Men’s hockey sweeps UMass Lowell in road-home series

Members of the men's ice hockey team crowd around first-year Bobby Hampton, celebrating his first collegiate goal. Photo by Jon Polen.
Members of the men's ice hockey team crowd around first-year Bobby Hampton, celebrating his first collegiate goal. Photo by Jon Polen.

After two losses last week to Quinnipiac University that broke their home winning streak, Northeastern University men’s ice hockey got back on top of their game with a weekend sweep over the University of Massachusetts Lowell. The team’s four-point Hockey East opening weekend puts NU second in the Hockey East standings.

“Our guys competed and bought into how we had to play,” hockey coach Jim Madigan said. “We challenged them this week and they responded.”

The teams faced off Friday night at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell and by the final buzzer, Madigan had recorded his 100th career win.

The Huskies took control of the game early in the first period when third-year forward Adam Gaudette capitalized on NU’s first power play. Taking a rebound from fourth-year defenseman Garrett Cockerill, Gaudette was able to net his third goal of the season.

Gaudette didn’t stop there. Just over two minutes into the second period, he finished off another power play, firing his second goal past UMass Lowell third-year goaltender Christoffer Hernberg. With five seconds remaining in the middle frame, Gaudette once again took advantage of the rebound, this time from fourth-year forward Dylan Sikura, and gave the Huskies their third point of the game.

UMass Lowell was able to strike back in the third period, scoring their first and only goal on third-year goaltender Ryan Ruck with 12:29 left on the clock. In 60 minutes of play against the Riverhawks, Ruck stopped 23 of the 24 shots he saw.

“Ruck made some good saves on the penalty kill,” Madigan said. “Your goaltender has got to be your best penalty killer, and I thought he did a good job making some good saves there.”

Gaudette’s two power play goals were the 23rd and 24th of his career, earning him the lead of all active players in the NCAA. He also completed his first career hat trick, making him the first Husky to do so since Sikura scored three times in the third period against UMass Lowell on Jan. 27.

“We’ve been working on [power plays] all week at practice; we study their penalty kill,” Gaudette said. “We get that first one and it just gives us confidence for the next one.”

Sikura also made a new record for himself, becoming the first player in college hockey to record multi-point efforts in each of his first six games since 2012-13, with 14 points so far this season.

Back on home turf on Saturday night, the Red and Black took on the Riverhawks for the weekend finale at Matthews Arena.

Northeastern was on the board first with second-year forward Grant Jozefek’s fifth goal of the season nearing the end of the first period.

The Huskies’ lead was cut short as the Riverhawks battled back from the point deficit, scoring two goals just two minutes apart in the first half of in the second period. A minor for hooking left the Huskies shorthanded with just under eight minutes to go in the frame, but Gaudette powered past UMass Lowell defenseman to send the puck past second-year goaltender Tyler Wall, evening the score at two.

Coming out of the locker room for the final period, both teams took to the ice looking to break the tie. NU was first to reach three points when first-year forward Bobby Hampton netted a rebound shot less than five minutes in, earning his first collegiate goal. Just two minutes later, the score was again knotted at three after the Riverhawks scored their own shorthanded goal on Ruck.

Fourth-year forward and captain Nolan Stevens came through in the final five minutes of regulation, earning NU their fourth point. But the captain’s goal wasn’t enough to keep the Riverhawks at bay as the visitors scored a power play goal with under two minutes left, sending the game into overtime.

The Huskies secured their weekend sweep two minutes into overtime when third-year forward Patrick Schule fired a shot at Wall from behind the goal line, which bounced off the goaltender’s stick and handed the Huskies their second Hockey East victory.

“We’re obviously pleased with the win and the sweep, that’s hard to do in this league,” Madigan said. “There’s plenty of things for us to continue working on getting better, but to get these points early in the season is big.”

The Red and Black head into their second week of Hockey East play next weekend and will travel across town to Boston University, taking on the Terriers at Agganis Arena on Saturday at 7 p.m.

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