Solow’s overtime winner sends NU to Hockey East final


File photo by Muhammad Elarbi

Sophomore forward Zach Solow evades defenders during a Feb. 1 game against UMass Lowell.

Mike Puzzanghera, sports editor

Northeastern is certainly no stranger to 2-1 overtime wins over Boston University at TD Garden.

The Huskies beat the Terriers, 2-1 in overtime for the second time this year after sophomore forward Zach Solow rifled in a shot from between the circles for his sixth game-winning goal of the season after more than 15 minutes of overtime in the Hockey East semifinals Friday.

The Huskies and Terriers met at TD Garden for the second time this year. In the first meeting, Northeastern won by the same score after freshman forward Tyler Madden scored on a breakaway in the first round of the Beanpot.

NU will face the winner of the semifinal between UMass and Boston College in the Hockey East championship game on Saturday at 7 p.m.

The first period was devoid of many grade-A chances Friday night until BU’s Logan Cockerill grabbed a rebound in front of the NU net, spun to set up a wrister and fired past NU goalkeeper Cayden Primeau at 18:57. However, the goal was disallowed after a review as forward Bobo Carpenter interfered with Primeau in the crease. The Huskies managed to deal with BU pressure for the rest of the period and headed to the locker room level at 0-0.

At the end of one, BU held a 12-8 lead in the shot margin and pressured for most of the period. Northeastern got a good spell of zone time with a few minutes remaining in the period, but could not make the most out of their chances. They failed to put many on target, with BU goalie Jake Oettinger being equal to those that did threaten. Seniors Austin Plevy and Eric Williams sent good chances wide of the net during the stretch.

NU opened the period hot and got their best chance of the game when sophomore forward Zach Solow hit the pipe with a backhand in front of the BU net.

The first goal came at 7:39 of the second, as BU’s Ty Amonte shot one past Primeau on the power play. After picking up a loose puck in front of the net, Amonte kept his composure and lifted his shot over Primeau into the roof of the net for the 1-0 lead.

BU kept the pressure coming and almost had a second when forward Patrick Harper laced one off the bar from close range. A clever pass from Cockerill sent Harper through on goal with only Primeau to beat, but he could not keep his shot down.

Lots of NU pressure at the end of the period saw them take the lead in the shot margin, 26-23, but they could not fire past Oettinger and the Terriers held the lead going into the locker room.

But the Huskies needed only 16 seconds in the third period to equalize, as freshman forward Tyler Madden beat Oettinger off a rebound. Northeastern went on the attack straight from the faceoff, with Matt Filipe taking a shot at Oettinger that spilled in front. Madden was the first to react, racing in to clean up the mess and put his shot in at the left post.

Northeastern had a second goal in the back of the net, but it was overturned after a review. Lincoln Griffin put the puck away after a rebound from a Brandon Hawkins shot, but Hawkins interfered with Oettinger, knocking him over in the crease before Griffin took the shot.

Moments after the disallowed goal, BU’s Shane Bowers hit a shot off the bar from the left wing.

Neither team could find a winner before the end of regulation, so for the second straight time a NU-BU game at TD Garden went into overtime.

After more than 15 minutes of overtime, Solow won it for Northeastern with a lethal wrist shot. He received a pass from Brandon Hawkins and took his time to set up his shot from between the circles, eventually releasing a rocket that went top-shelf to beat Oettinger.

“The guys from last year… they really helped me get acclimated to the college game,” Solow said. “This season I’ve just tried to shoot more, put myself in positions that they put themselves in last year and try to capitalize on them.”

Solow’s sixth game-winning goal of the season tied the program single-season record, and Northeastern’s 26th win of the season broke a program record. Solow’s overtime goal was his second of the season after he scored one Dec. 28 against RPI.

“All the games are close, and they’re hard to beat at any point,” NU head coach Jim Madigan said of BU. “They’re a real good hockey club, and they don’t need any more incentive to play better.”

Northeastern will play for the Hockey East championship tomorrow night.