No. 15 Northeastern falls 2-1 to No. 14 UMass Lowell in first game back with fans


Kayla Shiao

Northeastern falls 2-1 to UMass Lowell.

Eli Curwin, news staff

Facing the top team in the Hockey East, a shorthanded No. 15 Northeastern University looked to bounce back from their two previous losses in Friday’s matchup against No. 14 University of Massachusetts Lowell. Despite a strong performance from freshman goalie TJ Semptimphelter, the Huskies’ hurried and inconsistent offense led to a 2-1 defeat.

With the student section filled for the first time since early December, and the Huskies dawning their classic red uniforms, the Northeastern men’s hockey team took the ice — with a few notable absences.  

The Huskies were without star sophomore goalie Devon Levi as he prepares for the 2022 Winter Olympics. The Quebec native will be representing Team Canada in Beijing.  Also missing from the roster was freshman forward Ryan St. Louis, as he recently joined the roster of USHL Dubuque. Rounding out the absences for the Huskies was junior defenseman Jayden Struble, who was out with an injury.

After winning the initial faceoff, the game began with a strong start for the Huskies. Spending plenty of time in Lowell’s zone, and notching seven shots in five minutes, the offense entered the game hot. However, after an interference penalty on junior forward Riley Hughes, the offense simmered down.  

Only taking three more shots for the rest of the period, the Huskies’ offense was riddled with unforced errors and rushed passes. Breakaways consisted of whiffed shots and intercepted passes.

Despite several difficult saves and strong defensive play overall, a first period River Hawks goal put the Huskies down early at 10:47. The score came when a tipped shot from the right side by freshman forward Stefan Owens rose its way into the goal following a Northeastern penalty kill.

The River Hawks maintained control of the puck for the latter half of the period, but timely defense from Northeastern graduate student defenseman Tommy Miller and impressive play in goal from Semptimphelter allowed the Huskies to end the period without giving up another goal.

The second period started with more ineffective Huskies offense and ample Huskies defense. About six minutes in, a goaltender interference penalty from freshman forward Matt Choupani gave the River Hawks a power play.

With the best penalty kill rate in the Hockey East, a percentage of 91.8, Northeastern escaped the Lowell power play unharmed. However, their offense consisted solely of an ineffectual dump and chase strategy, further hindering an already struggling offensive showing.

As the second period went on, Semptimphelter continued to perform well in goal, saving seven shots in two minutes after the kill. Despite the strong presence in goal, a Northeastern pass stolen deep in their own zone by River Hawks freshman forward Matt Crasa, led to an unassisted goal for the River Hawks.

Down 2-0 midway through the second period, the situation looked dire for the Huskies. Following the faceoff, Northeastern settled into a long offensive possession. A swift sequence of passes led to a goal from the right side by junior forward Matt Demelis, assisted by junior defenseman Jeremie Bucheler and sophomore forward Sam Colangelo.

With the deficit cut to one, the game continued as a close back and forth. About 15 minutes into the period, a Colangelo tip-in appeared to give Northeastern the equalizer. A high stick call negated the point, and the period ended 2-1 in Lowell’s favor.

The third period began on a River Hawk’s power play, as a slashing penalty put Jack Hughes into the box with seconds left in the previous period. Once again, a strong Northeastern kill strategy prevented Lowell from scoring.

Both teams continued to organize their offenses, but neither could find the back of the net. Lowell’s offense mustered several shots, but Semptimphelter kept the game within reach for the Huskies.

As the final 10 minutes of the game began, the Huskies’ offense started to pick up much needed steam. However, lengthy Lowell possessions and strong defensive play from the River Hawks prevented Northeastern from tying the game.

With a little over a minute left, Northeastern pulled Semptimphelter for an extra skater. After taking several shots in the final minute, Northeastern’s late surge was too little too late. As the horn sounded, the once eager fans exited Matthews disappointed.

Northeastern will play the University of Vermont Friday at Matthews Arena. Looking forward, Northeastern will play Boston College in the first round of the Beanpot Monday, hoping to regain their momentum before the final stretch of the regular season.