By Chris Judd, News Staff
Turning around their conference luck, the Huskies swept Merrimack over the weekend with a 5-2 win on Friday and a 2-0 shutout on Saturday.
“I liked that we had four points this weekend,” coach Jim Madigan said. “We needed four points to get back in the hunt. We called it ‘Moving Day.’ We moved up four points in the weekend. This is a tough league to get points.”
Northeastern beat Merrimack on Friday 5-2 with nine players getting points. Sophomore forward Kevin Roy and freshman forward Dalen Hedges both had two goals. Defensively, Northeastern held Merrimack to four shots on four power play opportunities in the first period.
The Huskies were outshot 9-3 in the first period, but led 2-0 going into intermission. Freshman forward Zach Aston-Reese chased a puck and threw it in the front of the net, where freshman Mike Szmatula was able score his fifth goal of the season to make it 3-0.
Hedges scored again two minutes later when he made a toe-drag move past a Merrimack defender and sent a low shot past the goaltender.
The Warriors scored on a power play three minutes into the second period to close the deficit to 2-1. Vinny Scotti hit a one-timer past junior Clay Witt for the goal.
The offensive push moved back in the Huskies favor with a delayed penalty in the third period when Hedges passed to Roy, who scored from the left corner in the slot.
Three minutes later, freshman forward Nathan Ferriero forced a turnover in the Northeastern zone and passed to his brother, senior forward Cody Ferriero, who rushed up the ice and caused a three-on-one opportunity. Cody Ferriero passed to Nathan Ferriero, who fired a one timer. Sam Marotta made the initial save, but Hedges knocked in the rebound.
The Warriors scored on the power play with eight minutes left, but it would be their last of the game.
Roy scored his second goal with five minutes left in the game after he received a pass from senior Braden Pimm. Marotta made the inital save, but Roy got the rebound and scored to give the Huskies a 5-2 win.
Saturday night, Witt earned his first career shutout in the 2-0 victory with help from his offense, which put the Huskies on the board early.
Merrimack got its best offensive opportunity during the end of a power play seven minutes into the first period. Witt saved the initial shot, but sent the rebound to the right side. He was then forced to dive across the net to deny Merrimack the goal.
“”It hit me right in the head,” Witt said. “It hit me right in the face. I would have liked it to be a nice glove save.”
The Huskies scored 90 seconds later when sophomore defenseman Colton Saucerman fired a slap shot from the left side of the blue line. Junior forward Torin Snydeman redirected the shot past Rasmus Tirronen for a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies went on the power play with 5:24 left in the first period. Cody Ferriero drove wide and threw the puck in front of the net. After a lot of redirects, Aston-Reese got the puck on the far side of the net and scored to give Northeastern a 2-0 lead.
“I was just getting to the front of the net,” Aston-Reese said. “Over the week, we were working on stopping in front of the net and having a strong stick there. Just doing it in practice paid off in the game.”
Neither team scored in the second period, though Merrimack had three shots on three power play opportunities, including a two minute five-on-three.
The Huskies had a good scoring chance eight minutes into the period when Roy had the puck on the left side of the Merrimack zone. He sent the puck cross ice, but Stevens could not get the goal.
Merrimack went got a two minute five on three opportunity with six minutes left in the period when Cody Ferriero and sophomore Dustin Darou were both called for penalties. Junior Dax Lauwers blocked several shots on the power play, and the Huskies successfully killed it.
“I thought we got in shot lanes pretty well,” Madigan said. “On the 5 on 3, turning point in the game for us, we played tight, we were in a tight triangle, we blocked shots well, Clay made some good saves. Your best penalty killer has to be your goalie, and he stepped us and made some big saves for us … We got pucks down 200 feet most of the time.”
The Huskies only had three shots on goal in the third period, but were able to prevent Merrimack from scoring. Witt made 12 saves to preserve the shutout.
Despite the four-point weekend, the Huskies had trouble staying out of the penalty box, as they allowed 17 power play opportunities.
“Penalties were an issue in the first two periods in breaking our momentum,” Madigan said. “It’s something we need to address and we will to address on Monday. You can’t go anywhere in this league if you’re going to take seven penalties and then take two penalties on the same shift. It’s our older guys and they have to get smarter.”
The Huskies next compete in the Shillelagh Tournament this weekend with Western Michigan University on Friday and either University of Alabama-Huntsville or Notre Dame University on Saturday.