Northeastern Falls 3-1 to Union

By: Joe Barbito

BOSTON, MA – Union College completed the weekend sweep of Northeastern with a 3-1 victory over the Huskies in Historic Matthews Arena.

Scoring opened up just over 6 minutes into the first period when Sebastian Vidmar slipped home a power play goal for his third tally of the season. Just five minutes later, a bad turnover in the defensive zone by Northeastern gave Union control of the puck and allowed Jack Adams, a Detroit Red Wings prospect, to score what would ultimately be the game-winning goal.

After a five-minute major was assessed to Adams for hitting Billy Carrabino from behind, the Huskies found their first and only goal of the game when Ryan shed fed Grant Jozefek for a tap-in score. Northeastern would be held off the scoresheet for the rest of the game.

The Dutchmen thought they had made the game 3-1 but the whistle had been blown dead on the play before Vidmar could push the puck past the goal line. After a lengthy review, Vidmar was able to put a wrist-shot past Primeau right off of the next faceoff.

The Huskies fell to 2-2-0 on the season. Their next contest will be a Hockey East matchup against Lowell at the Tsongas Center in Lowell, MA on Friday, October 26.

Madigan Postgame

Union squeaks past MHOCK in overtime, 4-3

by Joe Barbito

An overtime goal from Union Captain Cole Maier gave the Dutchmen a 4-3 win in Historic Matthews Arena.

Scoring opened just four minutes into the first period when Brandon Hawkins found Lincoln Griffin with a quick pass from behind the net to set up a tough angle shot that snuck past Union goaltender Darion Hanson. Just two and a half minutes later Tyler Madden scored his third goal of the season, tipping home a shot from Jeremy Davies at the blue line.

Brett Supinski scored back to back goals at the end of the first period, the second of which came on a Northeastern power play.

Liam Pecoraro would put the Huskies back up 3-2 off a feed from Davies in the slot on the power play. That would be the only goal in the second period.

Barely two minutes into the third period, the Dutchmen tied it up again in the dying moments of a power play. Supinski found himself on the scoresheet gaining his third assist of the season setting up Sebastian Vidmar. After a hard fought third period, the game would go to overtime.

23 seconds into the extra frame Maier scored to send the fans to the doors.

Northeastern will face Union again on Saturday, 10/20 at 7pm. WRBB will begin pregame coverage at 6:45pm.

Women’s hockey tops Maine in Friday matinee

Image Credit: GoNU
Image Credit: GoNU

by Alex Bensley

The Northeastern Huskies pulled away from the Maine Black Bears on Friday afternoon, 3-0, in a rematch of last year’s Women’s Hockey East Semifinal in which the Huskies prevailed.

The Black Bears (4-1-0) looked to come into Matthews Arena with a dominant resume thus far this season, not to mention a sour taste in their mouths after last year’s bitter defeat. Outscoring opponents 21-1 and average 5.25 goals a game—albeit against mediocre competition—Maine had the firepower to come into Matthews and steal a Friday matinee game.

But the Huskies (3-1-1) would not be denied on their home ice. Sophomore Brooke Hobson broke the scoring at the tail end of the first period to give Northeastern a 1-0 lead heading into the break, a lead the Huskies never gave up. Maine came out strong in the second period and had their chances—but whenever the momentum swung in favor of the Black Bears, the pendulum swung right back in favor of the Huskies.

Senior Tori Sullivan scored in the second period to give Northeastern a 2-0 lead, and senior Kasidy Anderson sealed the game midway through the third to make it 3-0.

Sophomore goalie Aerin Frankel set aside 25 shots in a dominant performance. Her defenseman aided her cause, always getting back in transition.

A strong performance against a sound Maine team gives the Huskies momentum going forward into a Sunday afternoon game at UNH.

MBB favored to win CAA; Pusica garners First-Team honors

(Image Credit: GoNU)
(Image Credit: GoNU)

by Milton Posner

On Wednesday, the Colonial Athletic Association preseason poll was released, with Northeastern  chosen as the favorite to win the CAA Championship, followed by Charleston, Hofstra and William & Mary. Northeastern received 35 first-place votes; Charleston, the only other team to receive first-place votes, got just five.

Northeastern senior point guard Vasa Pusica garnered First-Team Preseason All-Conference honors, and junior swingman Shawn Occeus received an honorable mention.

Hofstra senior guard Justin Wright-Foreman was the CAA’s Preseason Player of the Year.

A little over seven months ago, on a windy night in Charleston, South Carolina, Anthony Green, Northeastern’s powerful center, corralled a shovel pass from Max Boursiquot and threw down one of his typical basket-quaking dunks. The Huskies led 44-27 with 16:35 left to play.

Then the bottom fell out.

The College of Charleston Cougars, led by senior guard Joe Chealey, stormed back to tie the game with 10 seconds remaining. They never trailed in overtime, claiming the CAA Championship Game–and a trip to March Madness–with an 83-76 win.

“We used the game as a big motivator over the summer,”  Pusica said during Wednesday’s teleconference. “Everybody remembers the feel after that loss. We don’t want it to happen again.”

But final game aside, Northeastern had an incredible 2017-18 season. Though the preseason poll of coaches, media relations directors and media members had them finishing sixth, they tied for the conference’s best record (14-4) and came within a bucket of the conference crown.

With only Devon Begley graduating, the Huskies have essentially returned all their key players, including starters Pusica, Green, Shawn Occeus, Donnell Gresham Jr., and Maxime Boursiquot, as well as key bench players Bolden Brace and Tomas Murphy. 90 percent of the Huskies’ points, rebounds and assists came from returning players.

Hofstra will challenge Northeastern with four returning starters, headlined by Wright-Foreman, the 2017-18 CAA Player of the Year and fifth-leading scorer in the nation. William & Mary returns three double-digit scorers from the first NCAA team to log a 50/40/80 slash line for the year. Junior forwards Justin Pierce and Nathan Knight, both Preseason All-Conference Second Teamers, will lead the Tribe.

But it is Charleston, the only non-Northeastern team to receive first-place votes, that will most threaten the Huskies. The Cougars are returning a number of key players, most notably Preseason All-Conference First Teamers Jarrell Brantley and Grant Riller. But Joe Chealey, who keyed the Cougars attack in the CAA Championship and throughout his senior year, signed a two-way contract with the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets on Oct. 13 and, as such, will be of little use to Charleston this season.

The Huskies begin their season against Boston University on Nov. 6; their conference slate kicks off Dec. 28 against Drexel. Armed with the CAA’s reigning Coach of the Year (Bill Coen), Player of the Year runner-up (Pusica) and Defensive Player of the Year (Occeus), the Huskies are eyeing revenge for last year.

If the coaches and media professionals are to be believed, they’re favored to get it.

Huskies Even Weekend Series, Defeat Colgate 5-2

By: Justin Littman

BOSTON, MA — After a hard fought battle on Friday night that resulted in Northeastern’s first loss of the season, the Huskies came out energized today. The Huskies put a lot of pressure on goaltender Julia Vandyk early on, and they scored three goals in the first period to set the tone for the night en route to a 5-2 victory. Matti Hartman scored first for the Huskies on a fast break opportunity down the right side. It was her first goal of the season. Andrea Renner and Kasidy Anderson followed suit. Renner was able to sneak one into the net, and then Anderson scored on a point blank opportunity.

Colgate was able to get a lot of shots on goal, but great goaltending by Brittany Bugalski kept a majority of the shots out of the back of the net. Bugalski finished the game with 39 saves, a season high. She stopped 14 of 15 Colgate shots in the first period.

Tired legs appeared to hit the Huskies in the second period. They seemed to play with less energy, and Colgate was able to cut the lead to a goal after a goal by Coralie Larose. The Huskies caught a break at the end of the third, when a crucial turnover in Colgate’s end resulted in a prime scoring opportunity for Veronika Pettey. She made them pay, and put the puck in the back of the net to push the Northeastern lead back out to two with just a minute remaining in the second period.

This goal energized the Huskies, and they controlled the third period. Matti Hartman scored another goal for good measure, and Northeastern skated to the finish line with ease. The Huskies move to 2-1-1 on the season, and will prepare for Maine next Friday.

Colgate outlasts women’s hockey 3-2 in opener

By: Matt Neiser

Hockey is a game of inches sometimes, and that has never been more apparent than it was during tonight’s matchup between the Northeastern and Colgate women’s hockey teams. A frantic comeback from the Huskies fell short after two near misses, one sitting right on the line of the goal and the other pinging off the crossbar, refused to find their way into the back of the net.

The game started inauspiciously for the Huskies, as an early shot by Jessie Eldridge (3) snuck by goaltender Aerin Frankel less than two minutes into the game, giving the Raiders a 1-0 lead. From there, most of the first period was dominated by Colgate, whose defense shone throughout the gamy by blocking shots and preventing the Huskies from any sort of sustained offensive attack.

In a bad case of deja vu, the Raiders again scored just over a minute into the second period through Eleri MacKay (1). Down 2-0, the Huskies finally found a foothold in the game, sustaining some decent attacking for much of the frame. With just over two minutes to go, senior Kasidy Anderson (3) slotted a shot home on the break, reducing the deficit to one.

A hectic third period saw Colgate widen the lead to 3-1 off the stick of Malia Schneider (1) halfway through, only to be matched by Veronika Pettey’s third of the season three minutes later. What ensued was an offensive onslaught from Northeastern, putting everything into finding an equalizer. Anderson showed her true ability during this stretch, weaving around players and firing dangerous shots on net (including the two mentioned above). Try as they might, the Huskies were unable to hit paydirt and the game ended 2-2.

The two teams meet again tomorrow, 10/13, at 3 P.M. as Northeastern will look to avenge tonight’s loss. Justin Littman and Mack Krell will be on the call.

Men’s hockey rallies to win opener at Sacred Heart, 5-2

by Matthew MacCormack

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. —

It didn’t look good for the Northeastern men’s hockey team after two periods of Friday night’s season opener against Sacred Heart at Walter Brown Arena.

The Huskies trailed, 2-1, to a Pioneers team that lost by a combined 14-3 tally in last year’s two-game series at Matthews Arena in Boston. Northeastern was 0 for 5 on the power play; especially troubling for a team that ranked second in the country in Power Play Points a season ago. To make matters worse, Sacred Heart’s Mike Lee had scored a shorthanded goal on one of those power plays to seize the lead for the Pioneers.

Everything changed seven seconds into the third period, when redshirt senior forward Brandon Hawkins buried a feed from classmate Liam Pecararo to give Northeastern an equalizer. From there, the Huskies rolled, scoring four unanswered goals in the third period to seize a decisive 5-2 victory to open the season. Five different players scored for the Huskies.

“I liked how we stayed to our game-plan even though we were down 2-1” said head coach Jim Madigan after the game.

“We’re gonna be in a lot of these games this year, up a goal, down a goal going into the 3rd period, and as a team we gotta find a way to win.”

Matt Tugnutt scored the first goal for Sacred Heart.

Freshman Tyler Madden — a third-round pick of the Vancouver Canucks who comes to Northeastern by way of the USHL — scored his first collegiate goal in his first game in black and red. The Huskies are working hard to replace the high-scoring trio of Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette, Dylan Sikura and Nolan Stevens, who powered the Huskies’ offense last season.

Northeastern is back in action on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Webster Bank Arena, against Sacred Heart once again.

Hockey East Preview: Vermont Catamounts

0146985f69a40a2d4993aeea2b76e298-300x300Coach: Kevin Sneddon (16th Season)

Last Season: 10-20-7 (6-12-6 Hockey East, 9th)

Additions: D Carter Long, D Andrew Petrillo, F Nic Hamre, F Joey Cipollone, F Johnny DeRoche, F Dallas Comeau

Losses: F Travis Blanleil, F Jarrid Privitera, F Rob Darrar, F Anthony Petruzzelli, F Drew Best, F Ross Colton, D Trey Phillips

Projected Finish: 10th

By Patrick Milne

After a lack luster season 10-20-7 season , the Vermont Catamounts look to make improvements in the 2018-19 season and get back to being in the top half of the Hockey East standings. While it will be a challenge for them to be among the top contenders like BU, BC, and Providence, the young Catamount team, which had 12 freshmen on it last year, should see some noticeable improvements after gaining some much-needed experience. Vermont will also have junior goalie Stefanos Lekkas between the pipes, who, despite not being the best goalie spastically last year, is a very capable goaltender. Still, it is yet to be seen if seasoned coach Kevin Sneddon will be able to take the Catamounts into a top 5 position in the standings, having finished no better than 6th in the past nine years.

Last year Vermont got off to a very slow start, winning only 4 of their first 23 games. This can be attributed to the inexperience of the squad, having graduated a large portion of their team the year before. However, the Catamounts did see some improvements down the stretch in mid-January and into February, winning games against UMass Lowell, Merrimack, UNH, and UMass Amherst and playing a couple of tight games against BU and Northeastern. While the Catamounts did lose some senior players as well as their top goal scorer Ross Colton, I would expect the Catamounts will be able to pick up where they left off last season and will not be the pushover team that they were at the beginning of last year.

Heading into this year, UVM will need to continue to come together as a team in order to be successful. Unlike other teams who have a top few players that are relied upon heavily, the Catamounts will need different players to make big plays for them on any given night. This offense by committee style was seen last year as well, with only eight points separating the top point getter and the sixth point getter. In comparison, last year 43 points separated Adam Gaudette (1st in points for Northeastern) and Brandon Hawkins (6th in points for Northeastern). Still, Vermont will need a drastic change in their offensive production if they want to be successful, finishing last in Hockey East with 2.14 goals per game last year.

Defensively it is no different for UVM. They will have to do a much better job with their team defense and limiting the shots on their goaltender. Last year, goaltender Stefanos Lekkas made 1049 saves, the most of any goalie in Hockey East. As a result, they gave up 3.03 goals per game, good for second to last. While the Coach Sneddon was able to bring in six new faces, I do not expect any of the incoming freshmen to be super impactful. However, a couple of the new recruits show some promise, especially Dallas Comeau, who had 69 points in 60 games last year in the American Junior Hockey League and John DeRoche, who put up 62 points in 50 games in the National Collegiate Development Conference. While those are impressive stats, as last year’s freshmen learned, there is a big difference between junior hockey and college hockey in Hockey East. Still, with the young team a year older now, I would expect to see some moderate improvements in both these areas as the twelve sophomores now know exactly what to expect when playing in Hockey East.

Bottom Line: The University of Vermont Catamounts will definitely be a tougher team to play against then they were last year, but they will need some drastic improvements in order to be a real competitor to the top teams in the league. They have gained some much-needed experience and should have better chemistry as a team heading into this year. Moreover, Vermont will continue to be very team focused and will need everyone to buy into their offensive and defensive systems. They will especially have to do better at relieving the pressure on their goalie if they want to be able to stay competitive in close games.

Hockey East Preview: Providence Friars

skt friar with prov on topCoach: Nate Leaman (8th Season)

Last Season: 24-12-4 (13-7-4 Hockey East, 3rd Regular Season, 2nd Hockey East Championship), Frozen Four Quarterfinalists

Additions: D Michael Callahan, D Carl Ehrnberg, D Luke Johnson, D Luke Perunovich, F Matthew Allen, F Ryan Brushett, F Jack Dugan, F Parker Ford, F Mikael Hakkarainen, F Jerry Harding, F Matt Koopman, F John McDermott, F Jonny Mulera, F Jay O’Brien, F Riley Prattson

Losses: F Bailey Conger, D Tommy Davis, F Brian Pinho, F Alex Cromwell, F Robbie Hennessey, G Jake Beaton, D Truman Reed, F Erik Foley

Projected Finish: 2nd

By Patrick Milne

Coming off another very successful season, the Friars look to continue their trend as being one of the main competitors in Hockey East as well as in the nation. Over the past six years under the tutelage of coach nate Leaman, the Friars have been in the top five in hockey east every year and won a national championship in 2015. In fact, much of their success can be attributed to the coaching of Leaman and his ability to develop players to create a team that buys into the system that Leaman implements. While the team lost a couple of their most productive offensive players, the incoming class brings a lot of promise for immediate and long-term success. Plus, with Hayden Hawkey, one the best goaltenders in college hockey, going in to his senior year, Providence seems poised to be one of the teams to fear in Hockey East and capable of making a deep run into the Frozen Four.

Last year, the Providence Friars posted an outstanding 24-12-4 record and were the runner ups at the Hockey East Championship. Much of their success came from their impressive defense, which only allowed 85 goals all season, tied for 5th in the nation, and an 85.4% penalty kill percentage. A lot of Providence’s defensive prowess can be attributed to the consistent reliability of net minder Hayden Hawkey. Hawkey played in all 40 games for the Friars posting an impressive 2.04 goals against average and a .919 save percentage. Yet while Hawkey is without a doubt one of the key players on this team, he does rely heavily on his supporting defenders. For instance, despite starting 40 games (3rd in the nation), Hawkey only had to make 891 saves (24th in the nation). This stark discrepancy exemplifies the defensive minded team that Nate Leaman has created at Providence. This disciplined, stalwart defense combined with an offensive that can quickly counter attack with speedy goal scorers like Erik Foley (graduated), Josh Wilkins (Junior), and Kasper Bjorkqvist (Junior) made Providence a very difficult team to play against, especially for the strong offensive teams like Northeastern. It was this defensive minded combination that got Providence to the quarterfinals of the Frozen Four before bowing out to the runner ups, Notre Dame.

Heading into this year, the Friars have a lot of potential new faces despite to replace the eight players they lost. The most notable players who have moved on include Erik Foley (15 G, 17 A), Brian Pinho (11 G, 19 A), and Tommy Davis (1 G, 10 A). Foley and Pinho both had obvious impacts on the team offensively and both had a +13 plus minus. Defenseman Tommy Davis was one of the back bones of Providence’s defense, playing in 38 games with a +17 plus minus (2nd on the team). While losing these players does hurt the Friars, there are plenty of capable players to pick up the slack. It is expected that the Junior class of Brandon Duhaime, Josh Wilkins, Vimal Sukumaran and Kasper Bjorkqvist will provide most of the scoring along with senior Scott Conway. Defensively the Friars will lean heavily on senior Vincent Desharnais, juniors Jacob Bryson and Spencer Young, and sophomore Ben Mirageas, who were the top shot blockers last year. Of course, it goes without saying that senior goalie Hayden Hawkey will be the backbone of this team and will be relied upon heavily.

In terms of new faces, Providence has recruited a large Freshman class that should be able to come in and contribute immediately. The most exciting recruit is the 6’0″, 174lb 18-year-old forward, who was drafted in the first-round (19th overall) by the Philadelphia Flyers, out of Jay O’Brien. O’Brien, who was born and raised in Hingham Massachusetts, played at Thayer Academy last year, racking up 80 points in 30 games. The Friers also added two other players taken in the 2018 draft in forward Mikael Hakkarainen and defenseman Michael Callahan. Callahan, the 6’2″, 196lb Franklin Massachusetts native, was drafted 142nd by the Arizona Coyotes and spent time in the USHL with the Central Illinois Flying Aces and the Youngstown Phantoms. Hakkarainen, who was born in Finland and stands 6’0″ 194lbs, was drafted 139th overall by the Chicago Blackhawks. Hakkarainen spent the past two years in the USHL playing mostly for the Muskegon Lumberjacks, tallying 15 goals and 31 assists in 36 games last year. With these big-name additions, along with plenty of other young players for Leaman to develop, the future looks very bright for the Friars.

Bottom Line: Going into the 2018-19 season, the Providence Friars are absolutely contenders in Hockey East and have a chance to end there 22-year Hockey East Championship drought, dating back to 1996. While this will not be an easy accomplishment with BU, BC, Northeastern, and UMass Lowell looking just as capable as them, they have the right pieces to make a run. If they are able to be as stingy defensively as they were last year, keep Hayden Hawkey healthy, and get some offensive production from expected Freshman phenom Jay O’Brien, the Friars will be a very dangerous and capable team.

Hockey East Preview: UNH Wildcats

unh-logoHead Coach: Mike Souza (1st season)

Last Season: 10-20-6 (5-14-5 Hockey East); Lost to Maine in the Hockey East Tournament First Round

Key Losses: G Danny Tirone, F Michael McNicholas, D Cameron Marks

Newcomers: F Joseph Cipollone (Purchase, NY), F Angus Crookshank (North Vancouver, BC), F Filip Engaras (Stockholm, Sweden), F Eric Esposito (West Haven, Conn.), F Jackson Pierson (Zionsville, Ind.), D Drew Hickey (New Canaan, Conn.), D Will MacKinnon (Plymoth, Michigan), D Ryan Verrier (Reading, Mass.), G Ty Taylor (Richmond, B.C.)

Projected Finish: 9th

By Mack Krell

The University of New Hampshire Men’s Hockey team enters the 2018-19 season looking to improve on a .361 winning percentage in 2017-18. They will look to do this with a new head coach as Coach Mike Souza takes hold of the reigns. However, he will be without the Wildcats record-breaking goalie Danny Tirone, who graduated this past May.

After coming in last place in Hockey East in the 2017-18 season, The Wildcats season ended early in the Hockey East tournament when they lost in consecutive games to Maine. Between the two games, they were outscored 7-3. The Wildcats were only able to win the 5 conference games they did because of the play of two important seniors,  Tirone and forward Michael McNicholas.

Each of these players will be deeply missed by this UNH squad. Tirone broke the school’s all time records in multiple categories, including games played and career saves. He also holds the Hockey East Tournament record for career saves with 544 saves during the tournament. He has created large shoes to fill by incoming goalie Mike Robinson, a sophomore already drafted by the San Jose Sharks.

In addition to losing their netminder, the Wildcats will also be without their leading points scorer, Michael McNicholas. During his senior season, McNicholas led the team in assists and points with 19 and 24, respectively. The Wildcats will be without a leader on the other end of the ice as well, defenseman Cameron Marks. Marks led the team with 62 blocked shots.

Having lost core seniors at each position, the Wildcats will turn to rising senior forward Ara Nazarian to be the leader on this team. He will be joined by a cast of young talented players. Nazarian last season was awarded the team award for best offensive player. He finished last season with 9 goals and 13 assists, and will have to do even more this season for the Wildcats to improve on their 10 win season from last year.

Nazarian will be joined as a leader of the team by rising junior defenseman Anthony Wyse, who was awarded the team’s award for best defenseman last season. In the 2017-18 season he stacked the score sheet with five goals, three assists, and 40 blocked shots. Even as a junior, he will be looked at to be a leader on the defensive end of the ice for the Wildcats.

These team leaders will be joined by a cast of freshmen looking to make their mark on the team. One of those players is defenseman Will MacKinnon, who Coach Souza is excited to have on the team. Souza said about MacKinnon, “He is a strong defenseman that can move the puck. He will bring character to our team on and off the ice.” Along with his fellow freshmen, MacKinnon will look to make an immediate impact.

Bottom Line: The Wildcats finished the 2017-18 season at the base of the mountain in Hockey East. The only choice they have is to try to climb the steep mountain and see what they can hold onto. With a new coach in Mike Souza, and a team that has nowhere to go but up, the Wildcats will look to throw everything they have into this season. If Coach Souza can get his players to focus on the fundamentals and not getting down when things get tough, they have the chance to create some upsets in Hockey East and gain some momentum.