Mass. College Hockey: Maine 1, Northeastern 1 (Game Summary)

By Matt Noonan

BOSTON, MA – The Northeastern Huskies men’s ice hockey team began 2013 with a crushing three-goal defeat to Bentley University.

Roughly six days after their crushing loss, the Huskies tried to rebound with a win against Maine, a squad that’s currently in the Hockey East basement, but instead squandered numerous goal-scoring chances and finished with a 1-1 tie.

“It was a hard fought game by both teams, and for us, I like the way we responded from our game last weekend,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “I thought we were much better in our defensive zone and at protecting the middle of the ice a lot better.

“I know they had a lot of shots, [but] I thought we did a good job keeping some of the shots from the outside, I thought we did a better job protecting the front of the net, protecting in front of Chris [Rawlings], so those are the things I liked.”

Despite staring the New Year with a loss and tie, Northeastern remains a six-win team, three of their victories coming against conference foes.

Northeastern had a handful of chances once the contest commenced, but various attempts in Maine’s zone were either blocked, misdirected or flicked wide. Although, their effort paid off late in the frame when Kevin Roy slipped the puck past Martin Ouellette on the right side of the crease, which provided the host’s with a one goal advantage.

Maine responded early in the second, as Bill Norman netted his first collegiate goal after collecting a pass from behind the net from Adam Shemansky on the left side, which evened the score at 1.

The Black Bears intensity continued, though, as they outshot the Huskies, 18-8 during the frame, as well as denied the Huskies any goal-scoring chances on two power plays.

“We had some good chances, some good looks [during our power plays], and we didn’t capitalize,” said Madigan. “I didn’t think our last two power plays had a lot of good chances.

“Maine kills penalties well, all teams in this league kill penalties at 84-85-86 percent, so I think we’re hitting at 60 percent, and that’s what we try to tell our guys, ‘don’t get frustrated.’ If you go 0-for-4, hey, don’t get frustrated. If you go 0-for-5, don’t get frustrated because you can go 1-for-6 and that one goal could be the difference, it could be the winning goal of the game.”

Cody Ferriero attempted to put Northeastern ahead on numerous goal-scoring chances once the third started, but Ouellette and the Black Bears defense smothered the junior forward, while the Huskies defense denied Maine’s rushes and shots outside the zone.

Neither team managed to pot the go-ahead goal during the final session or overtime, which provided Maine with their third tie, Northeastern with their second.

Northeastern will attempt to earn their first win in 2013 next Friday when they travel to Boston University, while Maine will travel to Merrimack College tomorrow for a 7:00 p.m. face-off.

NOTE: We will have more from this game on the blog later, as well as video postgame video reactions, too.

Northeastern’s Mountain Named Hockey East Co-Defensive Player Of The Week

By NoontimeSports.com 

Courtesy of our friends from Northeastern University’s athletic department — here is today’s press release pertaining toward senior goaltender Bryan Mountain, who was named this week’s Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week.

Against New Hampshire this past weekend, Mountain recorded his first career shutout between the pipes on Saturday at Matthews Arena.

For more information on the Northeastern hockey team — HOP HERE.

WAKEFIELD, Mass. – Senior goaltender Bryan Mountain (Bryn Mawr, Pa.) was honored as the Hockey East Co-Defensive Player of the Week after a 62-of-63 (.984) collective save performance against No. 12 New Hampshire this past weekend, including his first-career shutout on Saturday (44 saves) at Matthews Arena.

The Bryn Mawr, Pa., native was called into action on Friday night against UNH at the Whittemore Center for 32:42 minutes of relief duty. Mountain’s performance was the first time the fourth-year netminder stood between the pipes since keeping Maine off the board for 13 minutes on Feb. 25, 2012.

Mountain stopped his first 18 shots and earned his first start on Saturday against the Wildcats. It was Mountain’s first start for Northeastern since Jan. 10, 2010 (Massachusetts).

Mountain’s 44-save shutout was the most save by a Northeastern goaltender since senior Chris Rawlings turned aside 47 shots against Providence on Feb. 18, 2012.

With Mountain’s feat, Northeastern has now shutout New Hampshire in back-to-back contests at Matthews Arena. The last blanking occurred on Oct. 14, 2011 (4-0). New Hampshire did not allow a goal either, yielding the first scoreless draw between the two teams in 163 meetings.

So far this season, Mountain’s goals against average stands at a scant 0.61 with a .984 save percentage. For his career, Mountain is 1-3-1 with a 2.33 goals against average and a .916 save percentage in 334:27 minutes of action.

Mountain’s award marks the third decoration from Hockey East this season. On Oct. 15, 2012, freshman forward Kevin Roy was tabbed the Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week after exploding onto the college hockey scene in his first week of play. The Huskies also won Hockey East Team of the Week status after its first 2-0 start since the beginning of the 1999-2000 season.

Mountain joins Athletic Republic Co-Player of the Week Parker Milner (Boston College) and Mike Collins (Merrimack), Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week Jon Gillies (Providence) and the other Co-Defensive Player of the Week Casey DeSmith (New Hampshire) as this week’s award winners. Boston College was tapped as the Hockey East Team of the Week.

In other news, Northeastern remained the No. 15 team in the country in USCHO.com’s fifth national poll of the season released on Monday, Oct. 29.

This Friday, Northeastern and Merrimack meet up at Matthews Arena for a 7 p.m. puck drop on Nov. 2. The 15th-ranked Huskies will then travel to North Andover, Mass., to close out the two-game series at Lawler Arena on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m.

Hockey East: Northeastern 3, Merrimack 2 (Second Period Reactions)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, MA – Once the second period commenced, Merrimack was whistled twice, but so was Northeastern.

Although, despite the early penalties, the Warriors finally got on the board at 4:20 when Quinn Gould capitalized on a broken play on the right side of Chris Rawling’s cage, which resulted in Merrimack’s first Hockey East strike of the season.

The Warriors continued its rally 11 minutes later when Justin Mansfield notched a short side goal at 15:08, which brought our score to 3-2.

Northeastern appeared to take an enormous step backward in the period, which isn’t a good sign for the final 20 minutes. The Warriors have the momentum, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can tally two more goals to earn an important conference road win.

Hockey East: Northeastern 3, Merrimack 0 (First Period Reactions)

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, MA –  Entering Wednesday’s Hockey East season opener against Merrimack College, Northeastern University second-year head coach Jim Madigan had some questions about his team, especially after their one-goal defeat three days ago.

However, those preseason concerns and worries must have vanished, especially after the Huskies notched three goals off 16 shots in the opening period, which provided Northeastern with a 3-0 lead.

Garrett Vermeersch, Joseph Manno and Kevin Roy each netted one goal, while Chris Rawlings recorded five saves between the pipes.

Merrimack concluded the opening frame with just five shots and two trips to the penalty box. Northeastern capitalized on their second power play with a goal from Roy, which was assisted by Vinny Saponari.

The Warriors scored four goals in their first non-conference match this past weekend against Union College, so it’ll be interesting to see if they can rally to make this a game, especially since it’ll count toward their conference standings.

Make sure to follow @NoontimeSports and @NoonSportsBlog for more updates from the Matthews Arena.

Boston Beanpot Rapid Reaction: Harvard 3, Northeastern 2

By Matt Noonan

BOSTON, MA – Rapid reactions and thoughts from Harvard University’s men’s ice hockey team’s eighth  win of the season against Northeastern University.

How the game was won: The Crimson tallied three goals, one in each period, which came off the sticks of  juniors Alex Fallstrom and Luke Greiner, and senior Alex Killorn to earn a 3-2 win. The win marks the second year in row that the Crimson have finished the tournament in third place. Also, Harvard received some decent goaltending in the win from freshman Steve Michalek, who turned away 24 shots.

Witt starts in place of Rawlings: In a surprise move, Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan started sophomore Clay Witt, who denied 36 shots between the pipes. He recorded his second loss of the season, while junior Chris Rawlings sat on the bench. Madigan didn’t exactly clarify why he started Witt, but explained that he has been working hard in practice.

What it means: Harvard has now won eight games this season, but still remains in fourth place in the ECAC standings behind Colgate, Cornell and Union. As for Northeastern, this was once again another heartbreaking one-goal defeat. The Huskies have now lost nine games this season by one goal, and currently reside in ninth place in the Hockey East conference.

Stat of the Game: Northeastern’s offense finished the game with 26 shots on net, and only two strikes from junior Robbie Vrolyk and sophomore Luke Eibler.

What’s next: Harvard will return to the ice on Friday when they travel to Brown University, while Northeastern will look snap their three-game losing streak at home against Providence College. Both games are slated for 7:00pm face-offs.

Boston Beanpot Championship Predictions

Can BC earn their second consecutive Beanpot championship on Monday? (Photo Credit: Boston Globe/Boston.com)

By Matt Noonan 

Monday’s 60th Boston Beanpot should draw a great deal of attention, especially since the title match will once again feature Boston College and Boston University, who’ll be facing-off for the 21st time in the tournament’s history.

BU currently leads the championship meetings, 12-8, and has defeated BC twice this this season. Although, BC’s class of 2012 has won six of their last seven contests in the tournament, which included a first round contest victory last February against BU.

Here are my predictions and thoughts for the upcoming championship, as well as the consolation game, too.

BC 4, BU 2 – It’s been a while since a team potted seven goals in the first round, but against BU, I don’t see BC running up the score. Jerry York’s squad enters Monday’s clash as the defending tournament champion with a target on their back for Jack Parker’s unit, who’ll need senior goaltender Kieran Millan to be at his best against BC. If he can keep his team in the contest, then the Terriers will have a chance, but if the Eagles score early and often, consider his night over.

Harvard 4, Northeastern 3 – Despite their lackluster defense against BU last week, Harvard proved they could hang with the top squad in the country last. Against a struggling Northeastern team, the Crimson should have no problem skating circles around the Huskies defense, and depositing pucks against junior netminder Chris Rawlings.

Boston Beanpot Game Recap: BC 7, Northeastern 1

 

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, MA – Mark your calendar for another edition of Boston College-Boston University hockey, as the Eagles soared past the Northeastern University Huskies on Monday evening at the TD Garden, 7-1, and clinched a spot in the upcoming Beanpot championship for the 21st time in tournament history.

The victory marks BC’s fourth of the season against the men who sport the red and black sweaters, as well as their 17th overall win in the standings.

“I thought our team came on, and played well in the second and third period,” said BC head coach Jerry York.

“They outplayed us, they outcoached us, [and] they wanted more than us,” said a distraught Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “Right from the get-go they just took it to us, and we couldn’t get going.”

BC dominated following the opening face-off, as they registered two quick strikes on 15 shots by senior forward Paul Carey and freshman Johnny Gaudreau.

Northeastern answered by cutting the two-goal advantage in half when sophomore defenseman Anthony Bitetto netted a strike at 12:34 in the first period, which marked the Huskies only points of the evening.

“I thought the first period, certainly, Northeastern had the edge in the play,” said York. “We were back on our heels a little bit, and we’re very fortunate to come out of that, 2-1.”

Following the intermission, BC ramped up the intensity and netted three goals in the middle frame, as junior Steven Whitney logged two scores, while Gaudreau tallied his second of the game.

Northeastern then swapped junior goaltender Chris Rawlings. (24 saves) for sophomore Clay Witt, but the goalie switch didn’t exactly jumpstart Madigan’s offense, who once again watched the Eagles add two more points to the scoreboard when senior Barry Almeida and Carey deposited the puck into the Huskies cage.

“They [were] down two really top-end players, [Cody] Ferriero and [Steve] Qualier, so you take those two out of your line-up, and that affects you in a lot of different ways, and that’s probably one of the contributing factors for sure,” said York.

BC’s seven goals against Northeastern matches a first round record that was set back on February 3, 1997, which was when BU beat-up Harvard, 7-1, too.

“We got schooled today, bad,” said Madigan. “They’re the better team, and congratulations to them.”

Northeastern will face Harvard next Monday in the consolation match before BC and BU will tangle for the 60th Beanpot championship.

The Terriers are 12-8 against the Eagles in the tournament final, so expect the championship clash to be another great chapter in this historic Boston hockey rival.

“Every Beanpot final is just as exciting, [but] playing BU is a little bit of a bonus,” said Whitney. “The past two years have been fun, and I know this year is going to be just as intense, and even more fun because it’s BU.”