By Matt Neiser
Schenectady, NY — The Northeastern men’s hockey team traveled to Schenectady, NY on Friday night, opening their 2019–20 campaign with a matchup against the Union Dutchmen. Despite a shaky beginning that saw them fall behind early, the Huskies battled back with goals from sophomore Jordan Harris and junior Grant Jozefek to secure a 2–1 victory.
Northeastern (1–0–0) was rusty early on, with errant passes and missed defensive assignments all over the place. This was to be expected; the Huskies hadn’t played since March 30 and Union already had two games under their belt from last weekend.
The Dutchmen (0–3–0) took advantage of that rust in the first period, capitalizing on an uncharacteristic mistake from Husky captain Ryan Shea. Looking to clear the puck from behind his own net, Shea launched the puck directly into the path of Union freshman Liam Robertson, who sent a one-timer past Craig Pantano to make it 1–0.
The Huskies began to find their form in the second period, taking advantage of a continued power play from the first frame to get on the front foot offensively. After knocking on the door for a while, Northeastern finally found paydirt with six minutes left when a loose rebound fell right at the feet of Harris, who slotted the puck home to tie the game.
Northeastern completed the comeback with a goal in the third period, and boy was it a beauty. After a puck was dumped in behind his net, Pantano came out to collect. He slid the puck to freshman defenseman Jeremie Bucheler, who threaded a brilliant breakout pass to free Jozefek in the Union zone. Jozefek put on a quick half-move before firing top shelf, beating Union goaltender Darion Hanson.
Among Northeastern standouts was freshman Mike Kesselring. In his first collegiate game, the 6’ 4” defenseman put together a complete two-way game. He used his size on defense, breaking up multiple dangerous Union attacks. Kesselring was confident and decisive on offense as well, playing precise passes and unleashing a few firecracker shots from the point.
In fact, the entire Husky defensive core was excellent. Shea, Bucheler, Harris, Kesselring, and Julian Kislin showcased the blue line’s insane two-way potential, making countless plays on both offense and defense.
Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan credited the squad’s veterans as key to the team’s decisive third period: “Those older guys really stepped up in the third period and led our team and found a way to win. That’s a good team in the other room.”
The Huskies and the Dutchmen face off again Saturday at 4 PM. Matt Neiser and Christian Skroce will be on the call.