No. 7/8 Northeastern Huskies breaks three-game winning streak in close battle with No. 15 Providence


Kayla Shiao

Sophomore forward Justin Hryckowian races to protect the puck from Providence College.

Ariana Ottrando, news staff

On Saturday, the Northeastern men’s ice hockey team (3-1-0, 2-1-0 HE) faced its first loss of the season against Providence College (3-0-0, 1-0-0 HE). Coming off a sweep against the University of Vermont, Northeastern fell short in a 2-1 game with the Friars during its second Hockey East matchup this season. 

The first period saw plenty of scoring opportunities for NU, but the Huskies were unable to capitalize on them — the closest being a backdoor one-timer by graduate student forward and assistant captain Jakov Novak gobbled by Providence freshman goaltender Philip Svedebäck for a highlight-reel-worthy save at 7:10. 

After some action in both offensive zones, Providence took the lead at 11 minutes into the game on a rebound glove-side. Sophomore forward Riley Duran buried the puck five-hole under Northeastern junior goalie Devon Levi after a wrap-around attempt by Providence freshman forward Brady Berard. Berard and sophomore forward Cody Monds are credited with the assists. 

Although Providence outshot Northeastern 18-8 in the first period, the shot count wasn’t a fair evaluation of the Huskies’ quality of play, a theme head coach Jerry Keefe noted continued throughout the game.

“I wouldn’t get too caught up in the shot totals,” Keefe said. “I didn’t think that defined the game at all. [Providence] puts a lot of pucks from everywhere on the net, but I also thought we battled defensively. I didn’t think we broke pucks out great tonight, and that’s where we were allowing a little more zone time, I thought. That’s something we’re going to have to get better at.”

Trailing 0-1 to start the second period, Northeastern’s offensive drive was put on the backburner when a five-minute major was called on freshman defenseman Hunter McDonald for a hit from behind. 

The Huskies’ penalty kill, or PK, was almost successful until a Friar found the back of NU’s net with 25 seconds remaining in the major. Senior forward Patrick Moynihan scored Providence’s power play goal backdoor off feeds from junior forwards Brett Berard and Nick Poisson. 

“[The PK] was excellent,” Keefe said. “It was disappointing because we were really building momentum. I thought our guys sold out for each other and had some huge blocks. We’re in the right position and [Moynihan] makes a pretty good play with 25 seconds left. To have to kill a five-minute major, that’s tough to do against a good team.”

Down 0-2, the Huskies continued to make strides towards a first goal. At 12:55 into the second, the tables turned when Friar senior defenseman Cam McDonald was sent to the penalty box for holding, giving Northeastern its first power play. 

On the first puck drop in Providence’s offensive zone, NU sophomore forward Justin Hryckowian cleanly won the faceoff and the power play unit of all forwards was buzzing, sending the puck between different lanes to gauge who had the best angle to score on Svedebäck. 

Thirty seconds into the power play off a shot from the middle of the face-off circles, junior forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine ripped the puck bar-down to put Northeastern on the board and cut Providence’s lead to one with his second goal of the season. Senior forward and captain Aidan McDonough and junior forward Sam Colangelo are credited with the assists. 

Northeastern headed into the third period needing one goal to take away Providence’s lead and tie the game. After an interference call on Providence freshman forward Jaroslav Chmelar, NU had the one-man advantage again, giving the team an opportunity to do so. 

Halfway through the power play, Fontaine put the puck on net for a good opportunity and Hryckowian almost closed the rebound, but the Huskies were unable to capitalize before play returned to even-strength. 

With time now working against them in the final minutes of the third, the Huskies scrambled to bury the tying goal to send the game into overtime. Levi was pulled at 18:57 in a last effort for Northeastern, but the final score stood at 1-2 Providence. 

The total shot count for the game ended at 31-51 in Providence’s favor. Seeing 51 shots, Levi walked away with 49 saves for the night, his highest total yet this season.

“I like the fact that we’re turning around playing right away because I know our guys are disappointed right now. They don’t want to lose hockey games,” Keefe said. “We’ll focus on learning from this game tomorrow [and] really put our focus on Monday on getting ready for the [next] game.”

The Huskies will look to take back the top seed in Hockey East Tuesday, Oct. 18 against cross-town rivals, the Boston College Eagles. Puck drop for the homecoming game is set for 7 p.m. in Matthews Arena.