Men’s hockey pulls 8-0 victory on senior night

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Men’s hockey pulls 8-0 victory on senior night

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By Calli Remillard, sports editor

The Huskies celebrated the six seniors of the men’s ice hockey team in a pregame ceremony Friday at Matthews Arena, and capped the night with an 8-0 victory over the University of New Hampshire. The win put the Huskies in second place in Hockey East with 31 points, three behind first-place Boston College.

“I’ve always said it’s always nice to win the last home game for the seniors, because it’s a memory that they’ll take with them, and we certainly did that here tonight,” head coach Jim Madigan said. “To have the seniors go away with a win at home and become the winningest class in the history of our program — with, I think it’s now 76 wins and counting — is a great thing.”

With goaltenders Jake Theut and Patrick Jordan, defenseman Trevor Owens, assistant captains Garrett Cecere and Dylan Sikura and captain Nolan Stevens, the class has made a name for themselves as the winningest in Northeastern history. During their tenure at NU, the Huskies have brought home a Hockey East title for the first time in 28 years and, more recently, their first Beanpot championship since 1988. The team has now won 76 games under the leadership of these seniors, earning them a place in the history books.

“I think when we were freshmen, it was still kind of a culture change,” Stevens said. “We had some really good leadership our freshman year and our sophomore year kind of shifted that, and the expectations grew from there. I think right now our culture’s been engrained, and the next step for us is just winning championships setting the expectations high.”

Captain Nolan Stevens is currently the third highest scorer in Hockey East, behind linemates Adam Gaudette and Dylan Sikura. / Photo by Albert Tamura.

The Huskies hosted the University of New Hampshire Wildcats for their final home game of the season Friday night. Both teams rocketed off a few shots during the early minutes of the first period, with UNH holding a 3-2 shooting edge over the Huskies at the six minute mark.

It was first-year forward Brandon Schultz who put the Huskies on the board first, knocking the the puck past UNH goaltender Danny Tirone at 10:25 for his second collegiate goal. Linemate Biagio Lerario got control of the puck in the slot from Brandon Hawkins and sent it over to Schultz, who was waiting at the edge of the faceoff circle to slap it home.

The Red and Black went on the power-play with just under seven minutes remaining in the opening period. The Huskies’ power-play has been unbeatable lately, but this instance proved to be nothing more than some passing around the offensive zone.

Coming off the power-play, the Huskies scored again, this time with a wrister from third-year Patrick Schule to give the home team a two-goal edge.

The Huskies went on the man advantage for the last minute of the period after a hooking call on New Hampshire’s Eric MacAdams. NU’s first line was looking to get the puck in the net, and Gaudette tried to set up Sikura backdoor but the puck bounced off target. Sikura managed to knock off a shot as the clock expired, but it was no good and the Huskies went into the locker room up 2-0.

Back on the ice for the second period, the Big Three put the pressure on the offensive end. Some crisp passing between Gaudette, Stevens and Sikura set up Gaudette for a slap shot at the bottom of the face-off circle, but Tirone deflected it.

First-year goaltender Cayden Primeau finished the night with 29 saves. / Photo by Albert Tamura.

First-year goaltender Cayden Primeau was big in net all night, finishing with 29 saves and ultimately keeping the Wildcats scoreless.

Schule scored his second of the night halfway through the second, gaining control of the puck in the slot off Ryan Shea’s stick. Schule tapped the puck off his skate, faking out Tirone and slipping the puck right past him for NU’s third goal of the game.

Eric Williams, Zach Solow and Cecere put the pressure on the offensive end late in the period, but new UNH goaltender, first-year Mike Robinson, was there with a series of swift leg save and deflections to keep them at bay. But the ‘tender was not ready for Gaudette, who came in off a pass from Sikura and fired a shot from the slot, beating the freshman gloveside. Gaudette’s tally was his 28th of the year and gave NU a four-goal edge

Tension between the two teams was high by the time the third period rolled around, and these cats and dogs were certainly not getting along.

A slashing penalty on Kohei Sato put the Huskies back on the power-play with just under 13 minutes left to play. Forty-two seconds into the advantage, Sikura slammed his 11th power-play goal home backdoor, assisted by Stevens and Gaudette.

Barely two minutes later, Sikura struck again on another NU power-play, nipping one bar down behind Robinson to give the Huskies a 6-0 lead. Sikura finished the night with two goals and an assist, making for a memorable end to his senior season.

“I think we’ve come a long way and obviously thanks to this guy right beside me [Madigan], and [Stevens] for that matter,” Sikura said. “That’s part of coming to college and developing… My first year I was a little smaller and it took me a little bit of time to adjust, coming from not as good a league. Over the years coach and the coaching staff here stayed with me and were patient throughout my four years and obviously it’s paid off and I can’t thank them enough.”

Less than a minute after the last goal, Lincoln Griffin was in perfect position to hammer the team’s seventh goal of the game. His tally was quickly followed by one from Lerario, making the score 8-0 for the home team.

With five minutes remaining in the game, both teams opted to swap goaltenders — UNH subbed in second-year Joe Lazzaro and NU put in fourth-year Jake Theut.

Fourth-year goaltender Jake Theut was put in net for the final few minutes of the game, playing the last few minutes of his final home game at Matthews Arena. / Photo by Albert Tamura.

MacAdams was sent into the locker room after being called for cross-checking with four minutes left on the clock, and NU took another power-play. Lazzaro steered aside shots from Williams and the rest of his line as each one tried to add their name to the list of tonight’s scorers.

New Hampshire’s final attempts to score late in the game proved to be no good as the clock ticked down to 0:00 and the Huskies finished with an 8-0 win to send off their senior class.

Northeastern heads up to Durham, New Hampshire, tomorrow night to face off against the Wildcats for the second game of the weekend set before turning their attention to the Hockey East tournament, set to begin March 9 at Matthews Arena.

“We’re happy for [the win], we’ll learn from the tape, we’ve got to get better for tomorrow night,” Madigan said. “There will be emotion tomorrow night in that rink at the [Whittemore Center] where it’s their senior night… When you get two points you’re happy in this league and we certainly did that, but we’ve got to get better and continue to improve.”