By Alex Bensley
LOWELL, Mass. — The Beanpot hangover did not make an appearance at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Friday night.
Four days after the No. 12 Northeastern Huskies won their third consecutive Beanpot title, Jim Madigan’s group shut down No. 11 UMass Lowell to move up to sixth place in the conference standings.
“We talked to our older guys about that on Wednesday and they delivered the message to the rest of the group,” Madigan said. “We’re in a playoff hunt. We can’t afford a Beanpot hangover. In fact, we try not to use the word that begins with a B and ends with a T and focus in on what’s at hand here.”
The Huskies came out focused and cashed in on a power play seven minutes into the first period. Tyler Madden found the back of the net for his team-leading 19th goal of the season.
From there, it was dominance marked by crisp puck movement, defensive prowess, and smothering goaltending by Craig Pantano.
“I like the way our team competed and battled,” head coach Jim Madigan said. “I think it was probably our best defensive game of the year in terms of how we checked.”
Following Madden’s goal, Northeastern center Zach Solow left the game with an injury. But he returned later in the next period and was all over the ice, bringing an energy that the Huskies sustained the rest of the game.
“We got banged up early in that game,” Madigan said. “I thought our kids showed a lot of resilience.”
Ryan Shea scored his fifth goal on an assist by Neil Shea six minutes into the second period.
Meanwhile, Craig Pantano built a brick wall in net and recorded his first shutout since November 29. Pantano set aside 24 shots; his counterpart Tyler Wall made 19 saves for the Riverhawks. Grant Jozefek netted his eighth goal of the season on an empty net goal with one second remaining.
The teams will make the trip to Matthews Arena, where they will rematch Saturday. Matt Neiser, Jack Sinclair, and Rae Deer will have the call for WRBB, with coverage beginning at 7:45 PM EST.