Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Huskies to Close Out Three-Game Homestand against Providence

Northeastern vs. Providence
Friday’s game against Providence marks the end of the Huskies longest homestand this season after splitting with Maine last weekend. Providence skates into Matthews Arena as one of five teams on Northeastern’s ledger that has a history with NU that dates back at least 100 games. (Northeastern’s Friday night game with Maine marked the 100th-game in the series history. The other three teams that comprise the list are Boston University, Boston College and New Hampshire.) The Friars own a 75-48-12 advantage though 135 total contests, but Northeastern has gotten the better of Providence in the last three affairs.  The Huskies have outscored Providence, 13-4, in the last three games, including a 6-3 shelling on Jan. 24, 2009 at Matthews Arena. Prior to that, Northeastern clipped PC, 3-1, on Jan. 23, 2009 before notching its fourth-ever shutout of Providence, 4-0, on Oct. 17, 2008 at Schneider Arena. The Huskies and Friars have met in the postseason only five times with the last occurrence coming on March 11, 1994 in which Northeastern won, 2-1, in overtime of the Hockey East quarterfinals. If Northeastern defeats Providence on Friday night, it will mark the longest winning streak against the Friars since the Huskies strung four wins in a row against PC from Nov. 12, 1985 – Oct. 24, 1986. Head coach Greg Cronin has collected a winning record of 7-6-1 against the Friars while PC coach Tim Army has gone 5-6-1 in 12 battles against Northeastern.

Peeking at Providence

The Friars’ record stands at 6-3, but they are the only team in Hockey East to have played merely three conference games though the middle of November. Providence is 1-2 in league action, but is only one of two clubs to have knocked off Massachusetts this season, 2-1. Providence also lost to the Minutemen before getting shutout against Vermont, 3-0, on Nov. 8. The Friars were picked to finish ninth in the league, but a .667 winning percentage through their first nine games. Most recently, Providence held off Brown, 4-3, on Tuesday night to capture the 24th annual Mayor’s Cup. The Friars built a 4-1 lead but the Bears (0-5-1) almost pulled off the upset bid with two unanswered tallies in the third period. Sophomore Matt Bergland represents the Friars’ biggest arsenal on offense with a team-leading six goals and nine points. Mark Fayne (2-5-7) and Kyle MacKinnon (2-5-7) have each chipped in seven points while Jordan Kremyr and Alex Velischek have logged five helpers, as well. Second-year backstopper Alex Beaudry has started eight games in net, earning four victories with a sound save percentage of .927. Beaudry has allowed 2.26 goals per game thus far. Fayne’s presense on the ice has led to a club-best +8 rating through nine games while MacKinnon has racked up the most time in the box this season, with eight penalties for 27 minutes. The Friars are 2-1 at Schneider Arena and are looking to avenge the sweep Northeastern handed them in last year’s series.

Last Time out against Providence

Ryan Ginand netted his second career hat trick in a 6-3 victory against Providence College at Matthews Arena. Wade MacLeod, Dennis McCauley and Rob Rassey also scored for the Huskies while Brad Thiessen made 23 saves in his 17th win of the season. Northeastern got on the board first when Ginand scored at 2:15 of the first. With Providence’s Matt Bergland in the penalty box for hooking, Ginand got the puck from MacLeod, faked a pass to Mike Hewkin at the point then beat Providence goalie Alex Beaudry to give Northeastern a 1-0 lead. The Huskies took a 2-0 lead when MacLeod scored a power-play goal of his own. Ginand passed the puck to Joe Vitale down low and Vitale shot it on goal from the left side. The rebound went across the crease to MacLeod, who scored from the right side at 7:37. Providence came back with a Matt Germain score at 14:13 in the first period. NU opened up the second when Jim Driscoll got the puck from Chris Donovan in the Northeastern zone and Donovan passed it out to McCauley, who went up the right side all alone and scored at 3:30, giving the Huskies a 3-1 lead. The Huskies added to the lead at 9:53 in the second with a Rassey tally, but Providence was able to get within two when Ian O’Connor scored at 17:27 in the second. Ginand scored the next two goals, putting the game out of reach for the Friars. At 19:04 in the second, he took a pass behind the net from Chris Donovan and shot it point blank at Beaudry for the goal. His next came on a power play at 9:44 in the third period. He came off the bench to join a rush with MacLeod on the left and Vitale on the right. MacLeod centered the puck, Vitale got a piece and Ginand finished it to make it 6-2. Providence was able to get on the board once more with a goal by Kyle MacKinnon, assisted by O’Connor, at 13:36 in the third period.

Huskies’ Leaders against Providence
Wade MacLeod leads Northeastern’s scoring efforts with eight overall points, including three goals and five assists. Three of those points came in the last meeting between NU and PC. Tyler McNeely (2-2-4), Chris Donovan (2-2-4), David Strathman (0-4-4) and Steve Silva (0-4-4) all supplied four points in their careers against Providence while Kyle Kraemer (0-3-3) and Mike McLaughlin (2-0-2) have registered three and two points, respectively. Jim Driscoll, Mike Hewkin, Alex Tuckerman and Drew Muench have each achieved one point in the overall series.

Big Bounceback
Northeastern endured a tough night on the ice in a 6-2 loss in the 100th meeting with Maine last Friday night. A season-high 38 penalty minutes deferred control to the Black Bears for the majority of the game, but the Huskies responded with a dominating 5-2 performance the next night. In the victory, ten different Huskies made their way onto the scoring sheet, marking a season best, and significantly lowered their time in the penalty box (7-14).

A Weekend Full of Firsts

Sophomore forward Matt Lipinski found the back of the net for the first time in his seventh-collegiate game while rookie Drew Ellement assisted on his classmate Justin Daniels’ goal on Friday against Maine for his first point with Northeastern. Ellement took the liberty of composing a two-game pointstreak with another assist on Saturday. Senior Dylan Wiwchar, seeing his first action since Nov. 28, 2008 against Princeton, registered his second-career assist in the 6-2 loss to Maine. In fact, both of Wiwchar’s career points have come against the Black Bears. Rookie Robbie Vrolyk secured his first-collegiate powerplay goal in the 5-2 win on Saturday night while Tyler McNeely recorded his first assist of the season on David Strathman’s short-handed tally.

Periodic Performances
In the four games prior to the 5-2 victory against Maine in which the opponent scored first, the Huskies were not able to rebound from the early deficit and 0-4 in those instances. Saturday’s victory marks the first time in which NU was able to shake off the first surrendered goal and come back to claim victory. The Huskies have also won both games when they are tied with their opponent heading into the final period of play.

Handicapped Scoring
David Strathman scored Northeastern’s first short-handed goal of the season in the victory over Maine – it was also the senior’s first man-down tally of his career. The last time the Huskies pounced on the penalty kill was on March 13, 2009 when Wade MacLeod scored one against Massachusetts.

Streaking Huskies
Kyle Kraemer is working on Northeastern’s longest pointstreak of the season at three games. The senior forward scored NU’s lone goal against Boston College on Nov. 7 and has since followed up with an assist on Steve Silva’s powerplay goal and his first extra-man goal of the season in each of the Maine outings. Kraemer now has four points on the season (2-2-4).  Freshmen Garrett Vermeersch and Drew Ellement each logged an assist in both Maine games while Steve Silva potted a powerplay goal on Friday night and followed with an assist on Kyle Kraemer’s powerplay blast on Saturay. For Ellement, it marks his first time with back-to-back points while Vermeersch scored consecutive goals in the Colorado College trip. Silva has a four-game long career-high pointstreak.

Hewkin Hounding the Opposition
Mike Hewkin is a cog in Northeastern’s defensive corps, but the St. Louis native has taken a more offensive approach to his game as of late. Hewkin has contributed three assists in the last four games and is now tied with David Strathman and Jake Newton for the team lead in defensive points.

Vermeersch Continues to Flourish

With his two helpers in last week’s Maine series, both coming via the poweplay, rookie forward Garrett Vermeersch has assumed the role as Northeastern’s points leader. The Macomb, Mich. native has collected nine points thus far, including two goals and four assists. Vermeersch is tied for fourth in Hockey East with his 0.75 points per game (rookies) and is locked with Cornell’s Nick D’Agostino and Miami’s Curtis McKenzie for 21st in the nation for freshmen scoring. The 5’11 newcomer has emerged as one of Northeastern’s biggest threats on the powerplay. Five of Vermeersch’s six points have come on with the extra-skater advantage.

Steady Skaters

Kyle Kraemer, Steve Silva and Alex Tuckerman are all tied for third in scoring on NU’s roster with four points. Kraemer and Silva have been on fire as of late, scoring a combined five points in the last six games while Tuckerman has been grinding away all season with his latest goal acting as the game-winner against Maine on Saturday. All three skaters rank behind Wade MacLeod (3-2-5) and Garret Vermeersch (2-4-6) in team points.

Scoring Breakdown

As it has been for most of the season, the rookie classis directing the scoring efforts for Northeastern.  The freshmen have accounted for 17 (7-10-17) of NU’s 54 total points while the juniors sit right behind with 16 points (7-9-16). The seniors have notched 14 points (4-10-14) while the sophomores have contributed seven points (3-4-7). The freshmen scoring efforts comprises 31.5 percent of the effort while the junior’s number is at 29.6 percent. The seniors and sophomores make up 26.0 percent and 13.0 percent, in that order.

Powerplay Domination
Despite being shutout on the powerplay at Boston College on Nov. 7, the Huskies have managed to score at least one powerplay goal in eight of their first nine tilts. In Saturday’s 5-2 victory against Maine, Northeastern’s man-up unit erupted for three powerplay goals, matching a season high set against Bentley in the season opener on Oct. 16. The Huskies have capitalized on 19.0 percent (12/63) of their powerplay chances, which ranks sixth in Hockey East and is tied for 25th in all the land.

Cutting It Close
Northeastern has found a way to win all three of its one-goal games this season. The Huskies started off the narrow margins of victory at Colorado College with a 4-3 win for the first triumph of the season. Senior Chris Donovan was given credit for the game-winner. In the home opener against Bentley, the Huskies prevailed, 3-2, thanks to junior Steve Silva’s timely tally. NU’s points leader, Wade MacLeod (3-2-5), scored the game’s only goal in powerplay fashion in front of a raucous crowd against BU.

Rawlings Most Targeted Rookie in the Country
Northeastern’s starting goaltender, Chris Rawlings, currently owns a save percentage of .909 (44th in the country) and a 3.18 GAA (54th in the nation). Rawlings most impressive number is the massive amounts of shots he’s faced compared to the other 80 goaltenders in Division I hockey. The North Delta, B.C. native has made 280 saves, which is the seventh most of any netminder this year. Out of the top seven, Rawlings is the lone freshman on that list, making him the most targeted rookie in the nation. Junior Brian Mahoney-Wilson of Lake Superior State has blocked a national-high 321 attempts.

A Mountain in Net
Freshman Bryan Mountain earned his first playing time of the 2009-10 season in relief of classmate Chris Rawlings on Friday night. Rawlings was pulled after allowing his sixth goal in favor of Mountain. The Bryn Mawr, Pa. native played the remainder of the third period (9:22), but was not tested by the Black Bears offense. The freshman did not face any shots from Maine down the stretch.

Matthews Arena Mystique

Under Greg Cronin’s guidance, Northeastern’s 3-1 start at home is second best to last year’s 3-0-1 undefeated run. Northeastern started off its home campaign 4-0 during the 1993-94 season. The Huskies are 1-4 on the road and Friday night’s game against Providence is the last of NU’s longest home stretch of the year.

Milestones in the Making

Steve Silva’s powerplay goal in Friday’s game against Maine marked his 10th-career tally while Kyle Kraemer notched his 40th-career point by assisting on Silva’s goal. Tyler McNeely locked up his 25th-career assist on David Strathman’s short-handed marker and is about to skate in his 80th-career contest for Northeastern.

Clutch when Close
Northeastern has found a way to win all three of its one-goal games this season. The Huskies started off the narrow margins of victory at Colorado College with a 4-3 win for the first triumph of the season. Senior Chris Donovan was given credit for the game-winner. In the home opener against Bentley, the Huskies prevailed, 3-2, thanks to junior Steve Silva’s timely tally. Wade MacLeod scored the game’s only goal in powerplay fashion in front of a raucous crowd against BU.

Ranked Rivals
No. 17/rv Boston College was the Huskies’ third nationally ranked challenger in both the and USA Today polls this season. UMass Lowell was ranked #13/12 when the two teams met on Oct. 24. (Since then, UMass Lowell has climbed to #4/4). Northeastern clipped No. 7/5 Boston University in its second-ranked challenge. When NU took on Colorado College, the Huskies were tabbed No. 20 in the country while Colorado College was receiving votes. The Huskies victory against the Tigers is starting to look even more impressive now that CC is ranked #7/7 since Nov. 2.

Hockey East Weighing In

Nine of Hockey East’s 10 teams are either ranked or have received votes in / CBS College Sports latest poll. UMass Lowell has skyrocketed to the No. 4 spot in both polls, after sweeping a weekend series at Alabama-Huntsville. Massachusetts continues to ascend, taking over the 11th post in both the USCHO and USA Today polls after a weekend split with New Hampshire. Vermont is tied at No.17 with Boston College in the USCHO poll. Boston University dropped out of both polls and is now receiving votes after a weekend split with Merrimack. Northeastern was issued eight votes in the USCHO poll while Merrimack (17), Providence (12) and UNH (2) round out HEA’s contingent. Maine was the only team not to crack into either poll from the conference.

October Recap
Northeastern kicked off its regular-season slate with a pair of games at Colorado College and came away with a split. The Huskies dropped the first game, 4-2, but countered with a 4-3 victory against the Tigers at World Arena. Alex Tuckerman registered the Huskies’ first goal of the season on David Strathman’s helper for his 40th-career point. Garrett Vermeersch broke out in his first weekend donning an NU sweater with three points, including a powerplay blast in each game. Senior Chris Donovan delivered the game winner against the Tigers as part of his four-point weekend. NU’s win in Colorado Springs marked Greg Cronin’s 150th-career game as the Huskies’ head coach and freshman netminder Chris Rawlings’ first win in net. In the home-opening sellout against Bentley University, the Huskies’ tallied three powerplay goals from the sticks of Jake Newton, Justin Daniels and Steve Silva while Wade MacLeod accounted for two helpers. The Huskies were handed their first conference loss at New Hampshire, 4-2, but MacLeod notched his fourth-career two-goal game against the Wildcats. The following afternoon, NU battled with UMass Lowell to the very end, but lost a 3-1 decision at Tsongas Arena. Tyler McNeely scored his sixth-career powerplay goal in the game. Through five games, the Huskies have scored a powerplay goal in each tilt. Rawlings has made at least 30 stops in four-of-five starts. Vermeersch, MacLeod and Donovan lead Northeastern with four points each while MacLeod, McNeely and Vermeersch stand as NU’s lone multi-goal performers.

No comments:

Post a Comment