By Josh Brown
In one weekend all the hopes of a home playoff game at Matthews Arena were squashed for Huskies fans after the Boston University Terriers (10-20-4, 5-12-13) swept Northeastern (18-12-4, 10-8-2) in a home-and-home series.
The loss drops Northeastern to fifth in Hockey East, where they will have to travel to Durham to play the fourth seed University of New Hampshire in two weeks in a best of three series to move on to the Hockey East Semifinals at the TD Garden. Despite the sweep, the Huskies did earn a bye week for the first round of the tournament due to some help around the league.
In Friday’s game, despite playing without a handful of suspended players, Boston University jumped out to a 2-0 lead after the first period on goals by Kevin Duane and Danny O’Regan.
The Terriers would extend the lead to 3-0 7:49 into the 2nd period on a Robbie Baillargeon goal.
A couple minutes later Braden Pimm notched his 19th goal of the season, unassisted, to bring the Huskies to within two goals, but unfortunately for the boys of Huntington Avenue, that would be as close as they got.
The third period featured some back-and-forth hockey but no goals until Ahti Oksanen scored an empty net goal to secure a 4-1 win for Boston University.
The teams combined for 12 penalties on the night, seven by Northeastern and five by the Terriers, with neither team being able to capitalize on any chances. Northeastern out shot BU by a margin of 32-27.
Clay Witt ended the night with 22 saves, where as Terriers goalie Sean Maguire stopped 31 in the one goal effort.
Saturday’s game produced a better effort by Northeastern, but the Huskies still fell short on senior night at Matthews Arena.
Before the game Northeastern honored seniors Cody Ferriero, Bryan Mountain, Zak Stone, and arguably the most improved player from last year for the Huskies, the assistant captain Braden Pimm.
The Huskies also honored Northeastern Olympians, most notably women’s hockey silver medalist Kendall Coyne and Steve Langston, a bronze medalist in the bobsled.
Once again Boston University jumped out to an early lead, this time on a Matt Lane goal assisted by Doyle Somerby and Mike Moran just over five minutes into the game.
Northeastern answered a couple minutes later on a Braden Pimm goal that hit off the helmet of Terrier goalie Matt O’Connor and snuck into the net to tie the game at one at the first intermission.
Zach Aston-Reese was able to give Northeastern their first lead of the series midway through the second period on a snipe in traffic past the glove of O’Connor. Kevin Roy made a nice pass in transition that found the stick of Aston-Reese who was ready to bury it home.
Unfortunately for Northeastern that would be the last time they lit the lamp, as less than three minutes later Matt Lane scored his second of the night, and Doyle Somerby followed that up with a goal of his own to bring the Terriers back within one.
Northeastern came out relatively flat in the third period and it showed on a Mike Moran goal just 7:39 into the final frame to give the Terriers a 4-2 lead, which would prove to be the final score.
Northeastern out shot Boston University 41-21 in the game, but O’Connor was able to make 39 saves in route to the win. Clay Witt had 17 saves of his own on the night, in what was a rough weekend for the netminder.
Coach Jim Madigan was obviously very displeased with the way his team played over the weekend.
“They played smarter than we did, and they deserve the four points.” Madigan said. “Disappointed that we didn’t respond back tonight with a win after what I thought was the worst effort of the year last night.”
Turnovers, much like the prior night, hurt the Huskies again in the home finale.
“We turned three pucks over just inside the offensive blue line and gave them three goals.” Madigan added.
“We have to get our own guys after this weekend in the right mindset.” said Madigan when asked how his team will bounce back before having to travel to one of the most ferocious environments in college hockey, at New Hampshire.
The Huskies will do just that, as they will have just under two weeks to prepare for what is expected to be a roller coaster Hockey East tournament.