CHESTNUT HILL — In a game filled with dominating individual efforts and unlikely heroes, Northeastern mustered their first Hockey East points of the season against their most challenging opponent yet.
Top-ranked Boston College fell victim to a resurging Northeastern squad on Friday night, with the Huskies winning by a score of 5-3 at Conte Forum. The Huskies offense seems to be here to stay — relentless off the opening draw, and dominatining the first period of play with three goals on 17 shots on goal.
It was crucial for Northeastern to claim the opening goal to control the pace of play, and junior defender Braden Doyle, making his sixth appearance this season due to injuries to star sophomores Hunter McDonald and Vinny Borgesi in the D-core, answered the call. This sparked a flurry of opportunities throughout the period and resulted in two more goals, one by sophomore forward Cam Lund, and graduate transfer Matt Staudacher, who potted his first in a Husky sweater.
“The second period, we took way too many penalties and they weren’t smart penalties,” said Northeastern head coach Jerry Keefe. “It gave a lot of skill guys a lot of room to work and gave them a lot of momentum.”
The Eagles’ production was sparked by a shorthanded goal from junior assistant captain Mike Posma midway through the second period. From there the Eagles regained their energy,and Northeastern kicked themselves in the shins with multiple unnecessary penalties following the shorthander, two of which resulted in goals. Freshman phenom forward Ryan Leonard and senior defender and captain Eamon Powell had the tallies on the man advantage. The lead the Huskies mustered in the first vanished quickly in the second.
“It’s never easy to give up a three goal lead,” said Keefe. “I really like how we were able to regroup after the second period… going into the third we had to win a period to win a game.”
Northeastern battled back in the third period, which started as a back-and-forth transition battle in which neither team could control the offensive zone. Just over halfway through the period, the second line of the Huskies finally managed to break through. Freshman Dylan Hryckowian was able to win a tough 50/50 battle in the neutral zone, which sprang sophomore center Jack Williams and Lund for a break away. Williams flung a saucer pass to Lund who one-timed it home to put the Huskies back out in front.
Northeastern finally sealed the deal with Lund’s third goal of the night, on an empty net as BC had pulled the goalie with two minutes to play.
“I thought Lund showed up in a big way for us tonight and it wasn’t just the goals,” said Keefe. “I think the goals were him getting rewarded for playing the game so hard, as he did tonight.”
Lund was noticeable in the defensive end throughout the contest. His most crucial play was a backcheck during the second period that most likely broke up a second goal for Leonard.
“You have to win to know how to win,” said Keefe. “Everybody knows we are disappointed with our start, but at the same time we’ve stayed positive and just want to keep building game to game.”
Keefe also noted in the presser that he felt a lot of players perhaps pushed to return from injury too soon, and this past week was really the first week that the full assortment of forwards were fully healthy and participated in each practice. On the injury front, Borgessi missed his first game of the season on Friday, and McDonald practiced this week but did not play Friday against BC.
Northeastern will look to continue their production at Matthews Arena as they take on the Eagles in a rematch on Saturday at 8 p.m.. Matty Wasserman, Khalin Kapoor, and Breanna Adel will have the call on WRBB 104.9 FM.