By Gordon Weigers, news staff
In one of the most bizarre sequences of events ever seen at Matthews Arena, the Northeastern men’s hockey team skated to an abridged 0-0 tie against the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish in a game that ended after two periods due to unplayable ice conditions.The game is officially suspended and will be completed at unknown date later this season. Before the Sunday afternoon stalemate, Notre Dame blew by the Huskies 5-2 on Saturday night.
Junior goalie Jake Theut got the nod on Sunday afternoon after sophomore Ryan Ruck was chased from the net in the third period on Saturday. It was Theut’s first action as a Husky after waiting two full seasons to see regular season ice time. He stopped the only shot that he saw in relief on Saturday before making an impressive 22 saves through the two-period draw against the Fighting Irish on Sunday. Though making his first start as a Husky was exciting for Theut, he treated it just like any other game.
“For the first few seconds, I enjoyed it,” Theut said. “Then, I was just worried about the puck and getting the team the win.”
The Huskies fell 5-2 on Saturday night, during a game where they held the lead two separate times. A second half onslaught that was fueled by three points from junior forward Jake Evans sent the Fighting Irish past Northeastern as they scored four times in the game’s final 30 minutes.
Northeastern got on the scoresheet first on Saturday with a power play goal from junior forward Dylan Sikura. On the man advantage, freshman defender Jeremy Davies worked the puck down low to Adam Gaudette, who sent a pass cross-ice to Sikura. With Notre Dame junior goaltender Cal Petersen scrambling to get into position, Sikura hesitated for a split second before snapping a shot into the net. After leading by one after the first 20 minutes, Northeastern conceded the equalizer only 2:03 into the second period when Notre Dame’s leading scorer Anders Bjork fed junior defenseman Jordan Gross at the blueline. Gross’s shot flew past Ruck and into the cage for the power play goal.
Skating on a 5-on-4 power play, senior Zach Aston-Reese buried his sixth goal of the season as he sliced a shot by Petersen off the rebound of an Eric Williams slapshot. The Northeastern lead evaporated just 2:09 later as sophomore Andrew Oglevie roofed a one-timer to even the score. The Fighting Irish then took the lead in the third period when freshman forward Cam Morrison was left all alone in front of Ruck where he deflected a point shot top-corner. Insurance goals from Evans and freshman Andrew Peeke sealed the deal for Notre Dame’s 5-2 victory.
Head coach Jim Madigan was pleased with his team’s effort through the first two periods, but said they didn’t give him the 60-minute effort he was looking for.
“In the third period, their speed and quickness just took over,” Madigan said. “We were on our heels and we were very bad in our defensive zone and they just took advantage of it.”
It was a lazy Sunday at Matthews Arena for the second game as neither team scored through 40 minutes. After two scoreless periods, the most exciting part of the afternoon unfolded. A Zamboni malfunction in the second intermission forced one Zamboni to tow the other machine off of the ice. Before the teams could return to the ice, the ice crew told the referees that the playing surface would not be ready for at least 10 minutes.
The teams were told to wait patiently for the ice to be fixed and that the game would resume shortly. That soon became an hour delay that would give the ice time to re-freeze and become playable once again. After the referees checked on the ice again, it was determined that it was not going to be ready for hockey for the rest of the night, thus suspending the game after 40 minutes in a wacky 0-0 tie to be completed later.
Theut said anything can happen in a hockey game, and the Zamboni mishap was “just the way things go sometimes.”
Northeastern now sits in a tie for 12th place in Hockey East, but could jump up to tenth if they are given the point that is pending from the Notre Dame tie. The schedule doesn’t get any easier for the Huskies as they face the No. 19 Providence twice this weekend on Friday at Matthews Arena and Saturday at Providence. The first game of the weekend is scheduled for 7 p.m. before the Saturday night smackdown at 7:05 p.m.
“They’re a well coached team, but we will be ready for them,” Theut said.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics