by Calli Remillard, news staff
The Northeastern University (NU) men’s hockey team finished eighth in the Hockey East standings after a weekend split at the University of Maine. After coming out on top with a heroic overtime win on Friday, the Huskies fell short to Maine with a 5-4 loss on Saturday.
“We didn’t play with the emotion or sense of urgency that we needed to. They were hungrier than we were,” head coach Jim Madigan said of the loss on Saturday night.
Friday night, NU quickly fell to a two-goal deficit as Maine junior defenseman Mark Hamilton and sophomore forward Brendan Robbins each scored within the first five minutes of the game. Senior forward Zach Aston-Reese cut the difference to one, scoring his 28th of the season with 5:38 to go in the first period.
Sophomore forward Adam Gaudette scored a power play goal late in the second, leveling the score at two and breaking the Northeastern school record for power play goals in a season with 15. NU now tops the Hockey East standings for power play goals.
With 3:49 to go in the second period, the Huskies took their first lead of the night with another goal from Aston-Reese. Maine responded less than a minute into the final frame and evened the score at three. Gaudette’s second goal of the night put NU in the lead again, just 31 seconds after the Black Bears scored. Their lead was short lived as Maine managed to score a fourth goal, ending regulation in a 4-4 deadlock.
The match went into overtime, lasting a mere 12 seconds before junior forward Nolan Stevens netted the game winner. The 5-4 win secured the Huskies’ spot in the opening round of the Hockey East playoffs.
A back and forth battle on Saturday night kicked off with senior forward Tanner Pond’s first goal of the season just 18 seconds into regulation. The Huskies’ lead was cut by Maine junior forward Nolan Vesey, who scored with 8 minutes left in the first.
Freshman defenseman Jeremy Davies gave NU a one-point lead, scoring his seventh of the season at the tail end of a power play in the second. Maine struck back a few minutes later with a power play goal of their own, tying up the score at two. The rest of the second period saw goals from both junior forward Dylan Sikura and Maine’s Vesey, sending both teams into the locker rooms tied at three.
Stevens’ eighth goal of the year gave NU the edge, scoring on a five minute power play less than five minutes into the final frame. A slashing call on NU during their power play resulted in a penalty shot for Maine, where senior forward Blaine Byron scored to knot the game at four.
Shortly afterward, Vesey scored his third of the game, giving Maine their winning goal with 13:09 to go in regulation. The Huskies, unable to net another goal, took the 5-4 loss.
“[It’s] not the way we wanted to end the season, but saying that, now our focus turns to next weekend,” Madigan said on Saturday night.
The Huskies return home to host the University of Connecticut in the Hockey East first round playoffs, playing a best-of-three series which kicks off Friday. NU swept a two game series against the other Huskies both home and away in February.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics