Men’s Hockey: Ginand’s four goals spark sweep of PC

By Jared Shafran, News Staff

The No. 5 men’s hockey team exploded for nine goals this weekend in a pair of victories to remain in first place in Hockey East.
At the first game, in Providence, the Huskies were led to a 3-1 victory by freshman forward Mike McLaughlin, who scored the team’s first two goals.
‘It was like one of those slippery games that was hanging in balance for awhile,’ head coach Greg Cronin said.
McLaughlin’s first goal came 7:45 into the first period when he took a pass from senior captain Joe Vitale and put the puck past Friars goaltender Alex Beaudry.
‘It feels great to be in the lineup playing with such great players,’ McLaughlin said. ‘Joe just made a great pass over the defenseman’s stick to me and I just put it over the goaltender’s glove when he went down.’
Providence got back in the game one minute later on a goal by’ forward Pierce Norton.
Later in the first, after killing off a tripping penalty to sophomore forward Tyler McNeely, the Huskies took the lead back for good.
McNeely grabbed the puck as he exited the penalty box and looked toward the Providence net. He found McLaughlin streaking through the center and passed it in the air onto the freshman’s stick. McLaughlin quickly settled the puck and ripped a shot top shelf for the goal.
‘I love to contribute when I can,’ McLaughlin said. ‘My biggest thing is playing defense first and when you can contribute it’s a great feeling.’
‘ Cronin was also impressed with the freshman’s performance.
‘He has to fight for his ice and he was terrific tonight,’ Cronin said of McLaughlin. ‘I think it’s a real blessing that he has been able to stay with a positive attitude and be one of the most physical guys on the ice.’
After a scoreless second period and a solid defensive effort by the Huskies in the beginning of the third, senior forward Ryan Ginand iced the game with his 12th goal of the season late in the third period.
The next night the series shifted back to Matthews Arena, where the Huskies took control from the start, finishing off the Friars for a second night in a row by a score of 6-3.
The Huskies were led by Ginand, who scored three goals and added an assist in the win.
‘I thought we had a lot of energy and I thought we skated as well as we’ve skated all year,’ Cronin said. ‘I think the first 10 minutes of the first period we controlled the pace of the game and we played a style that we should be playing all year long.’
Northeastern’s power play went to work early when Matt Bergland of Providence was called for a hooking penalty, a minute and a half into the game. That’s when Ginand got his first goal of the night as he took the puck off a face-off and beat Beaudry from the right side.
‘We got pucks in the net and we played our system so it’s what we have to keep doing for the rest of the year,’ Ginand said.
The Huskies quickly expanded on their lead when they went back on the power play for the second time. Ginand passed down low to Vitale and he threw one in front that glanced off Beaudry’s stick in front to sophomore forward Wade MacLeod. The sophomore forward found the net, setting the Friars up for a long night.
At the end of the first period, the Huskies were out-shooting Providence 16-5.
The scoring kept on coming once the second period got underway and this time it was senior forward Dennis McCauley who netted’ his fourth goal of the season to extend the Husky lead to 3-1.
Before the end of the period, the Huskies had scored two more times. Senior forward Rob Rassey put another one in the back of the net to add to the Husky lead and then later on Ginand had his second goal of the game.
Going into the third period, the Huskies were up 5-2.
About halfway through that third frame, Ginand completed the hat trick by putting the puck past Beaudry for the third time. The goal, which came on the power play, was the last of the scoring for the Huskies on the night.
In the last four games, the once struggling Northeastern power play has scored eight times.
‘I’m pleased with the chances we generated and I’m pleased with the offense but any time you can sweep a team in Hockey East this late in the year it’s a huge four points with us,’ Cronin said.
With the pair of wins, NU’s record improved to 17-5-2 overall and 13-3-1 in Hockey East play. Providence fell to 6-14-2 and 3-10-2 in Hockey East.
The Huskies will look to continue their hot streak next weekend when they face the UMass Minutemen Friday at the Mullins Center in Amherst at 7 p.m.

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