Week 1 Reaction: Toothpasted

Nolan Stevens

10/10/15: Northeastern 2, Colgate 1

What a way to start the season.  The Huskies came out firing on opening night.

Northeastern looked much, much better than the final score would indicate.  They absolutely dominated the first two periods of the game.  It felt like Colgate was barely ever in the Northeastern zone, with the obvious exception of the goal when the Huskies were unable to clear.  The Huskies did a really good job both maintaining possession of the puck in the Colgate end, and trapping the Raiders in there when they did manage to get it back.  In total, Northeastern out-attempted Colgate by 30, completely controlling play.

The Colgate goalie Charlie Finn was the only thing stopping this game from being an absolute bloodbath.  He made 41 saves on the night, some of them on really good Northeastern chances.  Have to give it up to that dude, he’s played really well against Northeastern going back to his two shutouts last season.

Derick Roy also had a great game in net.  Let’s be honest, although Northeastern played great, the defense hung him out to dry in some spots, especially in the third.  Colgate had a few breakaway chances and Roy held his ground.  The play of the defensemen was the only thing I saw in the game that made me a little nervous.  There were some bad exchanges between partners and we saw guys getting caught out of position and unable to chase down the breaking Colgate players.  I’m sure that’s the kind of stuff that will smooth out with time.  Hopefully that won’t be an issue going forward.

The last thing I want to do in this post is to call attention to the game winning goal from Nolan Stevens.  I don’t really have much to say about it other than it is incredible and I’ve watched it like 45 times today.

PS – Wanted to give a shout out to former Northeastern Husky Ryan Belonger for scoring the game winner for Arizona State’s first win with 30 seconds left in the game

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Week 1 Preview: Colgate

Derick Roy

Has anyone every won a game by triple digits?  No?  Well get ready to set some history on Saturday night as Northeastern takes on Colgate in the season opener.

The Raiders spent their Sunday afternoon giving up nine goals to the Mighty Mercyhurst Lakers in a losing effort (pls don’t look at Saturday).  Yes, those same Mercyhurst Lakers who came in fifth place in Atlantic Hockey.  Things got so bad, they ended up giving the hook to their goalie midway through the second.  Colgate did little to justify their 20th place ranking in the USCHO preseason poll or the 12 votes they got in the USA Today poll.

While that disaster of a game was going on, your Northeastern Huskies were busy setting back Canadian hockey another twenty years with a 10-2 dismantling of Simon Fraser.  I can’t help but feel that the 19th century British fur trader would be horrified at the performance done in his name on Sunday.  The Huskies looked good enough to cause me to wonder if they would ever lose again.

Northeastern returns all but five regular players (Lauwers, Reid, Snydeman, Szmatula, and Witt), including the entire first two lines.  All due respect to the departed, but the 15-16 Huskies shouldn’t have any problem replacing the production from the skaters that have moved on.  What appear to be the two new lines were somehow even more impressive.  BU transfer Sam Kurker and freshman Adam Gaudette join the ZAR to make a line surely capable of carrying on the #badboysforlife torch.  The Brendan Collier line, with Lincoln Griffin and Dwayne Robertson – I mean Jason Cotton, was the best line in the game.  Pat Schule on that fifth line was also disruptive on the forecheck.  Trying to match up with a team rolling four lines like that is making me exhausted just picturing it.

Due to complete dominance, we didn’t get to see much of the new defensemen.  Thanks, Simon Fraser.  Pretty much the only thing we learned about the new D faces was that Eric Williams has a cannon for a shot.  While Witt is obviously a big loss, I’m confident Derick Roy and the improved defense in front of him will be able to pick up the slack.  Everyone’s talking about questions in net for Northeastern, seemingly forgetting that Roy posted a .926 even strength save percentage last season.  He won Hockey East goaltender of the month last January.  Derick Roy is going to be fine in net.

All in all, I think this team should be better throughout the 2015-16 season than they were last year.  Starting off the season with a 127-0 win over Colgate is the way to start.

Week 9 Preview: Providence

Kevin Roy

The Huskies will try to keep the momentum going, having won three of their last four, against Providence.  The schedule’s a little different this week, hosting the Friars tomorrow (Wednesday) night, and playing a day game in Providence on Saturday.

Coming off a huge win against Minnesota, Northeastern has quite a challenge facing them.  Providence is on a streak of their own, winning their last three. The Friars haven’t allowed more than two goals in a game since Halloween.  That’s eight games.  Jon Gillies is coming off an incredible run these past few weekends in net, saving all 43 shots he faced against Boston College on Saturday.

There is something to be said for the possession story, though.  Although Madigan likes to downplay possession as an important factor in the game, Northeastern has been dominating in shots recently.  Providence, for all their defensive prowess, has been outshot on the year.  If Northeastern can keep up the work in the offensive zone, both holding onto the puck and aggressively forechecking, and continue to win faceoffs they stand a good chance of being able to penetrate Providence’s defense and put enough past Gillies to keep the positive momentum going.  If they win tomorrow, they’d even have a winning streak!

PS – Pretty disappointing to see such a small student turnout for the last game.  I know it was break and the team got off to a rough start, but Minnesota was ranked third in the country.  There are no classes Thursday and the team is on a tear so no excuses.  Come out and support the team.

Week 8 Preview: Minnesota

Mike McMurtry

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed a traditional roast gopher for good luck.

Northeastern hosts third ranked Minnesota this Saturday at Matthews and they certainly have their work cut out for them.  Minnesota only has three losses on the season, two against Duluth and one against St. Cloud State.  They were ranked the number one team going into the season and held on to that ranking for quite some time.  I personally consider them to be the best team in the country this year having seen very little hockey outside of Hockey East (sorry BU).

Basically, from looking at Minnesota’s College Hockey Stats page, Northeastern has one, very small chance of victory.  The Gophers are playing a solid BC the night before while the Huskies have the night off.  On the stats sheet it looks like Minnesota has the advantage in just about every category.  If Northeastern can keep up pressure on the forecheck like they did in the second Merrimack game, they might be able to force mistakes from a tired Minnesota team.  Northeastern will have to be very opportunistic to have any chance.  In all likelihood, the Huskies don’t have much of a chance, and that’s not a knock on them.  Minnesota is a very good team.  To be honest, I think Northeastern will do well to just keep it remotely close.  This could get ugly.

Week 6 Reaction: Sweet Victory

Nolan Stevens

Some days you wake and the grass is a little greener, the coffee smells a little better, and it doesn’t seem like a frozen tundra before Thanksgiving.  That day is today.  Your Northeastern University Huskies won!  They beat a team! In hockey!

After losing the first leg of the home-and-home in New Hampshire, the Huskies bounced back to get the first win of the season at home in front of a loud crowd at Matthews.  Have to say, it’s pretty cool to see all the old Dog House banners hanging from the balcony and hear the fans actually participating again.

Clay Witt is back in net and it feels so good.  Even though UNH scored five in the first game, I think he still looked very good.  At home, he stopped 34 shots and held UNH to just one goal.  He kept the Huskies in the game when the team was being out-shot by over eleven through the first two periods.

The part that really got me excited was seeing that Northeastern has the ability to come back.  On Friday, they gave up three first period goals, and managed to come back to tie in the second, though they eventually lost.  Even more impressive, I think, is the what they did on the second night.  After UNH put up a go-ahead goal in the third period and Northeastern had been out-shot by such a huge margin at that point, I think we all could see the writing on the wall.  The team couldn’t put pucks on net at all, so giving up that goal seemed the end of the game.  But then, something weird happened.  Northeastern scored!  The Stevens’ Family and Rosenthal answered and tied it up short after.  It was that line that also gave the Huskies the eventual game winning goal (Nolan Stevens’ first of his career).  That line was a bright spot in what has been a very dark offensive period for the team, with N. Stevens winning Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week.

While it feels good to see Northeastern win, I still don’t think the team is playing very well.  You could make the argument that they were outplayed in both games this weekend.  Clay Witt was incredible in that second game, and was the only reason the Huskies even had a chance at winning.  They’re still taking way too many penalties (five in each game), and stupid ones at that (too many men, embellishment).  The game just needs to be cleaner in every aspect, from clearing the zone, to playing with discipline.  Better teams than UNH will be able to take advantage from how sloppy they’ve played.

But, Northeastern won and I personally am going to just bask in that for a while.