Beanpot Round 1 Preview: BU


The Huskies will start out this year’s Beanpot against last year’s champion, BU.

Northeastern lost the two previous games against BU earlier in the year, a wild game at Agganis and the homecoming game at Historic Matthews Arena.  They come into the Beanpot with a 5-1-1 record in January, kicked off with a win over Harvard.  Their only non-win results came against BC.  The Terrier’s are Hockey East’s best possession team with a 55.4 close CF%.  Like last year’s team, they are incredible in the third period.  BU has scored just one fewer goal in the third period than in the first and in second combined.  Northeastern fans are all too aware of how well they finish out games.

But, the Huskies are looking pretty good themselves.  As you may have heard, Northeastern is on the longest unbeaten streak in the country.  The team hasn’t lost in almost two months.  They’ve been great offensively, and while BU’s Sean Maguire has been better in net recently, he hasn’t had a great season.  The Huskies have also won four of their last five first round games.  It hasn’t really been this round of the tournament that’s been an issue.

Northeastern will also be featuring Kevin Roy, who tends to be pretty good in Beanpots.  Three years ago he  won MVP as a freshman.  Through his first three years, he’s already Northeastern’s leader in career Beanpot points.  If Roy scores one more point, he’ll enter the top 25 Beanpot scorers of all time.  Hopefully he’ll have himself another big tournament.

Edit: as pointed out by Mike Downie, that’s actually not true. My bad. 

Look, BU is a good team that’s playing well recently.  But, so is Northeastern.  I ain’t scared.  See you Monday.


Week 17 Reaction: And Another One

Nolan Stevens

1/22/16: Northeastern 5, Merrimack 2

1/23/16: Northeastern 4, Merrimack 1

To nobody’s surprise, the Northeastern easily swept Merrimack this weekend, remaining undefeated in 2016 and extending the Warriors’ misery another two games.  The Huskies’ unbeaten streak extends to eight games, tied for second in the country.  Oh, and they added captain and best player Kevin Roy to the lineup after missing the previous twelve games.

Merrimack had me going for a bit there in the first game.  They scored early in the first, taking their first lead in a billion years.  The Warriors took a second lead in that game after the Huskies had tied it up.  Memories of last year’s Hockey East Tournament flashed before my eyes.  Northeastern was dominating, yet losing.

Four unanswered goals later, all fear was erased.  The Huskies continued to control the game and it this time around it was reflected in the final score.  The second game, at Historic Matthews Arena, was a continuation of the lopsided play.  Despite the quotes from Merrimack coach Mark Dennehy, who for whatever reason though his team deserved to win, Northeastern’s victory was never really threatened.  The Warriors’ only goal came off a bad turnover and a good shot.  The Huskies were forcing turnovers left and right.  Merrimack

Offensively, the Huskies look incredible.  The 7-8-9 line is on fire.  McMurtry has a nine game point streak.  Gaudettes’s streak is at eight.  Sikura has six goals in his last four games.  The Stevens and Aston-Reese trio is right behind them.  Each Stevens brother had a goal this weekend, and Aston-Reese has fourteen points in his last thirteen games.  Roy looked really good in his return to the lineup, making an instant impact and getting an assist in each game.

The defense has continued to be solid.  With the exception of that turnover that lead to a goal against on Saturday, they’ve looked good.  Surprisingly to many, Northeastern has been one of the best shot suppression teams in the country this season.  What shots have hit the net Ruck has been able to deal with.  He’s continued his run of solid goaltending, turning in a .925 performance this weekend.

The one thing the Huskies do need to work on is taking bad penalties.  Obviously Merrimack (now by far the worst powerplay percentage in the conference) isn’t going to take advantage of all the opportunities presented to them, but better teams will.  Northeastern didn’t give up a powerplay goal this weekend, but the chances were there and a better opponent can and will take advantage of them.

This weekend the Huskies handled Merrimack pretty easily.  Much like last weekend they took care of business against a struggling opponent.  While these sweeps have been nice, especially in terms of conference standings, Northeastern will have to replicate the performances from earlier in the month.  The level of competition’s about to turn up.

Week 2 Reaction: Could Have Gone Better

Colton Saucerman

10/16/15: Northeastern 2, Bentley 3

10/17/15: Northeastern 1, Bentley 4

This weekend sucked.  There’s no way around that.  It was terrible and I hated it.  Friday night Northeastern outshot Bentley 51-11 and still lost.  Saturday night the Huskies outshot the Falcons 41-27 and still lost.  It’s easy to look at two losses on the schedule and panic.  Back to back losses are obviously not good.  Bentley really isn’t that good of a team.  You can also look at how the team played and the shot charts and write this weekend off as running into a hot goalie.  The answer is somewhere in between.

First things first, obviously Bentley goalie Jayson Argue was amazing.  His performance on Friday night was one of the best I’ve ever seen.  I wasn’t able to watch the Saturday game, but it sounds like he was just as good in that one.  After watching the last couple years of Clay Witt, Northeastern fans should be used to seeing a goalie steal games like that.  It’s almost karmic that it should come back and happen to the Huskies after Witt graduates.

Our old friend Northeastern Penalty Kill came back to haunt the Huskies, picking up right where it left off last year.  Northeastern were only able to kill off one of the three penalties taken Friday and gave up another powerplay goal Saturday night.  The inability to stop opponents on the man advantage is exacerbated by the team taking a nine penalties over the weekend.  Jim Madigan said after Saturday’s game, like he did every single weekend last year, that the team needs to stop giving opponents opportunities on the powerplay.  Judging by the Madigan teams we’ve seen over the past couple years, I wouldn’t count on that happening any time soon.

As was expected, some people are pointing to the goalie position as the reason Northeastern lost these games.  Writers and fans alike pointed to net as a potential issue before the season, and those voices grew louder this weekend.  I still maintain that Derick Roy is more than adequate in net for the Huskies.  Obviously, I didn’t see him play on Saturday and it seems like he may have been pretty shaky in that game, but he actually played pretty well on Friday.  The first goal was scored off a loose puck right in front of the net.  The second a powerplay goal that was the result of good puck movement.  He gave up the third goal after stopping a powerplay chance and having the rebound go right to a Bentley stick.  I don’t think that any of those are really bad goals to give up.  Again, I wasn’t able to see in person how he looked on Saturday and he did get pulled.  For what it’s worth, Madigan said that it was more to get Ruck some work and try to shake up the team, not because of performance.

All exaggeration and joking aside, there’s no need to panic.  This team has plenty of talent at every position.  They controlled the game against Colgate, dominated on Friday night, and it sounds like they were definitely the better team Saturday as well.  They lead all Division I hockey programs in CF%, even strength CF%, and close CF%.  They have an incredibly low 89.2 PDO.  But, the penalty situation is a very real problem that’s costing Northeastern games.  The penalty kill needs to be improved and the Huskies need to stop taking so many penalties.  This was an issue all year last season and it went unaddressed.  The skill is there for the Huskies, the important part is to keep their heads on straight.  The goals will come if they play the way they have so far this season.  It’s the mental game that needs to be improved.

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

Week 18 Reaction: Northeastern University Hat Tricks

Kevin Roy

2/13/15: Northeastern 9, UConn 0

2/14/15: Northeastern 6, UConn 1

I’m not sure I’ve seen many performances as dominating as that in my life.  From the very beginning of the first game, if just seemed like everything was going the right way.  Every movement was so precise and in perfect rhythm.  I was in awe, and not a single person in the arena could look away from the action  So here’s to you, Tambourine Guy.  You wowed all of us, and for that we thank you.

Seriously though, Northeastern looked AMAZING this weekend.  There wasn’t a single thing I could see that they had any trouble with.  They dominated every aspect of both games.  It was just one long, sustained possession in the UConn zone after another.  When UConn did manage to get it into the Northeastern end, it was quickly removed.  The passes were awesome.  There were two (Northeastern) Huskies with hat tricks on Friday, and Kevin Roy picked up Warrior Player of the Week honors with seven points.  If you want to nit pick you could point to the penalty minutes taken on Friday night, but it was actually same amount as UConn.  It was a chippy game; I’m not worried about it.  Just about everything from these games was a positive.

Poor Rob Nichols, UConn’s goalie, played every single minute of this beatdown of a weekend.  You wouldn’t know it from these two games, but he’s been one of UConn’s best players this season.  I don’t know what he did to end up on the ice for the entire time, but it must have been something awful.

I’m legitimately worried for Maine this upcoming weekend.  Northeastern is on a tear and appear to have eyes on the NCAA tournament.  NU is ranked 20th in the Pairwise and received 29 votes in the USCHO poll.  It’s not crazy.

Beanpot Round 2 Preview: BU

Vinny Saponari

Here we are again.  For the third straight year, Northeastern is in the Beanpot championship game.  This time around it’s BU lining up on the other side.

I’ll say it.  BU is really, really good.  They’re the third ranked team in the country.  The Terriers are in first in Hockey East and are up four points on second place BC with a game in hand.  Their first round game against Harvard, although going to double overtime, was one of the most dominant performances I’ve seen in a while.

We all know about Eichel.  He’s amazing.  Everybody and their mother is talking about how great the BU offense is, and they’re right.  BU is scoring an average of 3.69 goals per game.  They’re powerplay is converting 26.3% of their chances.  They’ve scored an incredible 49 goals in the third period.  We all know about their offense.

What has gone under the radar is how good the defense is on this BU team.  It has been a huge part in the quick turnaround.  BU has the third best defense in Hockey East with four of their regular defensemen being freshman.  Goalie Matt O’Connor is ranked second in goals against average and save percentage, behind only Mike Santaguida in both categories.  Although it doesn’t get the same amount of love as BU’s offense, the defense has been excellent.

The keys to this game for Northeastern are the same ones we’ve seen before.  They can’t give up penalties.  BU is the best powerplay team in Hockey East and Northeastern is next to last on the penalty kill.  Witt (presumably) will have to be excellent again in net because BU will put up a ton of shots.  With the inevitable third period surge the Terriers will have, at no point can you feel comfortable with a lead.  This is certainly an uphill battle for Northeastern, but it’s just one game.  Northeastern has already beaten one third ranked opponent; who’s to say it can’t happen again?

Beanpot Round 1 Reaction: Goin’ Up On a Tuesday


2/3/15: Northeastern 3, BC 2

Last night in the first round of the Beanpot, Northeastern carried on what appears to be a couple traditions: playing in another close Beanpot game and making it to the championship game.

I’ve missed a couple posts now between moving back to Boston, starting a new job, and the internet being out, but hopefully I should be good to go from now on.  My cable and internet were still out Monday night and I really lucked out with the game being postponed.  Sometimes things just have a way of working out (by harassing Verizon).

The Huskies were able to snap BC’s five year streak of Beanpot championships and make it to their third straight championship game.  It was the powerplay again that came up big for Northeastern, scoring two in the second period (they also gave up a goal but we won so it doesn’t count).  To be honest, I was super skeptical of having Saucerman playing the wing on the powerplay at first but it has worked out.  He does a great job finishing from the left side of the net, although this one wasn’t particularly difficult.  On the other side, the Huskies did a good job staying out of the box, taking only one penalty.  Clay Witt was his usual great self.  You can’t blame him for the goals he gave up; both were on breakaways and he even stopped the initial shot on one of them.  He was alone with shooters a few times and made some big saves.

To be honest though I was completely convinced Northeastern was going to lose this game.  BC was able to answer the two leads and for some reason I couldn’t shake the feeling.  But Dustin Darou (really, Darou) came out of nowhere to give the Huskies the lead with a minute and a half left.  The dude has only played in half the games this season.  He had one goal in his entire career coming into the game.  But, when BC decided to give him all the time and space in the world, he made them pay for it by putting one in the far corner past Demko.  It was a pretty sweet moment to see a guy who was only in the lineup because of injuries take down the Boston College Eagles in the Beanpot.

It was an awesome game made even better by beating BC.  I’ve felt awful all day and have been completely useless at work but the team made it worth waiting the extra 90 minutes for the undercard to finish and getting home at 1:30 (still would have been worth it anyway, but whatever you get the point).  The defense will have to play better next week against BU for Beanpot to finally come back to Northeastern.  Some of their breakaways were inexcusable, but anything can happen in one game.  Plus, I heard Eichel might go to the Q.