By Bailey Putnam, deputy sports editor
Unable to feed off a season-opening win over Colgate University, the Northeastern University (NU) men’s hockey team faltered in a home-and-home series with Bentley University (2-2) over the weekend. The Huskies dropped a 3-2 Friday night decision at home before losing 4-1 at Bentley’s Ryan Arena the following night.
Despite outshooting the Falcons 38-9 after two periods, the Huskies (1-2) found themselves down 3-0 heading into the third on Friday night. Bentley junior forward Andrew Gladiuk netted all three goals, including one that came with five seconds left in an NU-dominated first period. His second and third came on a pair of power play opportunities in the second period.
After peppering Bentley freshman goaltender Jayson Argue all game, the Huskies finally got on the board in the final frame when senior defenseman Colton Saucerman buried a feed from junior forward Zach Aston-Reese on the doorstep.
Junior forward John Stevens cut the deficit to one with 4:06 to go in the game, beating Argue high off another Aston-Reese assist.
The goals proved to be futile for the Huskies, who couldn’t find the back of the net more than twice despite firing off 51 shots.
“We can look at the shots and feel good about the fact that we outshot them 51-11, but this game isn’t measured by shots,” Head Coach Jim Madigan said following the loss. “It’s measured by who’s got the most goals at the end of the game, and they had three and we had two, so it’s a disappointing loss – extremely disappointing loss.”
The story was much the same on Saturday night as the Huskies again found themselves playing catch-up despite outshooting their opponents. Northeastern outshot Bentley 29-18 through two frames but headed into the locker room in the same predicament as the previous game: trailing 3-0.
Things didn’t improve for NU from there as Bentley notched its fourth tally early in the period. Following the goal, redshirt junior goalie Derick Roy gave way to freshman Ryan Ruck, who saw his first collegiate ice time and turned aside six shots.
“I thought when we went down 4-0 it was an opportunity to get Ryan Ruck in the net and get him some minutes,” Madigan said. “I like the way he responded there… I thought it would give our team a spark also. Sometimes goaltender changes can do that in a game.”
The only semblance of a spark came off the stick of sophomore forward Nolan Stevens when he potted the Huskies’ lone goal with 12:55 to go in the game.
The road ahead is a daunting one for the Huskies as they head to Minneapolis to take on the No. 19 University of Minnesota. The Gophers will undoubtedly be looking for revenge against NU after the Huskies upset them last year, 3-2, at Matthews Arena.
The key to the game, according to Madigan, is discipline.
“This league is a league where you have to be disciplined. You have to work hard, and if you don’t, you’re not going to win,” Madigan said. “So we’re back to the drawing board … and getting back at it in preparation for a weekend in Minnesota.”
Photo by Brian Bae