Huskies take Wildcats’ ninth life: Northeastern hands New Hampshire ninth loss of the season


Mika Podila

Junior goaltender Devon Levi lunges to make a save against the UNH Wildcats. This weekend, Levi broke the program’s career shutout record with 12 shutouts in 41 games.

Eli Curwin, news staff

The Northeastern men’s hockey team (6-2-2, 5-2-1 HE) skated away with a dominant 6-2 victory over the University of New Hampshire, or UNH, Wildcats (3-6-1, 0-6-1 HE) Nov.4 . Led by a career-first hat trick from sophomore forward Justin Hryckowian and a momentous 100th career point for senior forward Aidan McDonough, the Huskies pieced together one of the teams’ best performances of the year.

Throughout the game, the Huskies offense showed a beautiful combination of precise passing and crafty scoring, garnering six goals and totaling 18 points, both season highs. 

Hryckowian’s first hat trick came during an excellent start to his sophomore season, as the forward has collected 12 points in 10 games. For McDonough, his 100th point speaks to a lengthy 4-year stretch of continued offensive dominance. 

“It obviously feels pretty special, you know, so many great players before me to hit that mark and [I’ve] just been really fortunate to play with so many good players over the course of my four years,” McDonough said. “Everyone on the team, this all goes out to them. [I] can think of so many guys who have helped me get to [this] point.”

Despite what head coach Jerry Keefe described as a slow start, the Huskies took the lead early in the first period. After a sloppy first 10 minutes of play, Northeastern’s offense was able to collect itself, and a sequence of passes from freshman forward Hunter McDonald and senior forward Riley Hughes set up senior defenseman Jeremie Bucheler for a one-timer.

Five minutes after the Huskies’ first goal, Hryckowian added to the lead. After moving the puck around the zone, sophomore forward Braden Doyle whipped the puck toward UNH freshman goalie Tyler Muszelik. McDonough got his stick on the puck, forcing Muszelik to block the shot, not save it. Hryckowian got the rebound undefended, and put it in for the Huskies’ second goal of the night.

As the period ended, Northeastern’s defense protected the team’s lead. The Huskies’ ability to close gaps in the defense and poke the puck free kept Northeastern up throughout the latter half of the first period. 

The Huskies offense and defense continued to fire on all cylinders heading into the second period. Two minutes into the period, sophomore defenseman Cam Gaudette zipped a pass to McDonough, who found Hryckowian again for the duo’s second points of the night and Gaudette’s first career point on the secondary assist. 

Northeastern’s offense was rolling. The Wildcats pulled Muszelik for senior goalie David Fessenden, and following a successful Husky penalty kill, Northeastern’s offense mustered five shots in one minute.

However, UNH put a dent in Northeastern’s lead about halfway through the period. Freshman center Cy LeClerc was able to collect the puck off the boards and wrap a pass around Bucheler into the stick of Wildcat sophomore defenseman Jack Babbage. Babbage sent a backhanded pass to freshman forward Jake Dunlap who zipped it past junior goalie Devon Levi for his first career goal and the Wildcats’ first score of the night. 

Northeastern’s offense came roaring back, spending lengthy possessions in the zone, forcing the UNH defense out of position and taking several more shots at UNH’s netminder. However, Fessenden was able to temporarily hold off the Huskies from extending the teams’ lead. 

With three minutes left in the period, Northeastern’s offense would not be halted by the Wildcats. Northeastern’s aggressive rushes and quick passing kept the pressure up on UNH’s defense, whose defensive strategy of keeping the puck out of the middle of the ice was floundering. After a between-the-legs pass from Hryckowian to McDonough, McDonough whipped a shot toward Fessenden, and on the rebound, junior forward Sam Colangelo lit the lamp, restoring the Huskies’ lead to three.   

Before the second period horn sounded, Hughes and Wildcat sophomore forward Robert Cronin were put in the penalty box. Heading into the third period, both teams would be down a skater, but because Hughes’ penalty occurred before Cronin’s, Northeastern would have a power play at the start of the third.

This would prove useful for the Huskies. Thirty seconds into the period, a perfect pass from junior forward Gunnarwolfe Fontaine skidded past two defenders onto McDonough’s stick, who weaved around Fessenden and scored. The goal marked the Huskies’ fifth of the night and gave McDonough his 100th career point.

Northeastern almost added another goal to the team’s lead when freshman forward Cam Lund tipped the puck in with his glove. Because a player is not allowed to score with their glove, the goal was called off after review. But that wouldn’t stop the Huskies from scoring again, when a pretty pass from Doyle set Hryckowian up for an angelic array of dekes and his third goal of the night. 

“It’s always good when you can help the team score a couple of goals,” Hryckowian said on his hat trick. “The puck kind of has been following me a little bit and I’ve been lucky to capitalize lately.”

UNH was able to score a second time with a goal from Wildcat senior forward and captain Chase Stevenson. Following a series of Wildcat shot attempts, Levi failed to corral the puck in a pile of skaters, and Stevenson slapped it in before the group of players fell onto Levi.

Though Northeastern had several opportunities to score, the team could not find the back of the net in the final 10 minutes of play. 

After the Nov. 4 6-2 victory, Northeastern headed to New Hampshire to play the Wildcats on the second night of back-to-back games. Northeastern defeated the Wildcats again, 3-0. 

A weekend infused with career milestones, the two victories were stellar displays of Northeastern’s fast-paced offense and synergetic defense. Hryckowian added to his weekend point total with two more goals in the Nov. 5 game. Levi set a new school shutout record of 12 shutouts in 82 fewer games than the previous record holder. With a goal and an assist on the second night of play, Fontaine stockpiled his 50th career point. And McDonough, in addition to collecting his 100th point, notched his 100th career game. 

Looking to extend its three-game win streak, Northeastern faced Boston College in a home game Nov. 11 at 7:00 p.m.