Men’s Hockey: Morris shines despite tie, loss

Men’s Hockey: Morris shines despite tie, loss

By Matt Nielsen

The men’s hockey team (2-8-2, 0-7-2 Hockey East) played just two games in the past two weeks. By most standards the games were opposites of each other. Twelve days ago, the Huskies came back to tie No. 7 Boston College (7-4-1, 4-2-1) in front of a boisterous near-capacity crowd at Matthews Arena.

Saturday night, however, the Huskies looked lethargic in a 3-1 loss to No. 8 New Hampshire in front of a near-empty Matthews Arena, as Thanksgiving left the campus nearly deserted.

The Huskies went into their Nov. 17 BC match-up reeling from a tough overtime loss at Providence and looking forward to playing back at home. However, the Eagles did their best to dampen the crowd’s enthusiasm after tallying the first goal of the night. At 11:32 in the first period, freshman forward Ben Smith scored his first goal of the season on the power play with assists from sophomores Brett Motherwell and Benn Ferriero.

Despite falling behind to a top-10 team early, the Huskies came back strong. After giving up several momentum-killing goals this season with time running out, the Huskies finally scored their own late goal to knot the score at one. With only 28 seconds left in the first period, freshman forward Randy Guzior received a pass from freshman forward Kyle Kraemer and scored his third goal of the season.

The second period was a stalemate until senior captain Mike Morris broke up a BC pass at mid-ice in the 18th minute. He pushed the puck ahead to freshman forward Chad Costello, who beat junior goaltender Cory Schneider for his fifth goal of the season and a 2-1 lead.

The Eagles came out firing in the third period, scoring one minute in on a floater by senior forward Brian Boyle with a man advantage. Then Ferriero scored a few minutes later to put BC up 3-2 with most of the third period left to play. As it turned out, the Huskies would need every second of it.

After failing to net the game-tying goal for most of the third, the Huskies pulled freshman goalie Brad Thiessen in favor of an extra attacker with just over a minute left. Still, as the two teams prepared for a face off in the BC zone with only seven seconds left, NU still trailed 3-2, and the situation looked dire.

Sophomore forward Rob Rassey won the faceoff and slipped the puck to Costello, who saw his shot and took it. Schneider came up with the save, but couldn’t collect the rebound. Morris flew in from the side of the net and slapped the rebound in for the game-tying goal with only 2.6 seconds left in regulation.

“Rob won the faceoff and got a great pass over to Chad,” Morris said. “I just tried to whack at it.”

Head coach Greg Cronin will take it.

“That was not a designed play,” Cronin said. “That was just six guys playing street hockey.”

The crowd of more than 5,000 black-clad spectators exploded with joy, and weren’t silent again until the game ended in a 3-3 tie, as neither team was able to score in overtime.

“When you get the crowd going like that, in this building, it’s special,” Cronin said. “This place has a unique feel, and when you play an exciting college hockey game here, it’s an event.”

However, Saturday’s game against UNH would show the opposite can be true as well. With the seats nearly empty and the arena silent, the Huskies hosted the Wildcats in a game where both teams seemed sluggish.

The Wildcats scored the first three goals of the contest. With four minutes remaining in the first period, sophomore defenseman Kevin Kapstad scored for the first time this season, with an assist from junior forward Mike Radja. UNH added two more goals in the second from senior forward Brett Hemingway and sophomore forward Thomas Fortney.

The Huskies seemed to be working harder throughout the third period, and it finally paid off 14 minutes in when, on the power play, junior forward Jimmy Russo won the faceoff and got the puck to Kraemer. Kraemer passed to Morris, who beat UNH junior goalkeeper Kevin Regan for his sixth goal of the year. The comeback wasn’t enough, and the game ended 3-1 as Northeastern ran out of time.

“That was about as flat and impassionate as we’ve been all year,” Cronin said. “It looked like we had no interest in playing hockey.”

The Huskies are back in action Friday at 7 p.m. when they host Merrimack at Matthews Arena.

Leave a Reply