By: Josh Brown
CANTON, N.Y.- A season plagued by tough injuries just got a little bit better for the Northeastern University Men’s Hockey Team Friday night.
With the return of defenseman Dustin Darou from a broken fibula and tibia, the Huskies got just the jolt they needed, scoring two first period goals and an empty netter, en route to a 3-0 win over #13 St. Lawrence.
The Huskies(4-12-4) received 24 saves from freshman Ryan Ruck, who earned his first collegiate shutout in the victory.
“I couldn’t have been more pleased for Dustin Darou,” said Northeastrn coach Jim Madigan. “Now the fact that he’s back, and that young man in a charity baseball/softball game at the Travis Roy event back in… June broke his tibia, fibula, had major surgery, was out for six months and has worked his rear end to get back to where he’s at. The first game back for him after his long six month drought in Canton, NY, close to where he grew up in Ottawa, their was some friends here that knew him and we eased him back in there and I thought he did a real good job.”
“It was also a good rink for him to start. It’s a little bit smaller than our rink, the confines are a little bit tighter, he’s a heavy guy, physical guy, I like the way he played physical, and just really happy for how he played here tonight.”
Just three minutes into the game Northeastern drew first blood via freshman Lincoln Griffin’s second goal of the season.
With Northeastern moving the puck around in their offensive zone, Griffin fired a quick shot on net that was saved by Colgate netminder Kyle Hayton. Not giving up on the play, Griffin collected his own rebound before quickly firing a shot over Hayton’s shoulder to give the Huskies the early lead.
Midway through the period just as Colgate’s Gavin Bayreuther was coming out of the penalty box for slashing, the Huskies were able to beat Hayton again and extend the lead to two.
Griffin started the play on the left side half wall, hitting junior Sam Kurker with a pass right in the slot. Kurker immediately wound-up and sent a one-timer into the back of the net, giving Northeastern all the cushion they would need on this night.
While Colgate did threaten in the second period, Ruck stood tall for Northeastern, stopping all 12 shots he saw in the frame.
“I thought Ryan stood tall,” said Madigan, “he made some real key saves for us. I thought he was good at scrambles at the net-front. He was aggressive, he saw the puck really well there for us…he played with a lot of confidence and he moved really well so that’s the type of goaltender you’re going to need in the second half of the year to win games.”
Colgate continued to try and chip away in the third period, but the momentum was halted midway through the frame when the Saints took a too many men on the ice penalty, putting Northeastern on the power play. Despite the Huskies not scoring on the man-advantage, St. Lawrence could never really recover, allowing an empty-netter late to Mike McMurtry to seal the deal.
“I thought it was our most complete game of the season,” said Madigan. “We were able to get…a two goal lead in the first period and I thought we played a good first period. In the second they really came at us… I thought we weathered the storm. We got some breaks around the net that they didn’t get the bounces, but they carried the play I thought in the second period. Then in the third period I thought period we played a smart third period, we got pucks in deep, we simplified a little bit. We dressed seven (defenseman) and 11 (forwards), we were a little bit short on the front side. I just liked the mentality of our team in how we approached that third period. I liked (that) the bench was active, it was energized. I thought we did a really good job start to finish.”