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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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The Huskies are moving on: Northeastern defeats Merrimack in opening round of Hockey East tournament

Sofia Sawchuk
Freshman forward Andy Moore chases down the forecheck for Northeastern. The Huskies defeated Merrimack 4-0 in the first postseason shutout in program history.

On Wednesday, the Northeastern men’s hockey team (17-15-3, 9-14-1 HE) shut out the Merrimack Warriors (13-21-1, 6-17-1 HE) 4-0 in their final home game of the season, securing their path to the Hockey East quarterfinals. 

Northeastern opened the period, dominating possession and taking three shots within the first three minutes. Senior forward Alex Campbell found the net on the Huskies’ fourth shot of the game. Junior forward Justin Hryckowian, who was recently named Hockey East’s best defensive forward of the year for the second time,  won back the faceoff in the Warrior’s zone. Campbell chased it and took a shot right down the center. With Merrimack’s defense not yet set, the puck flew straight into the net, putting Northeastern up 1-0 and extending Campbell’s team-leading goals to 22. 

The teams traded blows, and in the ninth minute, Northeastern graduate student defenseman Pito Walton was called for interference. The two-minute 5-on-4 advantage gave the Warriors an opportunity to even things up, but the Huskies’ defense held its own. With five shots, two of which hit the pipe, Merrimack was doing everything they could, but nothing was making it past freshman goaltender Cameron Whitehead. 

With just over a minute left in the period, sophomore defenseman Hunter McDonald was sent to the box for high sticking. Northeastern’s defense was gaining momentum and kept Merrimack to just two shots before senior forward Alex Jefferies was penalized for holding with 31 seconds left  on the power play.While playing  4-on-4 with eight seconds left in the period, the Huskies maintained their lead as the first period ended. 

As the second period began, Northeastern was able to get a minute of power play time as the penalties carried over. Sophomore forward Jack Williams, the leading scorer in power play goals for the Huskies, tried to get the puck in the net but the Warrier’s defense didn’t allow a single shot on goal. 

In the twelfth minute of the period, freshman forward Dylan Hryckowian passed the puck to Campbell from behind Merrimack’s net. Near the right faceoff circle , Campbell rifled the puck back to sophomore defenseman Vinny Borgesi at the point. Borgesi sent a bullet to the net, passing BU’s sophomore defenseman Zach Bookman and senior goalie Zachary Borgiel and giving the Huskies a 2-0 lead. 

Merrimack desperately tried to respond, taking shot after shot, but couldn’t get on the board.  

The Huskies struck again with three minutes left in the period. Dylan Hryckowian took a swing at the net, but Borgiel made the save. Justin Hryckowian quickly scooped the puck up for the rebound, but Borgiel was there once again. The puck slid back to Walton, who swung it in for his fifth goal of the season. 

The 3-0 Huskies lead frustrated the Warriors, and play became physical. In the last minute of the period, a fight near Merrimack’s net put Dylan Hryckowian, freshman forward Luke Weilandt, and freshman defenseman Max Wattvil in the box. Head coach Jerry Keefe challenged the call for a potential major, claiming contact to Dylan Hryckowian’s head, but he was denied. 

The third period began with the Huskies’ 4-on-3 advantage. While Northeastern didn’t score in the opening power play, their aggressiveness with the puck set the tone for the rest of the game. The Huskies commanded possession and kept the puck in their attack zone. They weren’t playing to just maintain the lead, but to score again. 

In the last minutes of the game, head coach Scott Borek pulled Borgiel, leaving the Warriors’ net wide open. In Borek’s worst-case scenario, Justin Hryckowian stole the puck on a misfired Merrimack pass and headed toward the empty goal. Justin Hryckowian passed left to Dylan Hryckowian, who fired it in. The brother-to-brother connection secured the first postseason shutout in program history, 4-0, and ended the Warriors’ season. 

“In the third period, we played the game the right way with the lead,” Keefe said. “That was exactly what we talked about, and I credit our guys. I thought everybody bought into it. That was one of our best periods of the year.”

UNH’s win over UMass Lowell put the Huskies up against Boston University (24-8-2, 18-4-2 HE) in the quarterfinals. Northeastern has won the past two matchups against the Terriers, including their 4-3 overtime victory in the Beanpot finals. 

“When you play against BU, you’re always in for a good game,” Justin Hryckowian said. It brings out the best in both teams. We’re excited to go to their building and play a tight, hard playoff game.” 

The battle of the Boston schools is set for 4:15 p.m. this Saturday at Agganis Arena. 

About the Contributor
Esha Minhas, Deputy Sports Editor
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