Men’s hockey comes back to win season opener at Union


File photo by Samantha Barry

Junior winger Grant Jozefek fends off Maine center Tim Doherty at Matthews Arena last season.

Charlie Wolfson, news staff

Northeastern men’s hockey notched a 2-1 comeback victory on the road to open the 2019-20 season at Union College. Senior goalie Craig Pantano saved 18 of 19 shots in his first game with Northeastern, and senior fourth-liner Grant Jozefek scored the winner in the third. NU rebounded after a shaky first period to post a shot advantage, 30-19.

Union forward Liam Robinson opened the scoring in the first, and the Dutchmen (0-3) held the advantage through the period and outshot NU (1-0) in the frame. NU evened things out in goals and shots midway through the second when sophomore defender Jordan Harris cashed in off a feed from Zach Solow in close to tally the first Huskies goal this year. Harris skated alongside freshman defender Mike Kesselring, who led the team with seven shots on goal in his NCAA debut.

At 3:16 of the third, freshmen defender Jeremie Bucheler sprung Jozefek with a pass through the middle, and the senior fought off a Dutchman defender and deked out Union goalie Darion Hanson. NU did a pretty good job of shutting things down from there on in; Union only recorded four shots on goal in the third period on 13 attempts. Their most high-danger chances came in the last 30 seconds, but Pantano stood tall and confident to close out a win in his first game since transferring from Merrimack.

“Those mistakes were there earlier in the first period and I thought as the game went along, we got better,” head coach Jim Madigan said after the game.

Senior defender Ryan Shea was second on the team in shots on goal with six in his first game as captain. Both teams finished 0-3 on the power play. Jayden Struble, the highly-regarded freshman defender for NU, sat out the season opener after Madigan noted he dealt with minor injuries during preseason. The two teams go at it again Saturday at 7 p.m.

“Once we got our feet wet we built momentum, and the more we played the more confident we got,” Bucheler said. “… We just started winning our battles in the offensive zone.”