’ve lost four in a row; we
haven’t lost four in a row all season. And Vermont was an emotional game for
them up there. It was their coach’s last weekend, their senior night, and they’d
been playing well. We’re not looking at it as “we just lost two games to the
last-place team.” They’re a good team. Every team in this league is a good
But I think when people see that we’ve lost four in a row and we lost to Vermont they think that it’s doom and gloom here. Certainly there are things we need to clean up and get better at, but we’ve had two real good practices here yesterday and today. We got back to some fundamentals and some basics yesterday and today and we’re excited about the opportunity to play on Friday. We still control our own destiny in terms of the playoffs. We’re a point ahead of New Hampshire for that eighth spot; we play BU here at home [which] is a very good team and is a rival for us. Expect our guys to be ready.
Was that the message
this week to the team, that there’s still a lot in front of you despite the way
things have gone the last couple games?
What happened the last two weekends is in the rearview
mirror. [We need to] learn from those situations, but it’s all about what’s in
front of us, the opportunity to make the playoffs, playing well this weekend,
focus in on Friday and be ready to play BU. We’ve played well at home all
And it’s BU. It’s going to be an emotional game. The last
time we played them was the Beanpot. So we know they’re going to be hungry.
They’re fighting for a playoff seeding more than a spot. We’re in a spot where
we can not just sneak into the playoffs, but if we play well this weekend we
could move up in the standings. So there’s a lot to play for.
You’ve talked a lot
in the last couple of weeks about the leadership of your veteran guys at a time
like this. What is it you’re expecting from them to push this team back to
where it can go?
To lead. To let their actions show on the ice. Make sure that — there’s going to be adversity as there is in every game — they get us through those tougher times in a game. Be a difference maker. I thought last weekend on the back end Ryan Shea tried to be a difference maker. Matty Filipe scored a big goal for us to get us going on that second night. We can play better when we score that first goal. Last time we played BU we were down 2–0 after one and came back.
Those guys need to step up and show the way for the younger
guys. Since the Lowell game they’ve been playoff-type games, so this is the
biggest game of the season because it’s the second-to-last game of the regular
Looking ahead to BU, what
have you seen from them since the last time you guys faced off, and what are
some strengths and weaknesses you’re looking forward to?
Their strengths are — and we’ve seen them a couple of times on video since we played them — they’re great in transition. They’re fast, they want to play fast, they want to score off the rush. You can’t turn pucks over in the neutral zone because [Trevor] Zegras and some of their forwards are just too good in transition that way.
And they jump up into the play. [David] Farrance is leading the league [and the nation] in scoring from the defender [position]. He’s up in the play a lot. So we’ve got to manage pucks, we’ve got to play in their zone, we’ve got to get pucks below the goal line and make them defend, and forecheck as much as we can.
So what do you do as
a senior right now? What are you trying to say to your teammates?
Everyone knows where we are right now. UNH is playing well —
obviously they’ve got a tough opponent in BC — but my message is if we play the
way we know how to play against BU — we beat them in the past and we played them
well even when we lost — but we just gotta get to the playoffs because once you
get to the playoffs it’s a whole new season.
Before I came in, when they won Hockey East the first time, they
had to beat Notre Dame and they had to beat all these top teams and they beat UMass
Lowell in the championship. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, being an underdog.
I think that’s honestly a positive for us, because it’s kind of gives us a chip
on our shoulder that we need right now that.
You mentioned you beat
them before; that was a pretty emotional ending. Any concerns that you know
they’ll be carrying into this weekend series?
Right now both teams are on losing streaks. They lost to
UConn, Merrimack, and BC and we got swept the last two weekends, but they’re going
to be pretty upset because of the Beanpot and especially how it ended with the
power play in the OT. But that’s in the past for us. If I was in their locker
room I’d be trying to take — not runs at people — but make sure you get an
extra bump in or an extra slash. They don’t like us and, honestly, we don’t
like them. So we I think we play two different types of styles, and I think if we
stick to ours we’ll come out on the good side of it.
Are you feeling the
sense of urgency from your teammates? Do they understand what they’re up
against this this weekend?
Yeah for sure. Everyone was a little down after Vermont. We gave them their first two wins in Hockey East. We kind of had the look on our face like “the season’s over” and it’s not even close to being over. I know the seniors definitely don’t want to be over, and I think once some of the younger guys see like the reception we have on Senior Night and all the families coming out and how important these four years were to us, I think we’ll step up our play right away after that. There’s no better night to start then Senior Night.
In the Vermont game
you came out in the third period and really tried to get people energized. How
do you think your on-ice leadership will factor in Friday and Saturday against
Just controlling our emotions. There’s going to be there’s
going to be a lot of talking and chirping back and forth between the teams. We
just got to stick to the way we play. We don’t need to worry about the refs, we
don’t need to worry about their coaching, their coaching style, their top
players. Every team’s got top players; it’s Division I hockey.
I think, especially on senior night, we’ve got to set an
example. There’s no room for error. We’ve got to have our best game every game no
matter if it’s two more games or we end up making it to the Hockey East Championship.
Our seniors, older guys, and younger guys — they’re not freshmen anymore — everyone
needs to have their best game. It’s like we’re playing the Beanpot championship
every night. You don’t want to make that mistake that ends up costing the season.
How have you guys
managed the workload and the fatigue given that you haven’t been at full
strength for a little while?
That hasn’t been bad. [If] we have a hard weekend where we
play a team that’s heavy and strong, we’ll have short practices, kind of more of
a rehab-type week. I think they do a good job with that.
During the game, you got to kind of manage it within
yourself. For me, it’s making sure you don’t take that extra-long shift that’s
going to affect your next one because I might be out there the shift after. And
same with a guy like Jordan Harris, and Solow, Filipe because Madden’s out and
someone has to fill that extra center spot right now.
But like I said earlier, it’s a chip on your shoulder once
Madden went down, everyone thought the world was over. We won a couple games
and obviously we’re in a little slump right now but hopefully we have Jozefek
back and Filipe’s already back, so that’s a positive.
BURLINGTON, VT — Every season, every team, no matter the sport, goes through ups and downs. The 2007 Patriots rode high for 18 games, then fell in the Super Bowl. The 73–9 Golden State Warriors’ high lasted until the last three games of the NBA finals.
Northeastern men’s hockey team is no different. They began the season with five
straight wins, then laid some eggs, like the 6–3 loss on home ice to UMass
where the Huskies allowed six unanswered goals. The team went on to experience
one of the highest highs possible in college hockey, with an epic comeback win
in the Beanpot Final.
Huskies entered tonight’s match in Burlington, Vermont riding the lowest of
lows. A tough loss at home to Boston College, followed by the Huskies’ worst
loss since 1992 — a 10-1 thrashing at the hands of BC — was the prelude for
what would happen Friday in Burlington. A 4–2 loss to Vermont, the Catamounts’
first conference win this season, may be the most embarrassing loss of this
this, the Huskies had an opportunity on Saturday. The mark of a truly great
team is not how high their highest point is, but how well they bounce back from
their lowest of lows.
Huskies wasted no time in rebounding from their previous efforts, coming right
out of the gates with an energy that had been missing as of late. With Grant
Jozefek and Tyler Madden sitting out, forwards Neil Shea, John Picking, and Brendan
Van Riemsdyk performed admirably, flying to every loose puck and putting loads
of pressure on the forward and back check. Northeastern dominated the first 20
minutes, outshooting Vermont 12–7. Vermont netminder Stefano Lekkas was more
than up to the task, as he stopped all 12 of the Huskies’ efforts.
Huskies carried their first-period momentum into the second. Just under two
minutes into the frame, a Riley Hughes pass down the boards found a surging
Matt Filipe who, as he has several times, took his space behind Vermont goal
and tucked away a lovely wraparound shot, giving the Huskies a much-needed
Huskies exorcised their second-period demons? Could we finally look away from
the barn fire of the past three games to the greener pastures of victories to
had not. And no, we couldn’t.
a minute later, Vermont forgot they were a one-conference-win team playing the
reigning Hockey East champions, and fought through the neutral zone into the
Huskies’ end. The Catamounts forced Craig Pantano out of his crease to make a
tough save and, in the defensive disarray, poked the puck into the empty net. Whether
the failed puck clearance was due to poor sticks on Northeastern’s part or
excellent ones by Vermont is almost beside the point. Gutterson Fieldhouse
erupted, and Junior Bryce Misley skated away to celebrate.
took all the wind out of the Huskies’ sail, and Vermont took advantage by
pressing up the ice. The Catamounts had a couple of dangerously close chances,
but Pantano held fast, undeterred by the change of momentum. The Northeastern
defense is known for extremely disciplined and steady sticks when defending five-on-five
situations, but this time they were wild, allowing the Catamounts to carry the
puck through the Northeastern defensive zone with little-to-no resistance.
second period continued, the Huskies struggled to pass the puck tape to tape,
with overpassing and underpassing resulting in several neutral zone turnovers. A
costly turnover only a few minutes after the first Vermont goal resulted in a
loose puck in the slot. Once again, the Huskies couldn’t clear the puck away
from danger, and Vermont snuck a point-blank shot between the legs of Pantano
to take a 2–1 lead.
play did not improve from there. The Huskies saw barely any offensive zone
time, and when they did, they were quick to turn the puck over and give Vermont
loads of space to skate. The period couldn’t have ended soon enough, and it
ended with the opposite result that the end of the first period would have
indicated. Northeastern was outshot 11–4.
20 minutes of the game were a complete shot in the dark. Which Huskies team
would we see? The aggressive, fast-paced team that executed with precision in
the first period, or the sluggish, uninspiring team from the second?
captain Ryan Shea came out of the locker room and tried desperately to get
something started. He skated around the Vermont goal three times, looking for
any sort of opening. However, his teammates were not on the same page as him.
The Huskies that weren’t handling the puck looked look statues. No one moved to
create a shooting lane for Shea, or to get open and cycle the puck around. Shea
eventually found someone to pass it to — no doubt he was dizzy from circling
the net so much — and there were a few opportunities, but Lekkas stood on
his head between the pipes and made several ridiculous saves.
regained the puck, the most glaring flaw in the Huskies game became apparent:
neutral zone defense. To call the it swiss cheese is an insult to the dairy
product. Whether it was a single Catamount carrying the puck towards the Husky
zone or an even-man rush after a lengthy buildup on the Vermont end, the
Huskies couldn’t challenge.
result, Pantano would decide the game. Vermont had free passage into his zone,
and shots resulting from the biblical parting of the Northeastern back check
would need to be covered up to prevent an unlucky rebound from winding up in
the back of the net. Pantano finished with 24 saves, and for most of the night
he covered the puck or deflected it away.
luck ran out when a shot bounced off his pad and stayed in the crease. Vermont
pounced on the gift like an excited kid on Christmas morning and potted their
third goal of the game. From then on, Vermont stopped trying to score, opting
to pin the puck on the boards and let the clock wind down. This strategy change
gave Northeastern a few glimpses at Lekkas, but Hockey East’s all-time saves
leader flashed his glove and prevented all of Northeastern’s efforts.
clock neared triple zeroes and the reality of defeat set into the heavy Husky
hearts, the extracurriculars began. Soon after Pantano gave way to an extra
skater, Zach Solow got into a shoving match with a few Vermont defensemen. A
gnarly cross check by Solow well after the whistle earned him a 10-minute game
misconduct, and Alex Mella wound up in the box. This was an ugly end to an ugly
40 minutes of hockey, and in a way it felt fitting. The clock struck zero, and
the Huskies had been swept.
game, Jim Madigan praised the Huskies’ increased effort in comparison to their
previous games. He chalked up the lack of execution to fatigue, saying that
“running 10 forwards and going back to back caught up to us.” The fatigue was
clear, as the offensive shifts were definitely shorter than usual without
forwards Tyler Madden and Grant Jozefek in the lineup.
didn’t have quite enough in the tank, to be frank” said Madigan, adding that
returning to Boston would provide an ample opportunity to “settle in, get a
good week of practice in, and get ready for BU on Friday.”
asked how the Huskies could return to their winning ways, Madigan expressed his
confidence in his players’ ability to bounce back from the low point of their
season, “knowing next weekend is the last weekend of the season if we don’t
got enough guys who have played meaningful games and don’t want [the season] to
end,” he continued, indicating that he expects the older players to step up and
lead. The Huskies have a lot of experience on their roster, but they also have
a lot of fresh faces. The guidance of veterans like Solow, Shea, Filipe, and
Van Riemsdyk, many of whom have been on this Northeastern team for several
years, will be essential in salvaging the season.
loss, and a win by Providence over Maine, dropped the Huskies to eighth in
Hockey East, the lowest playoff seed. New Hampshire is just one point behind Northeastern,
so the Huskies need to hope for a BC sweep of the Wildcats or sweep Boston University
themselves if they want to keep their tournament hopes alive. In the national
pairwise rankings, the Huskies fell even further. They took the ice at 14th
in the national polls, and left in 17th.
Huskies make a much-needed return to Matthews Arena this Friday for the first
game of the season’s final home-and-home series. It is also the final regular-season
game at Matthews Arena, and will include senior night celebrations honoring the
team’s graduating seniors. Matt Neiser and Adam Doucette will call the game,
with coverage beginning at 6:45 PM EST.
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.”
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — It was one of the worst
performances in recent memory.
hard-fought Thursday game between the Northeastern Huskies and the Boston
College Eagles ended in a 3–2 BC victory, tonight’s matchup saw the Eagles
demolish the Huskies 10–1, the worst margin of loss for Northeastern since a
nine-goal loss to Maine . . . on December 5, 1992.
grabbed some early momentum, beginning the contest with two early power plays. But
despite some nice movement and a few chances, the momentum faded and the
Huskies had nothing to show for the man advantages.
McPhee got the scoring going for Boston College after finishing off a centering
feed from teammate Marc McLaughlin. When Husky goalie Craig Pantano lost his stick
behind the net, his defense momentarily fell asleep, leaving McPhee wide open
in front of the net.
a clear strategy to begin the game, as almost every offensive possession
started with a centering feed from behind the Northeastern net. Despite the
offensive onslaught, the Huskies found themselves down by only one heading into
the first break.
then BC decided to stop messing around.
defensive luck ran out quickly in the second frame, as BC doubled their lead
just one minute into the period off a breakaway goal by Alex Newhook. The NU
defense seemingly lost the freshman first-round pick, who found himself one-on-one
with Pantano off of a great pass from teammate David Cotton.
defensive lapses continued for Northeastern as Marc McLaughlin made the score 3–0
after a poor clearance by Pantano, who found himself on the bench after letting
in a fourth goal, this one from long range by Logan Hutsko.
freshman goaltender Connor Murphy fared no better than Pantano. The Eagles didn’t
let up in the second period, as their first-round forward Matt Boldy got on the
scoresheet with a power play goal that looked eerily similar to Hutsko’s.
Huskies could do nothing to stop the bleeding, as forwards Mike Hardman and
Marc McLaughlin scored a goal each to give the Eagles six goals in the period
and a 7–0 lead.
finally got something going at the end of the period, as forward Matt Thomson
finished off a fantastic breakaway effort to score his first career goal and
foil BC’s shutout bid. The goal was a small consolation prize in the end, though.
College poured more salt in the Huskies’ wounds in the third period, as Boldy,
defensemen Ben Finkelstein, and forward Aapeli Räsänen each added a goal in the
final frame to put BC into double digits. Northeastern could only watch with
dropped jaws as the final seconds ticked down and BC celebrated their best
performance of the season.
Huskies showed a total lack of composure, with nearly every player failing to
make a positive impact. While Northeastern’s defensive miscues did them no
favors, Boston College’s dominant performance began on their own defensive end,
as the Eagles barely allowed Northeastern forwards to get anywhere near goalie Spencer
Knight. The physical BC defensemen were in full force, and the Huskies had
minimal offensive zone presence.
don’t know what to say. They were the better team tonight,” Northeastern head
coach Jim Madigan said. “They sensed blood in the water and those kids on BC
are sharks. They just kept coming as soon as they saw us struggling. I could
talk a lot about a lot of things, but bottom line is they beat us up.”
asked about where Northeastern goes from here, Madigan took a more positive tone,
noting, “Well, we’re gonna reset. We’re gonna reset and get back to work
tomorrow in preparation for the rest of the way.”
absolute drubbing by Boston College gives the Eagles a weekend sweep and puts
Northeastern in a precarious position. With several Hockey East games still to
be played this weekend, the Huskies find themselves in seventh place after Providence’s
helpful loss to Merrimack.
will end their season with two crucial series against Vermont and Boston
University. While most of the Hockey East seeds remain up in the air, the weekend
performance certainly does not help the Huskies’ outlook. Northeastern probably
needs to win all four remaining games to have a chance at a home first-round playoff
series. Anything less than eight points during their final two weekends will
likely see Northeastern traveling for the first round, while completely missing
the tournament remains a possibility.
BOSTON — Coming off a hard-fought
weekend sweep of UMass Lowell, No. 10 Northeastern hoped to carry their
momentum against another top Hockey East team Thursday night at Matthews Arena.
This time it was the No. 5/6 Boston College Eagles, holders of the top spot in
Despite encouraging play in
the first and third periods, a rough second frame doomed the Huskies as they
dropped the game — and crucial points in the Hockey East playoff race — by a
thought Boston College was a better team than us tonight,” said Northeastern head
coach Jim Madigan after the game. “They’re a very well-balanced team with a
great goaltender . . . If we’re gonna get wins against very good teams like
them, we’re gonna need a much better effort for a full 60 minutes.
Disappointing to have that inconsistent effort.”
Unlike some of their recent
games, the Huskies (17–9–3, 10–8–1 HEA) got off to a great start. They
established the forecheck early, which led directly to their first goal. Julian
Kislin held up the puck as the Eagles (20–8–1, 13–6–0 HEA) tried to clear the
zone, shuffling the puck to Riley Hughes. The freshman threw the puck into
empty space in the Boston College zone, allowing Matt Filipe to run onto it.
Filipe, fresh back from an injury that held him out for four games, picked up
the puck and wrapped around the opposing net, playing a shot in front that
appeared to bounce off a skate and into the net.
Despite Northeastern being
arguably the better team for most of the frame, the Eagles struck back late in
the period when Julius Mattila fired home a shot after a slick drop pass from
David Cotton to open him up. The goal allowed Boston College to enter the break
none worse for wear after a lackluster first period.
It also served as a
springboard for the Eagles, who thoroughly dominated the Huskies for much of
the second frame. After peppering Northeastern netminder Craig Pantano with
countless shots, one finally leaked through at the 10:45 mark of the period.
After making the initial save on Alex Newhook’s redirect from the slot, Pantano
couldn’t scramble back into position to stop Marshall Warren’s follow-up.
Mattila added his second of
the night on a two-on-one breakaway six minutes later to make it 3–1.
Northeastern turned the
intensity back up in the third period, competing at a much higher level. Just
under seven minutes in, their hard work paid off when Biagio Lerario got the tip
of his stick on a Jordan Harris shot from the slot. The tip did just enough to
throw off Eagles goaltender Spencer Knight, who slowed the puck down under his
pad but couldn’t fully stop it.
praised his team’s third-period turnaround, saying, “I thought our compete
level was better; I thought we had a good first period as well. We had our
backs against the wall and we had to respond, but we just didn’t respond
The Huskies continued their
push for an equalizer and generated some quality opportunities, but the final
product just wasn’t there as they failed to net a third tally and succumbed to
the Eagles. Madigan emphasized that despite midseason trophies like the Belpot and
Beanpot, the team has much bigger goals this year.
hoping it’s a wakeup call for our guys. We need to play better or else we won’t
get the result we need tomorrow night,” Madigan said. “We’re in a playoff hunt,
you know? We haven’t won anything yet. Our goals are measured by what we do at
the end of the season. I think they need to understand in our locker room that
we haven’t won anything yet. Some of these guys might have won something in the
past couple years, but this team hasn’t won anything yet.”
These two teams will face
off again on Friday night, this time in Chestnut Hill. Christian Skroce and
Matt Neiser will be on the call, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 PM EST.
BOSTON — Hockey East is the closest it’s ever been this late in the season.
Coming into Saturday night, three points separated second and ninth place.
Northeastern sat at the low end of that range, in a three-way tie for seventh
with 19 points. UMass Lowell, with 22, was atop the scrum — tied with Boston
College for second place. With the top eight teams making the playoffs in
Hockey East, every point is essential for making the playoffs and earning a
“My tenure with this league goes back to the
first year,” said Husky head coach Jim Madigan. “I was a senior in that first
year of Hockey East in 84–85. I’ve got a lot of history with this league and
I’ve never seen it this bunched up . . . It’s going to be a dogfight all the
way to the end.”
Northeastern clearly understood the importance of this series. Despite missing key players, the Huskies scrapped their way to a 2–1 win over Lowell on Saturday night at Matthews Arena, completing the season sweep of the Riverhawks after defeating them in Lowell the night before.
Northeastern (17–8–3, 10–7–1
HEA) was missing a few major pieces. Jayden Struble is out for the season after
sustaining a lower-body injury against Maine on February 7. Matt Filipe missed
his third-straight game and is currently day-to-day. Tyler Madden, the Huskies’
star forward and Hobey Baker hopeful, picked up an injury late in Friday’s
Madigan said after
tonight’s game that Madden would be evaluated on Monday and the team would have
a return timeline after that. However, Jeff Cox of New England Hockey Journal reported that Madden
could miss 4–6 weeks with a fractured finger. That’s just a rumor, of course,
but it’s worth noting until the team gives more info.
The game itself was much
less intriguing than its circumstances. Full of sloppy passes and neutral zone
battles, it seemed like neither team wanted to snag the points up for grabs. The
Huskies came out of the gates looking disheveled, misplacing passes and
struggling to clear their zone.
The River Hawks’ (15–9–5, 9–6–4
HEA) opening goal was borne out of a defensive miscommunication as the Huskies
scrambled to find their footing. Carl Berglund made his way into the Husky
zone, dropping it off for the trailing Reid Stefanson. Having just lost his
stick in a collision at center ice, Jordan Harris was out of his normal
defensive position. Stefanson took advantage, finding acres of space on the
left side of the zone to step in close and beat Husky goaltender Craig
Much like in their Beanpot
victory against Boston University on Monday, the Huskies changed their tune in
a big way in the second frame. Whatever was said in the locker room during the
break worked, as Northeastern played with more energy, finishing checks and
moving the puck around much more cleanly.
That clean, beautiful puck
movement paved the way for the Huskies’ second-period equalizer. Starting with
Matt Thomson, the puck touched all five skaters’ tapes on its trip around the
Lowell zone. The fifth skater was freshman Mike Kesselring, who blasted a
one-timer at the opposing net off a feed from Jordan Harris to beat a screened
The two sides battled into
the third period; neither team found paydirt for the first half of the frame.
Finally, with 10:34 remaining, Northeastern broke the deadlock. Remember how
their first goal involved crisp passing and a clear shot? Their second was
about as far in the other direction as you can go. Instead of trying to
describe what happened, we’ll just let you watch the replay:
Not nearly as pretty as the first, but they all count for one point in the end.
As the clock ticked down,
the game became more and more frenetic. At one point, a loose puck in front of
the Husky net squirted out to an open Lowell skater on the left side of the
crease. Pantano, out of position on the right side, flung his leg out at the
last second to make an incredible kick save and keep the Huskies on top.
Pantano, when asked about his great play as of late (40 saves in the Beanpot and a shutout win the night before), said, “I think it has to do with the play in front of me right now. They’ve been letting me see shots, and they’ve been giving me the easy plays. I think we’ve been dialing in our defensive game, and that’s helped me too.”
“Other than adjusting our lines, we didn’t
change our game plan,” Madigan said of the injured players. “We didn’t really
talk much about Tyler [Madden] not being in the lineup tonight . . . Guys
stepped up, which is what you need and expect.
“The lines are going to be shuffled. We might as [well] not even put out a lineup chart,” he said to laughter from himself and the gathered media. “The lines are going to be shuffled for the rest of the year. I think you guys got a lineup chart; there’s 11 forwards and 11 doesn’t go equally, at least in my math. It’s going to be that way for the rest of the year.”
The Huskies will look to build off these wins heading into a huge matchup next weekend against Boston College. The home-and-home will kick off on Thursday at Matthews Arena, with Christian Skroce and Matt Neiser on the call for WRBB. Pregame coverage will commence at 6:45 PM EST.
LOWELL, Mass. — The Beanpot hangover did not
make an appearance at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Friday night.
after the No. 12 Northeastern Huskies won their third consecutive Beanpot
title, Jim Madigan’s group shut down No. 11 UMass Lowell to move up to sixth
place in the conference standings.
to our older guys about that on Wednesday and they delivered the message to the
rest of the group,” Madigan said. “We’re in a playoff hunt. We can’t afford a
Beanpot hangover. In fact, we try not to use the word that begins with a B and
ends with a T and focus in on what’s at hand here.”
Huskies came out focused and cashed in on a power play seven minutes into the
first period. Tyler Madden found the back of the net for his team-leading 19th
goal of the season.
it was dominance marked by crisp puck movement, defensive prowess, and
smothering goaltending by Craig Pantano.
the way our team competed and battled,” head coach Jim Madigan said. “I think
it was probably our best defensive game of the year in terms of how we
Madden’s goal, Northeastern center Zach Solow left the game with an injury. But
he returned later in the next period and was all over the ice, bringing an
energy that the Huskies sustained the rest of the game.
banged up early in that game,” Madigan said. “I thought our kids showed a lot
scored his fifth goal on an assist by Neil Shea six minutes into the second
Craig Pantano built a brick wall in net and recorded his first shutout since
November 29. Pantano set aside 24 shots; his counterpart Tyler Wall made 19
saves for the Riverhawks. Grant Jozefek netted his eighth goal of the season on
an empty net goal with one second remaining.
will make the trip to Matthews Arena, where they will rematch Saturday. Matt
Neiser, Jack Sinclair, and Rae Deer will have the call for WRBB, with coverage
beginning at 7:45 PM EST.
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.