Tuesday, November 10, 2009

In Preperation for the Maine Doubleheader

Game Notes in PDF

100th Game against Maine
Friday’s contest at Matthews Arena marks the Centennial anniversary of Northeastern against Maine. Maine is only one of five teams NU faces this season in which the series dates back 100 decisions, joining Boston University (204), Boston College (203), New Hampshire (153) and Providence (135). Over the past 99 meetings, the Black Bears hold a 48-36-15 advantage over Northeastern, but the Huskies have had Maine’s number as of late. Northeastern has won four straight against its northern foe and has outscored the Black Bears, 17-6, within that stretch. The Huskies dispatched UM, 3-2 in overtime in the last meeting that occurred over 11 months ago on Dec. 5, 2008. Northeastern and Maine have not met in the Hockey East playoffs since March 8-9, 2001, when Maine swept the Huskies in the quarterfinal round. A victory on Friday will match the most wins against Maine since the Huskies’ five-game winning spurt from Feb. 11, 1984 through Nov. 2, 1985. Northeastern emerged victoriously in the first-ever meeting on Dec. 1, 1977, 7-4, at Matthews Arena while Maine’s first win came on Feb. 17, 1979. In the spirit of Friday night’s shutout of Boston University, the Huskies have blanked Maine twice in 99 games, including a recent affair on Oct. 24, 2008 at Alfond Arena. The other time came on Valentine’s Day of 2004 in which both teams skated to a 0-0 stalemate. For head coach Greg Cronin, Friday and Saturday’s games will rekindle some past memories as Northeastern’s leader was the interim head coach at Maine from December 1995-96 and was the assistant coach twice, from 1988-90 and 1993-95. Since taking over at Northeastern, Cronin is 5-8 against his old squad, but has been able to surpass Maine the last four games. Tim Whitehead, head coach at Maine, is 7-7-11 against Northeastern during his tenure with the Black Bears. The Friday-Saturday showdowns at Matthews Arena marks the first home doubleheader of the season for the Huskies as NU puts its 2-0 home record on the line against a Maine team that has knocked off Vermont and Boston University, respectively, in its last two performances. Only two points separate each squad, so a sweep for either team would be a huge boost in the clutter of Hockey East play.

Black Bears Beat
Maine was penciled in to finish eighth in Hockey East in this year’s preseason poll, partly due to a very young squad that features only four seniors. The Black Bears skated to a shaky start, dropping their first three games, including the first two at Union. Since then, Maine has posted a respectable 3-2 total in its last five games with a victory against #13/14 Michigan State and triumphs over conference foes, Boston University and Vermont, in that order. Maine boasts Hockey East’s most prolific scorer this far in sophomore Gustav Nyquist. Nyquist is tied with Massachuetts’ James Marcou with 13 overall points (5-8-13), good for 13th, overall, in the country. The Black Bears also feature a trifecta of skaters with seven total points, including rookie Adam Shemansky (5-2-7) and sophomores William O’Neill (2-5-7) and Spencer Abbott (2-5-7). Both Nyquist and Shemansky share the team lead with five goals. Four of Shemansky’s tallies have come via the powerplay. Sophomore netminder Scott Darling has started five games for Maine, posting a 3-1 record and is allowing 3.03 goals per game and saving shots at a clip of 89.6 percent. Despite having a cluster of high scorers, Maine is 0-4 on the road this season and will be desperately seeking its first win away from Alfond Arena on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Last Time against the Black Bears
Senior defenseman Louis Liotti scored two goals, including the game-winner in overtime as the men’s hockey team beat Maine, 3-2, at Matthews Arena. Wade MacLeod also had a goal and an assist, Joe Vitale had a pair of assists and netminder Brad Thiessen made 31 saves. Maine got scores from Brian Flynn and Matt Duffy. The Huskies got on the board first when MacLeod scored at 18:59 in the first period. Jim Driscoll passed the puck to MacLeod on the left side and MacLeod brought it to the center and fired it into the crowd for the goal. The Huskies were able to up their lead to 2-0 with Liotti’s power-play goal at 9:10 in the second period. Maine’s Will O’Neill was whistled for a five-minute major for hitting from behind and a game misconduct at 8:58, setting up the NU advantage. The Huskies cycled the puck around with MacLeod dishing to Vitale, who passed it to Liotti in the left circle. Liotti skated in and shot the puck past Darling for his second goal of the night. Maine was able to claw back into the game before the end of the second frame. On an odd-man rush, Flynn scored on a huge rebound of a Keif Orsini shot at 14:48. Steve Silva was called for contact to the head-roughing at 17:43 and David Strathman was called for a five-minute major for hitting from behind and a game misconduct at 18:06, giving Maine a five-on-three for 1:37. The Black Bears capitalized with a perfect cycle as Josh Van Dyk passed it to Gustav Nyquist and Nyquist passed it to a wide-open Duffy, who buried it at 19:09 to even the score. Liotti ended it in overtime at 2:29, marking the first time Northeastern swept a season series from Maine since 1984-85, the first season of Hockey East play.

Huskies’ Leaders against Maine
Wade MacLeod directs all Huskies’ scorers against Maine with three goals and five assists while Greg Costa (3-2-5) and Tyler McNeely (2-3-5) are both knotted at five points. Defenseman Randy Guzior has logged four points (3-1-4) against Maine whereas seniors Jim Driscoll and Kyle Kraemer have each accounted for three assists. Steve Quailer (0-2-2) and Alex Tuckerman (1-1-2) have each notched two points while Chris Donovan and Mike Hewkin have each scored a goal. Drew Muench, Steve Silva and Dylan Wiwchar have all contributed an assist in the overall series.

Reversing the 100th-Game Fortunes
With Friday’s game marking the 100th-overall game between Maine and Northeastern, the Huskies have skated in a centennial matchup against four of their other opponents this season, including Boston University, Boston College, New Hampshire and Providence. Unfortunately for Northeastern, the Huskies have run into some bad luck on the 100th game of a series and look to reverse their fortunes. NU is 0-4 in 100th-game anniversaries. Northeastern lost to Boston College, 4-3, at Matthews Arena on March 4, 1981. The 100th NU – BU battle commenced on Nov. 24, 1984 in which the Terriers won, 3-1 while the Wildcats of UNH took down the Huskies, 8-5, on Jan. 15, 1993. Providence beat NU, 5-3, on March 7, 1999. Each of these games took place at Matthews Arena, so the Huskies will be looking to snap the common trend on Friday night.

Unmarred at Matthews Arena
The Huskies have hosted in-state foes Bentley and Boston University and have come away with victories in both games at Matthews Arena. Northeastern has started off its season 2-0 at home 18 times throughout the course of history, most recently when the Huskies beat St. Lawrence, 4-3, on Oct. 13, 2000 and Wisconsin, 5-4 (ot), on Oct. 28, 2000. In games immediately following the second home victory, the Huskies have gone 6-12. The overall Northeastern record when starting 2-0 at home is 216-244-28.

Tall Order for Rookie of the Week

A large reason Northeastern is 2-0 at Matthews Arena this season is because of the 43-save show put on by rookie goaltender, Chris Rawlings, in a 1-0 shutout of #7/5 Boston University on Nov. 6, 2009. Rawlings becomes the Huskies’ second-ever netminder to shut out Boston University as Northeastern recorded its first shutout since blanking UMass Lowell on Feb. 27, 2009. Brad Thiessen was the last NU goalie to make 43 stops when he turned the trick against New Hampshire on Nov. 1, 2008. The 6’5 backstopper has started all seven games for the Huskies and has assembled a win-loss record of 3-4-0. Rawlings is allowing 2.87 goals per game, seventh in Hockey East, while his .919 save percentage currently ranks third in the conference. Rawlings is Hockey East’s only starting freshman goaltender, but is already laying the foundation as one of the toughest to beat in net. He has totaled 226 saves, second most in the league behind New Hampshire’s senior goalie, Brian Foster (242). Foster has started two more games than the Huskies’ defensive anchor. Rawlings’ 2.87 gpg figure is 44th in the country while his save rate of .919 ranks 30th in all the land. For his 43-save shutout performance against Boston University and then making 29 stops at Boston College the following night, Rawlings was awarded NU’s second Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week award, joining classmate Garrett Vermeersch who made the list on Oct. 12.

Ending a Terrier Reign
Northeastern’s 1-0 win over BU marks the first time the Huskies have won by that score since beating Massachusetts on Feb. 1, 2008. With the shutout, Northeastern can stake its claim to ending BU’s five-year run of not being shutout on the road. Friday night’s triumph marks NU’s first win over its Commonwealth Ave. foe since Feb. 28, 2007. The last time Boston University was denied through 60 minutes on the road was on March 15, 2004.

Cronin Continues to Climb the Ladder
With the BU win, head coach Greg Cronin earned his 60th-career win as Northeastern’s leader and 80th-career win, overall. Cronin’s overall record at Northeaster in 60-76-19. Cronin would love to add to that total against his old club this weekend. While interim head coach at Maine from December 1995-96, Cronin directed the Black Bears to a 27-14-2 record and coached Maine in the Hockey East Championship game in 1996. Cronin also had two stints as an assistant in Orono, one from 1988-90 and the other from 1993-95.

First Hockey East Win of the Season
Friday night’s win against the defending national champion Terriers marked Northeastern’s first Hockey East win of the season. It took NU three conference games to earn two points in the HEA column. Northeastern has won its first Hockey East game of the season on 11 occasions, with the most recent coming in a 4-0 shutout at Providence on Oct. 17, 2008. Six of those wins came on the road while five of them came within the walls of Matthews Arena. The first time NU won its first HEA game of the season was against Boston University on Oct. 26, 1985, 6-3, at BU. The longest it took the Huskies to earn their first Hockey East victory in a season was 10 games when NU beat Merrimack at home, 4-1, on Dec. 1, 2006. Northeastern earned wins against Union and at Michigan during that stretch, but didn’t see its first league win until the Warriors came to town.

Milestones in the Making
Sophomore Alex Tuckerman earned his 25th-career point by assisting on Wade MacLeod’s game-winning goal against Boston University on Friday night. Junior defenseman Mike Hewkin celebrated his 75th game donning a Huskies sweater. He also participated in his 50th-career Hockey East game at Boston College.

Hewkin Making It Happen

Mike Hewkin registered his first points of the season with an assist in both the Boston University and Boston College game. Hewkin has 13-career points to his name, but Friday and Saturday’s performance marks the blueliner’s first-career pointstreak with Northeastern. Hewkin joins defensive partners freshman Jake Newton and senior David Strathman and Jim Driscoll with two helpers on the year. Hewkin has played in all seven games for the Huskies this season. The only skater for NU who has yet to record a point after skating in all seven contests is senior forward Greg Costa.

Kraemer and Student Find the Board
Senior Kyle Kraemer notched NU’s lone tally in a 5-1 loss at Boston College on Saturday night. Kraemer has scored 13 goals in his career and needs one more point to meet the 40-point plateau. Freshman blueliner Chris Student became the fifth newcomer this year to attain his first-career point for the Huskies. Student set up Kraemer on the goal, marking his first assist 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. 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.

Powerplay Scoring Streak
MacLeod’s marker in the 1-0 BU win extended Northeastern’s powerplay scoring streak to six games, but the Huskies had their streak snapped at Boston College on Saturday night. Kyle Kraemer secured NU’s only goal and it came during a 5-on-5 situation. All three of NU’s tallies against Bentley were powerplay goals. The Huskies’ powerplay is clicking at a rate of 16.3 percent (8/49) which is sixth best in Hockey East and 32nd in the country.

Matthews Arena Meets Max Capacity Again

The Huskies’ faithful stuffed the stands for the second-consecutive home sellout this season. The Boston University sellout marked the first advanced sellout of a Northeastern athletics’ event since the men’s basketball team hosted Duke in 1995. The first advanced sellout came last season when Northeastern hosted Boston College on Oct. 18, 2008. The Eagles were ranked No. 1 in the country and the Huskies treated their fans to a 4-3 triumph. Each advanced sellout has come against a Boston-based school that returns as a defending national champion. Boston College won the title in 2008 while Boston University is this year’s reigning champ. At the Bentley game, a new student-attendance record was set when 2,724 strong packed ‘The Dog House’ to watch Northeastern secure its first home victory of the season.

Ranked Rivals

No. 16/rv Boston College was the Huskies’ third nationally ranked challenger in both the USCHO.com 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 #5/5). 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 #10/13 since Nov. 2. Northeastern has dealt Colorado College its second loss of the season thus far.

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.

Hockey East Weighing In
Eight of Hockey East’s 10 teams are either ranked or have received votes in USCHO.com / CBS College Sports latest poll. UMass Lowell has taken over the No. 5 spot in both polls, soaring up three spots after tying Vermont and throttling New Hampshire on ESPNU, 6-3. Massachusetts made the biggest leap, taking over the 14th and 10th posts, respectively, in the USCHO and USA Today polls after sweeping Niagara by a combined score of 8-3. Vermont remains at No.15 while Boston College stays put at No. 16 in the USCHO poll. Boston University plummeted from No. 7 to No. 17 after losing to both NU and Maine on Friday and Sunday, respectively. Northeastern was given 16 votes in the USCHO poll while Providence (9) and UNH (5) round out HEA’s contigent. Maine and Merrimack were not listed in either poll.

No Games for Northeastern
The Huskies did not have any games scheduled over Halloween weekend. Since Greg Cronin has been the head coach at Northeastern (2005-06 season), the Huskies have had a full Friday-Saturday-Sunday break in their schedule only once since the beginning of the season (Excluding Christmas and playoff breaks). Northeastern had a Thursday night tilt at UMass Lowell on Feb. 8, 2007 in which the Huskies lost, 1-0, before beating Harvard in the consolation round of the Beanpot, 3-1, on Monday, Feb. 12.

Steady Scoring throughout the Ranks
The junior class overtook the team points leads amongst all four classes with 12, overall, including four different point scorers MacLeod (5), Silva (3), McNeely (2) and Hewkin (2). The newcomers are still clicking at a strong rate with 11 points (Vermeersch (4), Newton (3), Vrolyk (2), J. Daniels (1), Student (1)). The senior class has offered 10 points, including Donovan (4), Kraemer (2) Driscoll (2) and Strathman (2) while sophomores Tuckerman (3), McLaughlin (1) and Muench (1) round out the scoring.

Converting the Two-Man Advantage

Wade MacLeod’s first goal at New Hampshire marked the Huskies’ first 5-on-3 goal of the season and is one of eight NU extra-man tallies this season.

Guzior Switches Gears
Senior Randy Guzior played in 95 games as a forward for Northeastern before dropping back to guard the blue line at New Hampshire on Oct. 23. On Oct. 24 at UMass Lowell, Guzior earned his first-career start as a defenseman and is just one game shy of skating in his 100th contest.

Skating Milestones
Senior defenseman David Strathman participated in his 100th-career game for Northeastern in the 3-2 victory against Bentley. The Tempe, Ariz. native joins Jim Driscoll and Chris Donovan as a member of the 100-games club. Driscoll leads all members with 113 career games while Donovan has competed in 104. Guzior (99 games), Kraemer (92 games) and Costa (91 games) should all eclipse that mark at some point in the 2009-10 season. Captain Tyler McNeely skated in his 75th-career game at the Whittemore Center on Oct. 23 at New Hampshire while Mike Hewkin did the same at Boston College on Nov. 7.

Nobody Home
The UMass Lowell game’s final score closed out at 3-1 on Oct. 24 , but the River Hawks’ final marker came on an empty net after Chris Rawlings was pulled with 38 seconds in regulation. UML’s empty-net goal is the first one the Huskies have surrendered this year.

Multi-Point Performances
Five Huskies have logged a multi-point performance through their first five contests. Senior Chris Donovan is the only member to have posted three points (1-2-3) in a game when he did so in the 4-3 win at Colorado College. Newcomers Vermeersch (1-1-2) and Newton (1-1-2) have each registered a powerplay goal and an assist in one game while Silva (1-1-2) has carried out the same feat against Bentley. Wade MacLeod’s (0-2-2 • 2-0-2) 15th- and 16th-career multi-point games came with two helpers against Bentley and two tallies at New Hampshire.

Challenging the Champs
Not only did Northeastern host its cross-town rival in BU last Friday night, the Huskies welcomed in the 2009 Division I national champions. The NCAA started crowning a collegiate ice hockey national champion in 1948 when the University of Michigan claimed the initial title. Since the first dubbing 61 years ago, the Huskies have been pitted against the defending national champions 33 times. Northeastern’s first victory against a defending champion was against Boston University when the Huskies toppled the Terriers, 6-4, on Jan. 10, 1979 at Matthews Arena. The Huskies have also enjoyed success the following season whenever Maine has captured the national championship. When the Black Bears were crowned in 1993, NU went 3-1 against Maine during the 1993-94 season, outscoring UM, 18-12. After Maine won it again in 1999, Northeastern went 2-0-1 in the 1999-2000 campaign, outscoring the Black Bears 11-6. Under Greg Cronin, Northeastern is 3-1 against the incumbent champ. The Huskies treated their fans to a 4-3 win against then-No. 1 Boston College (2008 champs) on Oct. 18, 2008, as well. Overall, NU has compiled an overall record of 11-21-1 when opposing the national champion from the previous season. Below is a list of how NU has fared against those teams:
• Boston College (1949 champs - L, 4-9 (1/3/50), L, 3-7 (2/7/50)
• RPI (1954 champs - L, 1-4 (2/1/55)
• Michigan (1964 champs - L, 2-7 (12/29/64)
• Michigan Tech (1965 champs - L, 5-8 (12/27/65)
• Boston University (1971 champs - L, 1-4 (12/21/71)
• Boston University (1972 champs - L, 4-9 (1/17/73), L, 2-3 (1/23/73)
• Boston University (1978 champs - W, 6-4 (1/10/79) L, 0-6 (2/21/79)
• North Dakota (1987 champs - W, 5-4 (OT) (11/27/87)
• Harvard (1989 champs - L, 4-5 (Beanpot) (2/5/90)
• Maine (1993 champs - W, 6-3 (12/3/93), L, 3-6 (12/4/93), W, 5-2 (1/28/94), W, 4-1 (1/29/94)
• Lake Superior State (1994 champs - L, 4-5 (12/28/94)
• Boston University (1995 champs - L, 4-6 (11/3/95), L, 2-10 (11/4/95), L, 4-11 (2/12/96), L, 1-5 (3/1/96)
• Maine (1999 champs - T, 2-2 (11/5/99), W, 3-1 (12/3/99), W, 6-3 (12/4/99)
• Boston College (2001 champs - W, 4-3 (10/20/01), L, 2-7 (2/22/02), L, 1-3 (2/24/02)
• Denver (2004 champs - L, 2-4 (10/16/04), L, 0-4 (1/2/05)
• Boston College (2008 champs - W, 4-3 (10/18/08), W, 6-1 (Beanpot) (2/2/09), W, 2-1 (OT) (3/6/09), L, 1-4 (3/7/09)

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