By Jill Saftel, News Staff
The Northeastern men’s hockey team gave up a 3-0 lead Saturday night at Tsongas Arena and went on to lose in a 5-4 overtime nail biter at the hands of the University of Massachusetts-Lowell River Hawks. The Huskies maintained their lead into the third period, when they were up 4-1 on No. 15 Lowell, but allowed three goals in the final period before heading to extra time.
“We obviously let it slip away,” head coach Jim Madigan said. “We worked hard for two and a half periods and then let it slip away at the end. We’ve got to get better and have more composure.”
Chippiness started in the first period following Friday night’s 4-4 tie at Matthews Arena, which ended with some after-the-whistle shoving. Senior defenseman Drew Ellement sustained a lower-body injury in the first period and did not return to the ice.
Northeastern opened up the scoring at 11:15 in the first period when freshman forward Ryan Belonger banged home a Zak Stone rebound. The team held the 1-0 lead when leaving the ice after the first 20 minutes.
Junior forward Braden Pimm made it 2-0 less than a minute into the second period at 0:56 on a power play opportunity. He capitalized on another rebound, this time from senior captain Vinny Saponari with an assist from junior forward Cody Ferriero.
Senior forward Garrett Vermeersch grew the Northeastern lead 10 minutes later, with assists from senior forward Steve Morra and freshman forward Kevin Roy. Roy is tied for first place in points among all NCAA rookies with 26 points.
The River Hawks got on the scoreboard at 15:32 in the middle frame when junior forward Josh Holmstrom snuck a rebound past Northeastern goaltender Bryan Mountain.
Morra got a goal of his own, and his second career goal in as many nights, 48 seconds into the final period to give the Huskies the 4-1 advantage, but it was the last of Northeastern’s scoring for the night. The goal extended Morra’s four-game point streak.
Lowell then went for three unanswered goals in the remainder of regulation, from junior forward Joseph Pendenza, a power play goal from junior forward Derek Arnold and the tying goal from senior forward and captain Riley Wetmore.
“We got tired at the end, more mentally than physically at the end,” Madigan said. “They capitalized.”
The River Hawks ended it in overtime in front of the 7,013 crowd thanks to freshman defenseman Christian Folin, who took a feed from sophomore defenseman Jake Suter to beat Rawlings.
Mountain made 33 saves on the night and the Huskies couldn’t compete with Lowell’s offensive push, its goaltender Doug Carr turning away 13 shots.
With the loss, the Huskies now sit ninth in Hockey East, one spot out of playoff position.
They’ll return to the Matthews ice Feb. 1 for a single-game weekend against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.