Northeastern falls 1-2 to Providence College in Hockey East Quarterfinals


Z Weber

The Northeastern men’s hockey team takes the ice against the Providence Friars. The Huskies’ loss to the Friars in the Hockey East quarterfinals put an end to their season.

Lauren Salemo, news staff

Sitting at No. 15 nationally, the Northeastern men’s hockey team (17-13-5, 14-7-3 HE) was only guaranteed a spot in the NCAA tournament if it won the Hockey East championship. But the Huskies were defeated Saturday in the conference quarterfinals 1-2 with an overtime goal from the Providence College Friars (16-13-7, 9-9-6 HE), bringing Northeastern’s season to a close.

Coming into Saturday’s match, seventh-seeded Providence held a 4-2 record over third-seeded Northeastern in all-time postseason play, and had already recorded a win and a tie in the teams’ two meetings this season. Despite the pair’s history, the Huskies seemed to dominate the first period. Right after puck drop, Northeastern continuously strung together passes, seamlessly working their way up to their offensive zone in the first few minutes of the game. 

Even with multiple good looks in the first frame, Northeastern’s only goal of the night came during a power play halfway through the first period after Providence sophomore defender Will Schimek was sent to the box for interference. After a minute of five-on-four play, freshman forward Cam Lund fired the puck between two Providence defensemen, finding the back of the net and putting the Huskies on the board.  

Up 1-0, Northeastern looked to protect its lead, making five blocked shots in the remaining half of the first period. After 20 minutes of play, the Huskies totaled 12 on-frame shots, while the Friars tallied five. 

But after the first intermission, Providence grew hungry for an equalizer, putting 20 shots on net in the second period. Northeastern only notched four. 

Twenty-three minutes into the game, a high-speed shot from Providence freshman forward Liam Valente made Matthews Arena gasp — and Friar fans roar — as it ricocheted off the post. It was one of Providence’s best looks all night as the team began to amp up its offensive pressure.

The Friars continued to pepper the Huskies with shots throughout the second frame, and sought an opportunity to bury the puck during a power play nine minutes into the second period. Husky freshman defender Jackson Dorrington was issued a minor for roughing, giving Providence the extra skater.

The Huskies succeeded with the penalty kill and stayed ahead thanks to blocked shots by freshman defenseman Hunter McDonald and sophomore forward Justin Hryckowian, as well as five saves from junior goaltender Devon Levi. 

Moments later, however, the Friars leveled the score. Moving the puck toward the right side of the goal, Providence senior forward Parker Ford pulled Levi to the right of the crease before skating around the back to slip the puck into the net. 

With only six minutes remaining in the period, the Huskies hoped for another power play goal as Providence senior forward Patrick Moynihan took a penalty for interference. But Northeastern was only able to notch two shots during the five-on-four advantage, both of which were blocked by Providence.

The Friars had another crack at scoring in the 38th minute during a scrum around Northeastern’s net. They were not successful, however, as the Huskies were able to clear the puck from the crease and regain possession.

As the timer buzzed at the end of the second period, Friars’ sophomore forward Riley Duran launched a shot from center ice, but the puck was deflected by Levi. The two teams looked to break the tie with 20 minutes left in regulation.

Both teams entered the third period with a life-or-death intensity only found in a playoff matchup. The Friars continued to pummel Northeastern’s goal. Multiple skirmishes seemed like they would pull Providence ahead, but the Huskies’ blueliners proved resilient, fighting to stay alive through regulation.

The Huskies fired back at the Friars’ offensive campaign when junior forward Sam Colangelo ripped three shots towards the Providence goal within two seconds, but none were able to find the back of the net.

As the game drew closer to the 60-minute mark, Providence saw its best chance at scoring a game-winning goal during a power play after McDonald was penalized for roughing.

Both teams had multiple scoring chances in the last few minutes of regulation. Despite 10 on-goal shots from Northeastern and six from Providence in the third period, neither could capitalize. A 20-minute sudden-death overtime would determine who would move onto the semifinals and who would hang up their skates. 

Four minutes into the extra period, the Huskies were defeated with an overtime goal from Providence freshman forward Brady Berard. A shot from Friars’ sophomore defender Guillaume Richard bounced off the end boards and into the crease, allowing Berard to tap the puck just past Levi, advancing Providence to the Hockey East semifinals. The game-winner was Berard’s first career goal.

Northeastern held onto hope and challenged the goal for goaltender interference, but after review, the call on the ice stood. After 64 minutes of play, Providence outshot Northeastern 34-26. Despite a first-period lead by Lund and a 32-save performance from Levi, the Huskies were unable to take down the Friars, drawing their season to a close. 

“It’s a tough loss anytime your season ends in overtime,” head coach Jerry Keefe said. “It wasn’t the result we were looking for tonight.”

Despite the loss, Keefe hopes the Huskies take pride in their work this season and, more importantly, in their program.

“They’ve accomplished some good things and made a lot of great friends,” Keefe said. “I hope they can walk out of here saying they became better people and better hockey players and that they’re proud that they wore the Northeastern uniform.”