The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

‘Just keep working, keep grinding. Eventually, it’s going to fall for us.’: Northeastern wins 5-3 against Merrimack

Val O’Neill
The Huskies celebrate a goal scored by Jack Williams against Merrimack Friday night. Northeastern swept the Merrimack College Warriors in a two-game weekend series.

After a close loss to the University of Massachusetts Amherst last week, the Northeastern men’s hockey team (9-12-2, 4-11-0 HE) entered the ice against Merrimack College (10-14-1, 3-11-1 HE) Friday, playing noticeably more cohesively, and it led them to a 5-3 victory. After bad turnovers led to the disappointing 2-1 loss to UMass, it was evident the Huskieswere aiming to change that Friday night. 

In the third minute of the game, Merrimack graduate student forward Mac Welsher was called for tripping near the Warriors net, giving Northeastern its first power play of the night. Halfway through the power play, sophomore center Jack Williams slid the puck to senior left wing Gunnarwolfe Fontaine, who took a shot from near center ice. The shot bounced off of senior goaltender Zachary Borgiel’s knee and slid right in front of sophomore right wing Cam Lund, who was able to finish William’s effort and shove the puck in for a 1-0 lead and his ninth goal of the season. 

However, Merrimack was quick to shut down the Huskies’ excitement. As the DogHouse’s goal celebrations continued, graduate student forward Filip Forsmark stole the puck from sophomore defenseman Jackson Dorrington in Northeastern’s zone. Forsmark made a pass to junior forward Matt Copponi, who tried to take a swing, but the puck deflected off skates and back into Forsmark’s hands. Forsmark passed left to graduate student forward Ben Brar who was right on the net and fired the puck past Northeastern freshman goaltender Cameron Whitehead’s reach. The score was tied 1-1. 

Northeastern had another chance on the power play when Forsmark was sent to the box for cross-checking in the eighth minute. Getting four shots off, the Huskies failed to convert. 

Merrimack had their first power play in the sixteenth minute after a holding was called on sophomore defender Hunter McDonald. Northeastern kept the score tied and held the Warriors to just three shots in the two minutes. 

The teams entered the second period tied at one, and just like before, Northeastern drew first blood. Less than two minutes into the period, junior center Justin Hryckowian stole a misfired pass from the Warriors and slid down the ice. Hryckowian passed to freshman right wing and younger brother Dylan Hryckowian, who slid the puck toward the net and took a swing. Borgiel stopped the initial shot, but Justin Hryckowian followed his brother to the goal and was able to shove the puck in after the block. The brother-to-brother connection put the Huskies on top 2-1. 

Fifty seconds after Justin Hryckowian’s goal, Williams followed up with one of his own. Sophomore defender Vinny Borgesi passed the puck left to Williams as they entered Merrimack’s zone. Williams guided the puck closer to the net, and with the Warriors scrambling to get a defender on Williams, he got a shot off, and it flew into the net past Borgiel’s left shoulder. The Huskies were leading 3-1. 

Jack Williams handles the puck along the boards. Williams tallied three points for the Huskies in Friday night’s game against Merrimack. (Val O’Neill)

It was the Huskies’ show from that point on. 

In the eighth minute of the period, Lund stole the puck from the Warriors and took it down the ice. Borgiel was creeping to his left, and as Lund passed to Fontaine, he had a half-open net where he quickly got the shot off and in to extend the Husky lead 4-1. 

Merrimack was putting in an effort to catch up to the extending Northeastern lead, but Whitehead was having a phenomenal game. The Warriors put up decent shots the rest of the period several were one-on-one against Whitehead but once Whitehead got on a roll, he was not letting anything past him. Whitehead kept the score 4-1 going into the third. 

Like the past two periods, Northeastern opened the third period with an early goal. Less than a minute into the frame, senior forward Alex Campbell came from behind the Warriors’ net and passed the puck to Williams. Right in front of the goal, Borgiel went to his knees too early, and Williams was able to take a high shot into the net. Willams’ second goal of the game put the Huskies up 5-1.

However, in the third minute of the period, Merrimack was finally able to get another one past Whitehead. From behind the Huskies’ net, junior forward Devlin O’Brien outmaneuvered three Huskies and transferred the puck to freshman forward Ethan Bono who forced the puck in. The Warriors had a long way to go, but it was now 5-2. 

Northeastern maintained the three-goal lead for most of the third period, even after freshman defenseman Michael Fisher was put in the box for interference in the thirteenth minute. 

With a minute left in the game, Dylan Hryckowian was called for tripping, leading to a Merrimack power-play goal with just 32 seconds left. Head coach Scott Boreck pulled Merrimack’s goalie to have a 6-on-4 advantage. Freshman forward Ty Daneault got a straight, high shot, and it flew over Whitehead’s shoulder. 

Northeastern secured the game with a 5-3 finish. The victory provided a massive boost for the team as they came off a close loss last week. 

“We needed to win,” head coach Jerry Keefe said after the game. “Tonight, I [think] we got back to our identity that we’ve been talking about and looking for.” 

The difference in the team’s passing, ability to keep the puck in their offensive zone and overall team energy was visible.Whitehead had 20 saves, and William’s two goals put him on top of the team, now leading with 12 goals on the season. 

“To get back in the scoring columns [feels] good,” Williams said. “It was a good win by us.”

On Saturday, Northeastern continued their momentum to win against Merrimack 4-1. Northeastern will be home on Tuesday to play No. 1 Boston University (16-6-1, 11-3-1 HE). Puck drop is set for 6:30 p.m.

About the Contributor
Val O’Neill, Deputy Campus Editor
Val O’Neill is a third-year journalism major with a minor in photography, and one of the deputy campus editors. She has previously been a staff writer and staff photographer, and is excited to bring new ideas and continue her participation on The News. You can follow her on X/Twitter at @vqon717.
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