By: Josh Brown
Northeastern has sure had a flare for the dramatic in the team’s current 8-2-3 stretch after starting out the year an abysmal 0-8-1.
It was the same and song dance Friday night for the Huskies, who scored with just 1:30 left to pick up much-needed Hockey East points in a 3-2 victory over Notre Dame.
Dalen Hedges’ second goal of the night proved to be the winning one when he collected a one-timer from linemate Mike McMurtry and shot it past Irish goalie Cal Peterson.
“I saw ‘Kev’ [Kevin Roy] make a really nice play to ‘Murch’ [McMurtry],” Hedges said. “I saw we had a two-on-one. I knew Murch could get it to me there so I just got open.”
Derick Roy made his third start in a row for Northeastern (9-11-4, 4-7-2), stopping 21 of the 23 saves he saw on the night. Petersen was much more active in having to face 37 shots in the loss.
The defeat drops Notre Dame (10-12-3, 5-3-3) to 1-1-4 in the team’s last six games.
A scoreless first period was not without plenty of chances with most of the grade-A opportunities coming for Northeastern. The Huskies outshot Notre Dame 16-5 in the opening frame, but Petersen was up to the task, stopping every shot he faced.
“[Petersen] was outstanding,” said Notre Dame coach Jeff Jackson. “He did what he had to do. I challenged him this morning because he’s slowly taking over our No. 1 job.
“That’s what he’s capable of; it’s just a matter of him doing it on a nightly basis.”
Northeastern would once again come out firing in the second period, taking a 1-0 lead with just under three minutes gone in the frame.
Dustin Darou fed Kevin Roy in the slot, who proceeded to rip it over the shoulder of Petersen and into the back of the net for Roy’s 11th goal of his junior campaign.
Midway through the second, Derick Roy made the save of the night robbing Mario Lucia of a goal as he went side to side in a hurry to save a puck Lucia was trying to gently tap into the net.
A couple minutes later on the power play, the Huskies took a 2-0 lead via Hedges.
With bodies scrambling in front of the net, jamming away at a lose puck, Hedges came flying in and with his back turned, put a shot towards the cage that ended up beating Petersen.
“I just wanted to get it on net,” Hedges said. “I think we had about three wacks at it there. I just figured put it on net, maybe another rebound, maybe it’ll go in, and it ended up working out.”
“I thought we played really well for the first two periods,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “I liked the way we pressured the puck [and] I liked the way we were attacking.”
In what was a surprising move early in the third, Notre Dame elected to take a power play over a penalty shot after Matt Benning intentionally covered the puck in the crease for Northeastern.
With their power play only hitting around eight percent on the season, the decision ended up paying off as Lucia buried a one-timer to bring Notre Dame within one.
The Irish continued to chip away, scoring the equalizer with just 6:45 remaining.
Jake Evans brought the puck through the neutral zone, dumping it off for Sam Herr, who proceeded to fire a rocket from just inside the blue line that got through traffic in front of the net, and behind Roy.
With both teams letting the final couple minutes come to them, Northeastern found its chance with 1:30 left on the Hedges game-winner to send the Huskies’ faithful home happy with the win.
“We had a lot of belief on the bench,” Hedges said. “We knew Derick would shut the door for us. We allowed them to get in the game, and that was a big goal.”