Homecoming draws 10,000 fans

Homecoming draws 10,000 fans

By Matt Nielsen

Saturday night’s game against Union was many things to the Northeastern men’s hockey team. It was their home opener after three tough conference road games. It was Homecoming weekend and they were greeted by a spirited home crowd of over 4,000 and most importantly, it was their first win of the season.

And they were dominating.

Not to be outdone by the NU football team’s Homecoming heroics earlier that day, the Huskies came out firing. Two minutes in, with Union on the power play, sophomore defenseman Louis Liotti took possession of the puck and passed to sophomore forward Joe Vitale. Vitale and senior forward Joe Santilli traded the puck twice before Vitale beat the Union goalie for the Huskies first goal of the game and Santilli’s third in four games. It was NU’s first short-handed goal of the year.

The Huskies continued to feed off the energy of a lively home crowd, scoring again at 9:17 in the first period. Sophomore defenseman Andrew Linard scored his first goal of the season with assists from senior forward Ray Ortiz and freshman forward Chris Donovan.

Sophomore forward Ryan Ginand put the Huskies up 3-0 and sent the Union goalie packing only a minute later. Sophomore forward Rob Rassey and freshman forward Randy Guzior assisted on the goal. Junior Justin Mrazek made only two saves for the Dutchmen before leaving the game halfway through the first period.

“Mrazek didn’t come prepared to play,” said Union coach Nate Leaman. “He didn’t give us what he usually does, so we had to make a change.”

Freshman goalie Rich Sillery made his collegiate debut in place of Mrazek. What the second period lacked in scoring, it more than made up for in bizarre penalties. The Huskies sent 10 men to the penalty box during the period and Union added nine penalties of their own. The period also saw three game misconducts, including two to sophomore forward Dennis McCauley.

“After a while it stopped being a hockey game,” said NU head coach Greg Cronin. “It was just a bizarre game. It was the only game I’ve ever seen where the winning team didn’t score on a major penalty or a five-on-three. I didn’t think it could be done.”

The teams were a combined 1-22 on the power play.

Though the penalties continued during the third period (NU-8, Union-4), the Huskies also padded their lead. At 14:42 senior forward Bryan Esner flew down the ice and scored his first goal of the season. Union was on a power play when the play began but just before Esner scored Liotti came out of the penalty box, officially making the goal even-strength. Ortiz tallied his second assist of the night on the play.

Less than a minute later the Huskies finished off the Dutchmen with their fifth and final goal of the night when Donovan scored on a rebound in front of the net. Sophomore defenseman Denis Chisholm assisted on the goal and Ortiz picked up his third assist of the night.

Perhaps the best player on the ice Saturday night was senior goalie Adam Geragosian. Geragosian made 32 saves for the shutout in his first start of the year.

“I just tried to stay relaxed out there,” Geragosian said. “Our guys helped out a lot. They blocked so many shots.”

Despite facing 12 Union power plays and multiple five-on-threes, Geragosian recorded his second career shutout.

The Huskies’ dominating performance came on the heels of a tough loss at Boston University Friday night. After taking an early 2-0 lead on first period goals by McCauley and Vitale, BU came back with three unanswered goals, finally taking the lead in the third period on a goal from junior forward Pete MacArthur, his second of the game. However, the Huskies came back immediately, scoring the tying goal 40 seconds later. While the crowd was still celebrating MacArthur’s goal, freshman forward Kyle Kraemer scored on his own rebound to knot the contest at 3-3.

“The most important shift is the one right after a goal,” MacArthur said. “Everybody knows that. It was tough to give it back so quickly.”

However, with only a minute left in regulation, senior forward Kenny Roche scored the go-ahead goal for the Terriers and sent the Huskies home with a bitter taste in their mouths.

“We talked about it after we got off the bus,” Cronin said. “The guys were hurt, and understandably so, but you have to come out and play the next night. You just have to park it.”

The Huskies go back on the road this weekend to play a pair at Michigan, Friday night at 7:35 p.m.

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