Huskies prevail in 3-2 overtime win against LIU


Taina Lorenzana

Sophomore forward Justin Hyrckowian faces off against LIU.

Ariana Ottrando, news correspondent

Northeastern University’s men’s ice hockey team secured its first win in the first game of the regular season with a 3-2 victory against Long Island University, or LIU, Saturday night. 

The Huskies hosted the Sharks, one of NCAA’s newest hockey teams, in a non-conference matchup at home in Matthews Arena.

This game provided a new start for the Huskies after a heartbreaking overtime loss in the opening round of the NCAA Championship in March. The Huskies fell 2-1 to Western Michigan University, finishing last season with an overall record of 25-13-1.

The 2021-22 season ended with four players graduating, most notably former captain Jordan Harris, creating space for 11 new faces on the team this year — nine freshmen and two transfers. 

With that many new members, the team will need some time to build chemistry and find what line combinations work best. 

“I think it was good, it was a good start. Like anything, it’s so early. I think the chemistry will continue to get better and develop,” said senior forward and captain Aidan McDonough. 

The newcomers took great strides towards doing just that from the get go. The team’s Boston University transfer, sophomore defenseman Braden Doyle, scored the first goal — his first as a Husky — only two minutes into regulation, launching the puck past LIU goaltender Vinnie Purpura. Matt Demelis, a senior forward, and Jack Williams, a freshman forward, are credited for the assists.

While NU took the early lead, the Huskies struggled to maintain the advantage against LIU’s aggressiveness. The first period saw six penalties, three for each team, with both teams unable to capitalize on the power plays. 

“That’s an area that we’re gonna have to keep getting better on all year and our [penalty kill] for sure has to get better. I know we struggled a little bit on the [penalty kill] tonight, so that’s an area that we’re gonna focus on this week,” head coach Jerry Keefe said.

The score was tied up at the start of the second period with LIU’s junior forward Nolan Welsh finding the back of the net on an awkward bounce just 13 seconds in. This quickly motivated the Sharks and encouraged further aggression in the team’s strategy, which NU faced difficulty overcoming once again. 

 “They were physical, and that’s something that our team is gonna have to get used to playing against,” Keefe said. 

While LIU dominated the majority of the second period, winning pucks in the neutral zone and spending a majority of the time in the offensive zone, NU came out on top. Northeastern’s second goal of the game was scored by freshman forward Cam Lund halfway through the period. Lund’s first goal in a Northeastern sweater went post and in, with assists from senior defenseman and assistant captain Jayden Struble and sophomore forward Matt Choupani. 

Lund was drafted 34th overall in this year’s NHL draft to the San Jose Sharks, making him the highest pick of any Husky since Jamie Oleksiak going 14th overall in 2011. 

Starting the third period on a power play, LIU found a way to tie it up 49 seconds in on a rebound from Adam Goodsir, a graduate student forward. The rest of the third was a test for NU to break the tie yet again. 

With LIU’s physical pressure only increasing, the Huskies struggled to maintain possession of the puck and broke out into the forecheck. NU created some scoring opportunities out of desperation in the closing minutes of the third, but couldn’t bury one in the net before the buzzer. Throughout regulation, the Huskies outshot the Sharks 44-33.

The overtime lineup consisted of McDonough, Struble, and freshman defenseman Vinny Borgesi. At the 1:16 mark, Borgesi scored the game-winner and his first goal as a Husky. 

“I’m really a pass-first guy, I really don’t shoot much. But I see [the LIU defenseman] taking a lane there, so I just took it to myself and kind of ripped it,” Borgesi said. “It’s my first college game. For me, that goal, it’s a dream come true.”

Looking at next weekend’s home series against the University of Vermont, the goal remains the same.

“Just continue to get better. We did some good things in this game, build on it, and we can get better in a lot of areas,” said McDonough. “Every week’s going to be harder, that’s how it is, so we gotta be ready.”

Your Northeastern Huskies will face the University of Vermont Catamounts in Matthews Arena on Friday Oct. 7 and Saturday Oct. 8 at 7 p.m.