No. 10 Huskies split home-and-home against No. 19 Providence

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Jordan Baron

Men’s Ice Hockey team split in weekend against tough opponent Providence.

Leah Cussen, city editor

No. 10 men’s hockey found a tough competitor in No. 19 Providence College after Hockey East added the series Dec. 15, four days before the puck dropped. In it, NU (2-1-1, 2-1-1 HEA) won the first game with one goal in a shootout and a final score of 3-3. In the second game, however, the Huskies took a tough 5-0 loss — their first of the season. 

“Where we are now, we think we’ve got some good team speed and we’ve got some skill up front and we’ve got some agile, mobile defensemen back there,” said head coach Jim Madigan after the Dec. 19 game. “There’s still a lot for us to make improvements on.”

While Providence (2-2-1, 2-2-1 HEA) provided impressive plays, the Huskies brought some power of their own. Sophomore defenseman Jayden Struble finished the first game with two points — one goal and one assist — and was on the ice for all three NU goals. Sophomore goaltender Connor Murphy made key saves in both games, and ended with a total of 66 saves across the two. 

 

Huskies take game one with shootout goal, 3-3

With an early puck drop at Matthews Arena Saturday, the Huskies were ready for their second series of the season — this time against Providence. 

Period one saw an early goal by Struble at 3:14 — his first goal of the season — with assists by junior defenseman Julian Kislin and junior forward Austin Goldstein. 

While NU had a strong start, Providence junior forward Matt Koopman tied up the score with an 11:44 goal. 

An 18:43 slashing penalty on sophomore forward Aidan McDonough led to the first power play of the game, which the Huskies were able to kill effectively. Each team finished with two power-play opportunities each, with one power-play goal from Providence — a stark contrast from NU’s previous game against Merrimack in which the Huskies made two goals on six power plays and the Warriors made two on seven. 

The Friars’ power-play goal came late in the second period. After a 14:46 penalty on junior forward Marco Bozzo for high sticking, Providence freshman defenseman Uula Ruikka scored on  Murphy, bringing the score to 2-1. 

While the Huskies were unable to capitalize on their two power plays — both of which occurred during the second period — freshman forward Ty Jackon managed to close out the period with his second goal of the season at 18:59. Jackson saw assists from Struble and sophomore forward Matt DeMelis. 

“Ty Jackson creates a lot of energy and his line, I thought, played really well,” said senior forward Zach Solow. “When they got that goal there with a minute left in the second, that’s big time, that’s scoring that we talk about.”

As the third period began with the score tied at two, both teams were eager to score. Still, no goals came until the very end of the period, with an unassisted goal by Solow, his third of the season. What seemed like a secure victory for the Huskies was quickly challenged when the Friars’ sophomore goaltender Jaxson Stauber left the net at 18:29, giving them an extra attacker on the ice. With just over a minute left in the period, the game was tied up once again with a goal by Providence senior forward Greg Printz. 

In the first period of overtime, neither team was able to score, sending the game into a shootout period. The Huskies won the shootout 1-0 with a goal from McDonough. Murphy ended with 36 saves and his first shootout win, while Stauber finished with 27 saves. NU saw their first shootout win since 2013, and their first Hockey East shootout win since 1996. 

 

Providence shutout brings first NU loss of the season , 5-0

Coming off a double overtime win and heading into the Friars’ home rink, the Huskies lacked the intensity that Providence brought to the second game of their home-and-home series. 

The first period saw 17 shots on goal by Providence, and only ten from NU. In the same period, the Huskies missed out on two power-play opportunities, while the first Providence goal was during their first power play of the game. It came at 17:20 by senior forward Jason O’Neill. 

The Friars’ second goal of the night was scored by junior forward Tyce Thompson with only two seconds left in the period, giving Providence a two-goal lead. 

A cross-checking penalty on Struble at the end of the first period gave Providence a power-play opportunity to start off the second. Forty-two seconds in, Providence saw their third goal — and second power-play goal — of the game, scored by sophomore forward Parker Ford. 

The Huskies had two more power-play opportunities during the second, but couldn’t get the puck past Stauber, who finished the game with 28 saves. 

Despite their three-goal lead, the Friars were not giving up any chances they had to score in the third period. Printz scored on an empty net at 19:21 — his second point of the game and fourth of the weekend series. Twenty-two seconds later, Providence sophomore forward Craig Needham scored a four-on-four goal, the fifth and final goal of the game.

“We’ll learn from what we didn’t do well today and get back at it tomorrow,” Madigan said. “We had some stretches, we had some chances … we couldn’t get one by the goal.”

The Huskies will look to prove themselves in their next weekend series against Vermont Dec. 26 and 27 in Burlington.