Huskies vs. Huskies: NU hands the No 2. ranked team in the nation St. Cloud State its first loss of the season

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Huskies vs. Huskies: NU hands the No 2. ranked team in the nation St. Cloud State its first loss of the season

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By Marisa Goolgasian, news correspondent

Northeastern men’s hockey came back swinging from last weekend’s tough losses, defeating UMass Lowell 4-1 in their Hockey East opener Friday and notching an incredible comeback victory against St. Cloud State at Matthews Arena Saturday night.   

The Huskies kicked off conference play with an explosive performance at the Tsongas Center Friday night, proving they remain a force to be reckoned with within Hockey East.

Thanks to a goal a piece from second-year forward Zach Solow, third-year forward Grant Jozefek and a pair of goals from fourth-year forward Patrick Schule, the Huskies defeated the River Hawks and are now 3-0-0 on the road for the first time since 2000.

“There were a lot of good things from our forwards, defenders and goaltenders tonight. It was a good team effort, a good team win,” said head coach Jim Madigan about the victory.

The Huskies returned to a packed Matthews crowd the following night to host St. Cloud State, the No. 2 ranked team in the nation. St. Cloud defeated NU’s local rival Boston College 7-0 Thursday night on their home turf.

St. Cloud held a 1-0 lead in the first period after an early goal from first-year forward Blake Lizotte. NU’s offense stepped up their game throughout the rest of the period, outshooting St. Cloud 11 to 5. But, in spite of some excellent scoring opportunities and ardent support from the Doghouse, the Huskies were unable to put puck in net.

There was a lot of back-and-forth throughout the second period. Each team’s goaltender brought his A game; second-year Cayden Primeau was in net for NU opposite St. Cloud fourth-year Jeff Smith, racking up nine and 14 saves throughout the period, respectively. Both teams exchanged scoring opportunities across the neutral zone as the Huskies outshot St. Cloud again, but the scoreboard remained the same until the final moments of the period.

Defender Jack Ahcan extended St. Cloud’s lead to 2-0 with just 4:49 left in the second. Before the groans from the Doghouse stopped ringing through Matthews, however, NU fourth-year captain and defender Eric Williams responded by notching his first goal of the season with just 1:38 left on the clock. The period ended 2-1 St. Cloud, but Williams’ push offered hope for the Huskies.

Northeastern dominated the third period as the team’s offense carried the momentum from the end of the second. Third-year forward Biagio Lerario found the back of the net just 1:38 into the period to tie the game. Fourth-year forward Lincoln Griffin helped Primeau to keep the score even with a huge block on a shot from fourth-year defender Jon Lizotte.

With 6:25 left in regulation, Jozefek posted the game-winning goal on a shot assisted by Williams and Solow, who played catch with Jozefek en route to the cage where he ripped a shot past Smith.

All in all, St. Cloud was 0-of-1 on the power play while the Huskies were a perfect 3-of-3 on the penalty kill.

Saturday night’s victory marked the first time the Huskies defeated a top three ranked opponent ranked in nearly five years.

“We just stuck with it. When you’re playing the number two team in the country, there’s big hype,” said Madigan. “We had a good first period and we came back in knowing that, ‘Hey, we can play with this club. We’re a good club.’ There was a believability in the locker room after that first period.”

The Huskies are back in conference play this week, facing local rival Boston University at Matthews on Thursday and away at Agganis Arena on Saturday.