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.”

Catching Up With The Hockey East

By NoontimeSports.com 

The countdown to the Boston Beanpot and Hockey East semi-finals/finals is on.

However, before we drop the puck at the TD Garden, let’s take a trip around the state of Massachusetts, and check in with the various Hockey East men’s ice hockey teams.

Boston College (15-10-1) – The men sporting maroon and gold picked up a dramatic win on Friday, as they defeated the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, 4-3 at Kelley Rink. BC has now won 15 games this season, and will look to earn their 16th victory on Saturday when they travel to Durham for a 7:00pm face-off. The Eagles are currently tied atop the Hockey East standings with Boston University and Maine for 84 goals scored.

Boston University (15-7-1) – Against the University of Maine, Boston University’s defense faltered, as the Black Bears registered two third period goals, which secured the win, as well as their 13th victory of the season. The loss marks BU’s first of the month, but they’ll look to snap their one-game skid on Saturday when they once again host Maine for a 7:30pm face-off.

Merrimack College (13-5-5) – It’s been a few days since the Warriors last defeated University of New Hampshire in overtime, but on Sunday, Merrimack will return to the ice when they host Providence College for a matinee clash in North Andover. Senior goaltender Joe Cannata has earned 12 wins between the pipes this season, and is averaging 26 saves per game. Against the Friars in December, Cannata registered a loss, but managed to record 34 saves despite allowing two goals.

Northeastern University (9-11-3) – The men’s hockey team finally registered their first win in January, as the Huskies manhandled Vermont, 8-3. They’ll face the Catamounts on Saturday, and would certainly like to return to Boston with at least 10 overall wins. Junior goaltender Chris Rawlings has recorded 660 saves this season, but as allowed 55 goals in 22 games, while freshman forward Ludwig Karlsson (nine goals, 13 assists) and junior forward Steve Quailer, (eight goals, 14 assists) lead the team with 22 points.

University of Massachusetts/Amherst (9-9-5) – The Minutemen have won nine games this season, which include five against various conference foes. However, they’re currently riding a one-game losing streak, as the River Hawks defeated the Minutemen in Lowell on Friday, 4-2. They’ll look to rebound on Saturday evening when they welcome UMass-Lowell to Amherst. The Minutemen have won two consecutive contests at home in January, and are 4-1-2 this season against Hockey East teams at the Mullins Center.

University of Massachusetts/ Lowell (15-7-0) – The River Hawks have improved drastically this season. They’re currently sporting a 15-7 overall record, and have won 10 of 16 games against conference foes this season. They’ve won five conference games on the road this season, but can they muster a sixth, especially at the Mullins Center on Saturday? We’ll see.

Cross Lifts Boston College Past Northeastern, 2-1

Boston College picked up their seventh win on Friday against Northeastern University!

By Josh Kummins 

CHESTNUT HILL, MA It was a rather wacky hockey game at Kelley Rink on Friday, as the No. 2 Boston College Eagles and Northeastern Huskies continued their three-game Hockey East season series – a rivalry that has been turned up a notch over the past two years. However, on this particular evening, the Eagles outshot the Huskies, 36-18 margin, and won with seconds left in the third period by a score of 2-1.

“It was a much closer game than the shots indicate,” said Boston College head coach Jerry York. “I think the score indicated the equality of the two teams. I thought our club played well in a lot of areas.”

“Obviously, they are a very good hockey club,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “They’re fast, they put pressure on you all night long…they just come at you with four lines.”

The Eagles came out flying in the first period, yet couldn’t contain sophomore Cody Ferriero, who crashed the net and poked a rebound past Boston College’s Parker Milner for his first strike of the season. The Eagles responded during the second period, as junior Chris Kreider batted a Huskies clearing attempt back into the offensive zone before skating through the defense and hitting Kevin Hayes with a short drop pass in front, which tied the game.

Both teams were then forced to trade shots and opportunities, until Eagles defenseman Tommy Cross rifled the puck from the top left circle past Chris Rawlings with 2.6 seconds remaining to secure Boston College’s seventh win of the season.

“We were trying to enter the zone with possession there,” said Cross. “A couple miscues there, but we finally got possession in the zone and we got some great shots and some great net presence.”

Cross continued by saying, “It was a scrum, they collapsed down low, and [Brian Dumoulin] got it…Most guys would have panicked with less than five seconds to go, and he somehow had the clock in his head and looked over to me, gave it to me and I just got it off quick. I think it hit one of their defender’s hands in front and dropped straight down.”

Boston College returns to Kelley Rink on Sunday afternoon for a matinee affair against Boston University, while Northeastern will head west to face University of Massachusetts at Amherst on Saturday.

Merrimack Rallies to Beat Northeastern, 3-2 OT

By Brian Willwerth 

BOSTON, MA – Merrimack College entered Saturday night’s game at Northeastern as one of only two unbeaten teams left in the country. The Warriors stayed that way thanks to a dramatic victory.

Ryan Flanigan scored a shorthanded goal with just over three minutes remaining in overtime, as Merrimack defeated Northeastern, 3-2, in a physical game at Matthews Arena.

“I’m very proud of the effort tonight,” said Merrimack head coach Mark Dennehy.  “I thought our guys played better as the game went on.  Northeastern puts a lot of pressure on you… then we responded.”

In the first period, just after the Huskies’ initial power play had expired, they broke out on top first. Joseph Manno and Mike McLaughlin broke in on an odd-man rush, and McLaughlin finished it off by beating Joe Cannata to put NU up, 1-0. It was McLaughlin’s third goal of the season.

Just over three minutes later, the Huskies got another highlight-reel goal. Rob Dongara took a beautiful feed from McLaughlin and beat Cannata to make it 2-0.

“I thought we started off really well,” said Huskies’ head coach Jim Madigan.  “What happened in the first period was going to be our downfall as the game went along…too many bad penalties.”

The first of those penalties came later in the period. John Manson got a major penalty and game misconduct for hitting from behind. The Warriors took advantage with 47 seconds remaining on the man advantage. Mike Collins’ wrist shot beat Chris Rawlings to make it 2-1. It’s Collins’ first goal of the season. The Warriors outshot the Huskies in the opening period, 8-5.

In the second period, the Huskies got an early 5-on-3 advantage, but could not add to their lead. Another NU power play did produce any scoring. Both Rawlings and Cannata were solid in their respective nets. Rawlings turned away all 11 shots from the Warriors, while Cannata stopped all nine coming from the sticks of NU players.

Merrimack tied the game on the power play with 8:30 to go in the 3rd period.  Mike Collins scored his second goal of the game, almost a carbon-copy of his first one, to make it 2-2.

“When you’re struggling, frustration sets in,” said Madigan.  “The puck movement isn’t as fluid.  That’s something we’ll have to get better at.”

Merrimack’s Carter Madsen became the second player to get record a major penalty/game misconduct for hitting from behind. But the Huskies could not cash in. Then with 1.7 seconds left, Kyle Bigos was whistled for high sticking, a penalty that carried over into overtime. In OT, Rhett Bly flipped the puck high out of the defensive end, into the glove of Flanigan, who broke in alone on Rawlings and did the rest.

“I didn’t see (Flanigan’s) celebration,” said Dennehy. “He finished it off pretty nice.”

Both teams return to action Friday night. The Warriors travel to Boston University, while the Huskies go on the road to take on Boston College.

Arnold’s OT Goal Lifts BC Past Northeastern, 4-3

Boston College picked up their fifth win on Saturday against Northeastern in Overtime!

By Matt Noonan 

BOSTON, MA – With roughly one minute remaining in overtime and Boston College starring at their first tie of the season, sophomore Bill Arnold somehow managed to score the game winning goal by pushing the puck past Northeastern University’s goaltender Chris Rawlings for an emotional 4-3 victory.

“[We’ve] talk a lot about going to the net and [getting] bodies to the net, so I went to the net and Patch [Alber] put the puck down there and when you do that good things happen, and I was able to get a stick on it,” Arnold said, when asked to describe the game winning goal.

“Clearly, Billy Arnold’s had an outstanding weekend,” Boston College head coach Jerry York said. “Again tonight his game was [an] A-plus from my standpoint.”

Boston College began the game playing like a top-notched group, as they managed to score first, thanks to sophomore Kevin Hayes, who gave the Eagles an early 1-0 advantage before the Huskies responded with a power play goal literally three minutes later, which came off the stick of junior Steve Quailer.

Northeastern then added another goal before the intermission, as freshman Joseph Manno scored his first of two goals, (one in the first and one in the second period), before Boston College staged an epic comeback in the third period, which started with senior Barry Almeida’s third goal of the season.

“3-2 [put] us right back in the ballgame again, so Barry Almeida [is] a four-year senior, who plays a really strong, competitive game and I thought his compete level was outstanding, especially in the third period,” York said. “Rawlings didn’t give us much tonight, he was very strong on goal, but… that gave us more energy.”

York’s club fed off Almeida’s energy, as junior Brian Dumoulin tied the game three and forced an overtime period where Arnold scored the game winning goal.

“We stayed positive, even when it was 3-1, and when it got to 3-2 and 3-3, we just kept getting more and more confidence and it was a really good win,” Arnold said.

As for Northeastern, this particular loss ended their weekend on a down note, as Jim Madigan’s squad dropped their third contest of the season, and once again, squandered another lead to their opponent.

“When you lose a two goal lead in your own building, that’s not a good thing,” Madigan said. “Those are things that we’ll continue to work at and get better on Monday.”

Northeastern will return to the ice next Saturday when they travel to New Hampshire, while Boston College will head North to face University of Massachusetts Lowell on Friday.

Northeastern Blanks UNH, 4-0

By Joshua Kummins 

BOSTON, MA – After a tie and a loss last weekend, the Jim Madigan era at Northeastern University finally saw their first win on Friday night at Matthews Arena, as junior goaltender Chris Rawlings pitched his school-record ninth shutout in a 4-0 decision over No. 15 New Hampshire.

“Obviously, it was a great win for our team,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “We had a good week of practice and we brought the game into its simplest form in all three zones.”

It was all Huskies in the first period, as they tagged New Hampshire senior Matt DiGirolamo for three scores on just six shots.

Northeastern took the 1-0 lead at the 6:29 mark of the first stanza, as Braden Pimm redirected a nifty pass in the slot from junior line-mate Steve Quailer. Then, sophomore Zak Stone was found at the right place at the right time and sent a loose puck through the five-hole on DiGirolamo for his first collegiate goal before Justin Daniels made it 3-0 for the home team at the 9:21.

“[The three goals] gave us a chance to believe in what we worked on all week in practice-just actually coming through,” said Madigan.

New Hampshire surrendered five goals in a shutout at BU last Saturday and had been blanked just six times in the last five seasons, including just two in ‘10-’11. Although, despite 14 total shots in the opening period, neither team was able to light the lamp in the middle stanza, as both goaltenders settled in to keep the score at 3-0 in favor of the home team.

At the start of the third period, the Huskies put several golden chances towards DiGirolamo’s cage, including a point-blank shot from Robbie Vrolyk on the right circle before eventually sophomore Luke Eibler connected with senior captain Mike McLaughlin on the right circle for his second goal of the season.

McLaughlin took a wrist shot that was deflected into the net over DiGirolamo’s right shoulder, allowing the Reading, Mass. native and sophomore Jeff Wyer to see his first regular-season game action ever in a Wildcat uniform.

Wyer made three saves in the final 11:23, while DiGirolamo made 14 stops in 48:37 and was credited with his second defeat of the season.

For Husky goaltender Chris Rawlings, this particular game was a great comeback from last weekend’s dismal performance.

“It was a complete 180 from Maine,” said Rawlings. “Our team was completely different in all three zones. The biggest key was all the shots we blocked…Pucks were not getting through, which makes my job a lot easier.”

The Huskies return to action next Friday night at Merrimack, while UNH’s home opener is tomorrow against the nation’s top ranked team, Boston College.

GAME NOTES:

* With the Huskies’ first blanking of the season, Rawlings record 27 saves en route to tying Brad Theissen’s career record with nine shutouts from ‘06-‘09.

* The Huskies had not scored three goals in a period since the third and deciding game of the Hockey East Quarterfinals at Boston University on March 13.

* Zak Stone played in 14 games last year, recording his only point on an assist against Harvard on Jan. 19.

* The Huskies have enjoyed recent success when leading after two periods with a [20-3-3] record over the past two seasons.

Hockey East Notebook: Leftovers from the Matthews Arena

Friday's contest against Northeastern and UMass left fans with some questions, as the Huskies and Minutemen skated to a 3-3 tie!

By NoontimeSports.com 

Friday’s Northeastern-UMass Hockey East Conference was rather exciting; especially for an early October game. In fact, I doubt anyone thought sophomore Braden Pimm would be the savior for the Huskies, yet, that’s just my opinion.

Here’s some left over statistics and audio from the game, enjoy.

* Both teams combined for 71 shots, (UMass registered 39-shots/Northeastern had 32-shots)

* In the third period, UMass goaltender Kevin Boyle saved 10-shots, while Northeastern’s Chris Rawlings denied 12-shots.

* Both teams combined for 15 penalties and 38-minutes in the penalty box, which didn’t seem to please either coach after the game concluded.

* Northeastern’s head coach Jim Madigan talked about the impact of 15-penalties and stated, “There [were] a couple of penalties that our guys just need to do a better job at and not put themselves in those situations. I thought the referees did a good job on both sides and I asked for clarification on one item, but I thought they did a good job. Our guys just have to be smarter and not put themselves in situations that’s going to go for penalty.”

*Northeastern struggled on the power play and only converted one goal on four attempts. They also couldn’t muster a goal when they had a two-man advantage too.

* UMass head coach Don Cahoon talked with the media about his young goaltender and stated the following two things:

-“I thought the third period was the period he stood [on] his head when they had a couple of shifts where they really dominated us and I thought he made some big plays in tight, so he’s a solid goaltender… he’s developed nicely.” 

- “Well, I think [my team] knows he’s a good goaltender and I think Northeastern knows Rawlings is a good goaltender and team’s understand [this concept] and it usually is a measure of that team’s success’s from the pipes out.”

* The Minutemen were two-seconds away from walking out of the Matthews Arena with their first win of the season, but according to Cahoon, his team “cheated” during the third period. “We need to be that much better and we weren’t. As I said, we cheated in the third period and that third period coast us [the game].“

* Coach Madigan also addressed the new Northeastern coaching staff and stated, “The learning curve’s there – the players [are] getting acclimated and adjusted to us as a staff and what we’re looking for, but there’s not a problem. The players they’ve responded really well, they work hard.”

* Finally, Friday’s tie marked the fifth time the Huskies have skated to a draw on their home ice – dating back to the ’09-’10 season.