Hockey continues slide, drops four straight

Hockey continues slide, drops four straight

By Matt Neilsen

Heading into the weekend, the Northeastern men’s hockey team (2-6-1, 0-5-1 Hockey East) was still looking for its first conference win. They were nursing a three-game losing streak, with their last win coming on the road Oct. 28 at No. 6 Michigan. They came out of the weekend with two tough losses, and more questions than answers.

The Huskies went into their match Tuesday night with a recent history of success against their opponent, the Providence College Friars (2-7-1, 1-4-1 HE). The Huskies held a 4-2-4 record in their last ten contests with the Hockey East foe.

The Huskies opened the scoring at 3:52 when sophomore forward Ryan Ginand took a shot in front of the net. PC junior goaltender Tyler Sims stopped the shot, but couldn’t collect the rebound. Sophomore forward Ray Ortiz took a shot off Sims’ skate, and the puck trickled past the line for the 1-0 lead and his first goal of the season. Freshman defenseman David Strathman collected an assist on the play.

At 4:57, NU tallied their second goal of the period when senior forward Joe Santilli scored with assists from senior defenseman Steve Birnstill and senior forward Bryan Esner. It was also Santilli’s first goal of the year.

As the first period came to a close, the Friars got on the board. With 42 seconds remaining, freshman defenseman Mark Fayne scored his first goal of the season with an assist from freshman forward John Cavanagh and junior forward Jon Rheault.

“They came out tentative in the first and then probably got a tongue-lashing during intermission,” said head coach Greg Cronin. “They came out and played well in the second.”

The Friars took their momentum and ran with it, scoring again eight minutes into the second period. Senior forward Jamie Carol collected a rebound in front of the net and beat freshman goalie Brad Thiessen low and to his left. Cavanagh picked up his second assist of the game, and team co-captain Tony Zancanaro earned his fourth assist of the year. A few minutes later, the Friars took the lead off a bullet from sophomore forward Kyle Laughlin. Senior forward Bryan Horan was credited with the assist. The Huskies were outshot 19-6 in the period.

Northeastern wasted no time tying the game in the third period. At 1:39, freshman forward Chad Costello shot the puck off a Friar defenseman and past Sims for his fourth goal of the season. Assists went to junior forward Jimmy Russo and senior captain Mike Morris. Morris’s assist gave him 100 career points for the Huskies. He is the first person to accomplish that feat in an NU uniform since Jason Guerriero (2001-2005).

The rest of the third period was a back-and-forth affair full of near misses, but the game continued into overtime.

In the third minute of overtime, PC freshman defenseman David Cavanagh scored to give the Friars the win. Thiessen saved 43-47 shots faced for the Huskies, but the Providence onslaught was too much to handle.

“Thiessen was really good and really shaky at the same time,” Cronin said. “He was brilliant at some points and he also let some shots through that he shouldn’t have.”

While the Huskies have had a bit of bad luck, the Friars’ luck seems to be improving.

“We’ve been getting more shots than the opposition in every game, but haven’t been getting wins,” PC head coach Tim Army said. “Guys get frustrated and get down, so it’s good to win one.”

The Huskies traveled to Amherst Friday night to take on Massachusetts (5-1-1, 4-1-0 HE). After a scoreless first period at the Mullins Center, the Huskies came out firing in the second. Northeastern began the period on a power play and 20 seconds in, Morris scored his fourth goal of the season to put them ahead, 1-0. Freshman forward Kyle Kraemer and Birnstill passed the puck between themselves several times before Birnstill eventually found Morris at the point.

The Minutemen bounced back six minutes later when sophomore goaltender Jon Quick fed the puck to sophomore forward Scott Crowder. Crowder streaked down the right side of the ice and found senior forward Mark Matheson in front of the net for the game-knotting goal.

The teams fought for the remainder of the second period, but the game remained tied until halfway through the third. At 10:36, UMass freshman defenseman Justin Braun took a shot from the blue line, which sophomore forward Chris Davis deflected. Thiessen got a piece of it, but it trickled behind him for the go-ahead goal. Thiessen stopped 28-30 on the night.

Morris nearly tied the game a few minutes later, putting a shot off the pipe that fell just wide of the crease. As the game wound down, UMass took a penalty and Thiessen left the ice for an extra attacker, giving NU a six-on-four advantage. However, the Huskies were unable to find the back of the net, and the game ended 2-1.

Northeastern’s special teams play kept them in the game, as the Huskies went 1 for 3 on the power play and killed all six UMass’ attempts with a man advantage.

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