By Emma Sullivan
LOWELL, MA. – A fatigued Northeastern team fell just short to UMass Lowell in overtime by a score of 2-1. Coming off a stretch of four games in seven days, the Huskies were just no match for a River Hawks team that hadn’t played in nine days.
There was clearly no love lost between either team, as physicality took center stage in a rather low offensive event. The Huskies were only able to get 17 shots on goal through all four periods of play. Lowell was able to get a few more shots off for a grand total of 25.
That physical style of play led to a bizarre play just over 6 minutes into play in the second. The River Hawks’ Marek Korencik was called for holding at 6:51, giving the Huskies their second power play of the game. On the ensuing 5-on-4, Lowell was able to get the puck all the way back into the offensive zone when Lucas Condotta was taken down hard by Jordan Harris. Condotta proceeded to slide directly into the Huskies goal, forcing goaltender Devon Levi to leap out of the way or risk being taken out at the knees. The referees awarded Condotta a penalty shot, which Levi stopped handily.
40 seconds later, Justin Hryckowian got the Huskies on the board by nabbing the rebound and tapping it past River Hawks netminder Owen Savory. It was Hryckowian’s third goal of the season, with helpers from Gunnarwolfe Fontaine and Aidan McDonough. It was only the fifth power-play goal Northeastern has scored through 12 games this season.
The 1-0 lead for the Huskies held for the rest of the second period, however the team potentially suffered another huge loss up front. Long before the goal, Ty Jackson got caught by a hard hit behind the River Hawks goal and seemed to be in severe pain. Jackson did not return for the remainder of the game. The Huskies cannot afford another injury after already being down forwards Riley Hughes, Sam Colangelo and Ty’s twin brother Dylan Jackson. Head coach Jerry Keefe alluded postgame to more than one injury plaguing the team during the course of tonight’s game. He did not have an update on Ty Jackson’s condition.
The two teams continued to battle once the third period began, notably Jakov Novak for the Huskies was not happy with some of the calls made during the course of the game. Novak continued to play aggressively throughout the period, making hard checks in both zones and jawing with Lowell players after the whistle more than once. There were times both teams managed to screen the goaltenders with different battles in front of the net. Neither team however were able to get the shots close enough on net or past Levi and Savory.
The tide really changed in favor of the River Hawks with 5:58 left in the regulation time. In the midst of a chaotic line change, the puck seemed to bounce off one of Ryan St. Louis’ skates while the Huskies still had too many men on the ice. The referees immediately zeroed in on the play and called Northeastern for a bench minor penalty.
Just six seconds into the power play, Condotta exacted his revenge on Levi after being denied on the penalty shot earlier in the. He tipped the puck off of a Ben Meehan shot right behind Levi and tied the game late. The other assist on the goal went to Jon McDonald.
“With five minutes left in the game, we get a call that doesn’t go our way,” Keefe said. “Credit to them, they score on the power play.”
The game remained tied even after some great chances in front of the net from Northeastern. Savory stood strong and protected his net as time wound down in regulation.
Overtime started the way much of the game had been going. Both sides had some chances but were unable to get anything really close to the net until Aidan McDonough found himself all alone on a breakaway. He tried to rifle the shot past Savory, but thanks to a broken stick, he was unable to put the game away for Northeastern. The River Hawks immediately carried the puck down the other way where Meehan took advantage of a great feed from Zach Kaiser to get it past Levi and put an end to the game.
“Lowell’s a physical team, and I thought our D corps was huge for us tonight,” Keefe said. “They hung in there, they were physical. We needed them to be against that team because they’re heavy. They’ll wear you down.”
The next few games look to be a test for the Huskies who may be without four of their top nine forwards.
“Up front, we were running a little low on bodies there,” Keefe said. “I thought we really tried to play a smart game when we got the lead. 5-on-5, I didn’t think we were giving up a lot.”
Northeastern does not play again this weekend. Their next two games will be a home and home set with Boston University next weekend. Mike Puzzanghera, Khalin Kapoor and Matty Wasserman will have the call on the first game Friday at 7:30.