By Gordon Weigers, news staff
With four major Hockey East points up for grabs, the Northeastern men’s hockey team picked up just one point in their weekend set against the No. 4 Boston University (BU) Terriers.
On Friday night at Matthews Arena, in front of a season-high crowd of 3,894 fans, the Huskies showed their resiliency as they battled their way to a 4-4 tie in a game that appeared to take a lot out of both teams. In a tight-checking Saturday night tilt at Agganis Arena across town, the Terriers used three second period goals to shut out NU 3-0.
Sophomore forward Adam Gaudette has been a force for the Huskies since asserting himself as a physical scorer at the midway mark of last season. He scored a goal on Friday in the third period to give him goals in five straight games. In those five games, he amassed 11 points. Gaudette, junior Dylan Sikura and senior Zach Aston-Reese each entered the weekend with more than 10 points on the season, the first Husky trio to reach double-digits in points through the team’s first seven games since 2013, when Kevin Roy, Mike Szmatula and Braden Pimm achieved the feat.
Injuries to brothers John and Nolan Stevens showed to have an impact on the Huskies in their series with the Terriers. The pair has a combined 10-career points against BU and their absences last weekend led head coach Jim Madigan to split up the dynamic pair of Gaudette and Sikura in order to balance the offensive attack.
“It was a little bit weird,” Gaudette said. “Coach was trying to spread the offense a little bit and I think it worked out.”
Northeastern struck first on Friday night on a goal by junior defenseman Garret Cockerill’s second goal of the season on a 5-on-3 power play. He corralled a pass from Gaudette in the high slot and fired a shot inside the post for to five the Huskies an early advantage. The goal ended the 5-on-3 and set the Huskies up with a 5-on-4 power play to try to add to their lead. The Terriers had other plans in mind as freshman forward Clayton Keller picked off a pass right in front of the Husky goal and twisted a backhand shot around the pads of goalie Ryan Ruck. Before the horn sounded on the first period, BU would strike again. Freshman forward Patrick Curry deflected a shot past Ruck from the top of the crease for a 2-1 Terrier lead.
BU maintained that lead until Gaudette’s power play goal in the third period. With three Terriers closing in on him, Gaudette shielded the puck before ripping a shot over the shoulder of freshman goalie Jake Oettinger.
After BU scored to make it a 3-2 game, freshman forward Matt Filipe sent the puck along the board behind the BU net where it found the stick of Aston-Reese. With Sikura breaking to the net, Aston-Reese slid the puck to the front where it found Sikura wide-open. He waited for an instant for the puck to settle down before snapping the puck up under the crossbar to once again tie the score.
The Terriers weren’t done though and they took the lead back with 4:16 left on the clock with Aston-Reese in the penalty box. Even with the Terriers leading for the third time, Gaudette knew that his team had what it took to make a comeback.
“We knew it was going to be a battle the whole game,” he said. “We fell behind but we didn’t get discouraged. We just stuck to our gameplan.”
As the clock looked like it was going to strike midnight on the Huskies, Aston-Reese bailed himself out by tipping a shot from freshman defenseman Ryan Shea in behind Oettinger to send the Matthews Arena crowd into a frenzy. The three-goal third period was crucial for the Huskies who Madigan believes is scoring timely goals.
“We’ve got confidence that we can score in any period,” Madigan said. “We haven’t done it as much in the second and third, but I think we beared down more tonight at the net and we were at the net.”
Though Northeastern dominated in overtime, neither team scored and the game ended in a tie.
“I thought it was obviously an entertaining college hockey game with two teams who played hard,” he said.
Saturday night’s game was one to forget about for the Huskies, as they were shutout 3-0 by the Terriers. Freshman forward Patrick Harper scored twice for BU to add to his team lead in points. He now has four goals and seven assists on the year.
Four more Hockey East points will be on the table this weekend as the Huskies face the No. 9 Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Matthews Arena. The teams will square off on Saturday night at 7 p.m. before a Sunday afternoon tilt at 3 p.m.
Gordo’s goal of the week
Though it may not have been the prettiest goal, Aston-Reese’s game-tying goal on Friday night was the biggest goal of the weekend for the Northeastern Huskies. In the final minute of the game, Gaudette sent a pass to Shea at the blue line. Shea waited for an opening amidst the traffic in front of the net as he stick handled and looked for space. Aston-Reese cut towards the middle of the ice as Shea released his shot. “Reeser” had a defender on his back, but still reached to deflect the puck. He redirected the puck perfectly by Oettinger and hugged Shea as the Matthews Arena crowd went wild.