I don’t know if this is really going to make sense, and I know it won’t be popular, but I wasn’t really that impressed with Northeastern this weekend. The Huskies did earn a conference sweep against the Minutemen. They did outscore UMass 9-2. But it’s UMass.
While Northeastern dominated the first game in Amherst, it was more UMass being bad than anything. After a scoreless first where the Minutemen were kept in the game by big saves from Nic Renyard (really), things fell apart for them in the second. Aston-Reese scored early and five minutes later Roy scored his first of the season. After that, it was like UMass gave up. Northeastern completely controlled the rest of the game, but it was like UMass wasn’t even trying. So, yeah, the Huskies scored five goals and shutout the Minutemen, but they were giving minimal effort for more than half the game.
Northeastern had all sorts of trouble in the Saturday game. After quickly jumping out to a two goal lead, the Huskies blew the lead in the second period. Northeastern was struggling to keep the puck on their sticks. UMass was actually applying pressure. If it wasn’t for the Minutemen repeatedly taking penalties, I’m not convinced the Huskies take two points from the night. That game was much, much more uncomfortable than it should have been.
The one thing that stood out for the Northeastern was special teams. It made the difference for the Huskies, especially in Saturday’s game. UMass was shut out on their powerplay chances in both games. Meanwhile, Northeastern scored four powerplay goals in their ten chances. Three of their four goals Saturday came with the man advantage, and they were actually outscored by the Minutemen at even strength.
It’s weird to sweep a conference series, outscore the opponent by seven, and say it was a little unimpressive, but that’s what it was for me. The Huskies crushed UMass on Friday, but the Minutemen were barely even there. Meanwhile, you can’t knock Northeastern for UMass’ lack of effort. Saturday it was their special teams that saved them. Without the powerplay and penalty kill executing, it’s hard to say that the Huskies win that game. I know it’s a kind of negative look on this weekend’s play considering the outcome, but I can’t really get excited about what we saw. Luckily, the rest of the regular season is an absolute cakewalk.