by Joe Barbito
BOSTON, MA – They held on by the skin of their teeth, but the Northeastern men’s hockey team narrowly defeated the Maine Black Bears 2-1 on Saturday night.
A full team effort was required to punch their ticket to TD Garden, but key contributors like sophomore goaltender Cayden Primeau and junior defenseman Jeremy Davies helped secure a spot in the Hockey East semifinals.
Scoring opened up with just under two minutes left in the first period when senior forward Pat Schule went to work behind the Maine net and found junior forward Biagio Lerario open in space in front of the net. Lerario took the pass from Schule and launched a backhand shot to the top corner of the goal. The puck went through a hole in the net and the officials waved off the goal initially before reviewing the play. As it turned out, the puck did indeed cross the goal line and Lerario was rewarded with the first goal of the game.
Unbelievable hustle play by Lerario and Paddy Schule to set up probably the oddest goal in the 108-year history of Matthews Arena#HowlinHuskies pic.twitter.com/k0rW1PKkKT
— Northeastern Men’s Hockey (@GoNUmhockey) March 16, 2019
Senior forward Brandon Hawkins extended the Husky lead to two when he scored a 5-on-3 power play goal with a howitzer from the blue one. Hawkins was positioned at the left side of the point and perfectly timed a one-timer from Davies. It was Hawkin’s 10th goal of the year and Davies’ 26th assist. Senior forward Liam Pecararo also earned an assist on the goal.
Maine brought the game within one on their own 5-on-3 power play. Senior defenseman Sam Becker was quarterbacking the powerplay at the top of the slot then quickly sauced a pass to freshman forward Jacob Schmidt-Svejstrup who rifled a shot past Primeau for his 6th of the year.
The third period was one of the tensest in Historic Matthews Arena recent history. Primeau made a total of 12 saves and the Husky skaters recorded 13 blocks, tallying 26 total on the evening. Freshman defenseman Jordan Harris lead the team with 6, and senior defenseman Eric Williams had 3 in the third period alone.
Schule committing a nearly fatal tripping penalty with just under five minutes left in regulation, but the dogs were able to bear down and fight off the Black Bear onslaught.
Northeastern’s opponent in the semifinals is yet to be determined, but they will play again Friday night at TD Garden.