By: Josh Brown
SOUTH BEND, Ind.- It was not the two points Northeastern was hoping for, but it will have to do.
After dropping a 3-2 decision Thursday night, the Huskies got a goal with just 4:07 left in regulation, courtesy of Matt Benning, and ended up tying Notre Dame 2-2 Friday night at the Compton Family Ice Arena.
On the power play due to a Luke Ripley hooking call, Benning fired a shot from just within the blue line, which beat Irish netminder Cal Petersen (32 saves), and knotted the score up at two.
“I thought our guys really played hard and showed a lot of resilience,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “Once again, we fell behind 2-0 but we had to kill off the 5-minute major there early in the game and they scored, they got a power play and scored. I thought we just stuck to it.”
“I thought our energy, our effort, our second effort, our attitude, the bench was alive. It’s only a point, and I understand that we’re measured by wins and getting two points, but this is a game that we can build on and will build on.”
Ryan Ruck got his fourth start in a row for Northeastern (1-8-2, 0-4-2), making 23 saves on 25 shots.
The tie was Notre Dame’s first decision that did not end up as a win in league play, falling to 3-0-1 (5-2-3 overall).
As has been par for the course for Northeastern, the Irish were able to net the first goal of the game, giving themselves the early 1-0 lead.
At the nine-minute mark of the first period Jake Evans received a cross-ice pass at the left faceoff dot from Thomas DiPauli, and was able to get it on net, beating Ruck in the process.
The goal, which came on the power play, started as of a result of a Tanner Pond five-minute major for contact to the head, a penalty he was ejected from the game for.
Notre Dame wasted no time jumping out to a 2-0 lead early in the second period, despite being outshot 14-3 throughout the 20 minutes. A Justin Wade shot, which was blocked down in front via a Northeastern defender, found the stick of Connor Hurley, whose shot hit both the post and Ruck before sliding over the goal line.
After playing a high tempo period from that point forward, the Huskies were finally rewarded with 6:27 left in the frame.
Sam Kurker, who collected a Kevin Roy rebound, found Garret Cockerill floating along the blue line and set him up for a one-timer that beat a slew of traffic and ultimately Petersen to bring Northeastern within one.
The third period continued to be a barn-burner, with both teams playing a high-tempo offense, creating multiple opportunities on both sides of the ice, before Benning was able to score the game-tying goal with 4:07 left in the game.
“We played the way that we’re capable of playing,” said Madigan. “This is the way that we want to play, and if we play like this, we’ll win more games than not. We’ve got to still clean up some things in our own zone.”
“You saw, we had some opportunities in that offensive zone. We had five clear-cut, not breakaways, but alone on the goalie from in tight from the hashmarks in and couldn’t score. Rosenthal went in, Stevens went in, Aston-Reese went in. Kurker went in. We had a few good chances, and we just have to bear down there. But I just liked the way our mindset and mentality was tonight. We responded.”
In overtime the Irish controlled the puck for a majority of the period, but Ruck stood tall, stopping everything in his sight, allowing Northeastern to come away with a point on the weekend.
“I told the kids afterwards, because there’s a lot of hurting bodies there, that this is how it should feel every night,” said Madigan. “We blocked a lot of shots. We got banged up. It was a physical game and they’re a big, strong, physical team and I thought we continued to play physical and we had a good second and third period after falling behind.”
“It’s a big point, and points are hard to come by in this league. We’ll take the point on the road and we’ll build on it for next weekend.”
The Huskies will return to action Friday night when they travel to defending champion Providence at 7:00. Full coverage can be found on WRBB.