Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Tourney Time for Huskies Hockey

Northeastern vs. Dartmouth
Saturday’s first-round matchup of the Ledyard National Bank Classic is only the second meeting in over 10 years between the Huskies and Big Green. Northeastern and Dartmouth collided once in the decade of the aughts, and that contest came on December 9, 2000 when the Huskies outlasted Dartmouth, 3-2 in Hanover, N.H. Dartmouth owns a 31-25-0 mark over Northeastern, but the Huskies have emerged victoriously in the last four encounters, marking its second-longest winning streak against the Big Green. NU reeled off eight straight against Dartmouth from Jan. 8, 1963 to Jan. 24, 1968 whereas the Big Green’s longest winning streak against Northeastern stands at seven (Feb. 11, 1952 to Jan. 18, 1955). In 56 decisions, a tie has never made its way into the record books when Northeastern and Dartmouth played. Excluding the short series against Colorado College and Holy Cross, the Big Green is the only opponent Northeastern faces this season where a tie has not presented itself. Saturday’s game acts as the fifth time Northeastern and Dartmouth have squared off in tournament play. On Dec. 30, 1992, Dartmouth edged the Huskies, 5-4, at the UNH Tournament precluded by a Northeastern victory, 3-2, on Dec. 31, 1988 at the Auld Lang Syne Tournament (currently the Ledyard National Bank Tournament). At the ECAC Holiday Tournament, Northeastern defeated the Big Green, 3-2, on Dec. 16, 1967 while the first tournament contest was won by Dartmouth, 2-1, at the Christmas College Tournament on Dec. 28, 1957.

The Dirt on Dartmouth

Aside from the annual Beanpot Tournament featuring Harvard as one of four participants, Dartmouth is the only foe on the Huskies’ ledger that hails from the Ivy League and ECAC. The ECAC has produced some tough competition through the first part of this season, including the likes of Cornell, Quinnipiac and Yale all ranked in the top 10 while Union is making an appearance at No. 18. Unfortunately for the Big Green, it has not enjoyed as much success as Dartmouth is in last place in the league with a 1-6-0 conference record, 3-8-0, overall. Dartmouth started off the season with a six-game losing streak but saved some face with a nice three-game winning stretch over St. Lawrence, Providence and Harvard. In its last two decisions, Dartmouth was handed a tough 4-1 loss at home against Sacred Heart before nearly pulling off the upset at Vermont. The Big Green skated to the very end against the Catamounts but was dealt a 4-3 loss in Burlington. In its eight losses, the Big Green has been doubled on the scoreboard, 30-15. Junior forwards Scott Fleming and Adam Estoclet engineer Dartmouth’s offense as the third-year pair have tallied 11 and 10 points, respectively. Fleming has potted a team-high seven goals while Estoclet has doled out a club-high eight assists. Fleming is locked with rookie Dustin Walsh for the team-lead with two powerplay goals. Junior Evan Stephens directs the Big Green in penalty minutes with seven infractions for 25 minutes. Defensively, sophomore Jody O’Neill has emerged as the Big Green’s go-to netminder with a .904 save percentage and a 3.45 goals allowed average. O’Neill has stopped 302 shots on 334 attempts en route to a 3-7-0 record. Classmate James Mello has played in two contests and has made 44 saves on 48 shots (.917).

Northeastern at the Ledyard National Bank Classic
Formerly known as the Auld Lang Syne Tournament, this weekend’s Ledyard National Bank Tournament marks the 21st time the event has taken place. The four-team holiday tournament started in 1978. Saturday’s first-round matchup denotes the third time the Huskies have skated in the competition. In its first appearance, Northeastern came away with the championship by defeating Dartmouth, 3-2, in 1988. The Huskies shutout Vermont in the first round of the 1988 tournament, 4-0. In 1996, Northeastern dropped a 6-5 overtime decision to St. Lawrence, but responded with a 4-3 win over UMass Lowell the next night. Northeastern is 3-1-0 overall at the Ledyard National Bank Classic.

Last Time Out against Dartmouth
In the first and only meeting of the last decade, Eric Ortlip powered Northeastern past Dartmouth with a pair of third period goals in a 3-2 victory on Dec. 9, 2000 in Hanover, N.H. NU’s Chris Lynch answered Dartmouth’s first goal at 9:27 of the first with help from Craig Mischler. Dartmouth’s Gary Hunter gave the Big Green the advantage heading into the final period, but Ortlip notched his first and second goals of the season, just 17 seconds apart (4:12 and 4:29) for the triumph. Huskies’ goaltender Mike Gilhooly turned away 35 shots for his third win on the year as Northeastern leveled out its record to 6-6-3.

Leaders against the Ivy League

Including the first portion of this season, the Huskies have skated against Ivy League members only five times over the course of the last three and a half years, two of those instances coming against Harvard in the Beanpot. The Huskies are 2-3 in those five contests with victories against Brown (11/30/07, 4-3) and Harvard (2/12/07, 3-1). Northeastern was defeated by Princeton, 5-3 (11/28/08), Cornell, 3-2 (NCAA Tournament game 3/28/09) and Harvard, 3-1 (2/4/08). Despite the .400 winning percentage against the Ivy League, junior forward Steve Silva has enjoyed personal satisfaction against that conference with a team-best, six points (3-3-6). Seniors Chris Donovan (1-1-2) and Kyle Kraemer (0-2-2) along with sophomore Alex Tuckerman (1-1-2) are the only other three Huskies with multiple points against the Ivy League. Sophomores Drew Muench (0-1-1), JP Maley (0-1-1) and Steve Quailer (0-1-1) alongside senior Randy Guzior (0-1-1) have accounted for one point each.

Cronin against the ECAC

Since taking over as Huskies head coach at the beginning of the 2005-06 season, Greg Cronin has gone 5-7-1 against opponents from the ECAC. Out of those 12 games, nine of them have come in tournament play, including the NCAA and Beanpot Tournaments. The last outing against an ECAC foe is a bittersweet memory for the Huskies. Northeastern went ahead, 2-0, against Cornell in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on March 28, 2009, but eventually lost, 3-2. Last season, Northeastern took part in the RPI Tournament where the Huskies lost to Princeton in the first game, 5-3, on Nov. 28, 2008 before defeating RPI, 5-1 the next night. Under Cronin, the Huskies have squared off against Harvard in the Beanpot on three occasions and are 1-2-0. NU’s win against the Crimson came on Feb. 12, 2007, 3-1 while Harvard claimed victory in the other two contests, 3-1 (Feb. 4, 2008) and 5-0 (Feb. 13, 2006). Northeastern and Colgate each have one victory as the Huskies toppled the Red Raiders, 2-1, on Dec. 29, 2007 at the Badger Showdown while Colgate beat NU, 5-2, exactly one year prior at the Toyota UConn Hockey Classic. Cronin has managed to get by Brown and Union with a combined 2-0-1 record. The Huskies tied Union, 1-1, on Dec. 8, 2007 while the two wins came on Nov. 30, 2007 (vs. Brown, 4-3) and Oct. 21, 2006 (vs. Union, 5-0). The first ECAC game under Cronin’s time was a 7-5 loss at RPI on Oct. 28, 2005 followed by a 3-0 to Cornell on Dec. 27, 2005 at the Florida College Classic.

Huskies Overall Tournament Record
Excluding the Beanpot, Hockey East, NCAA tournaments and New England playoffs, Northeastern has played in 109 tournament games from the program’s inception and has gone 40-65-4 in those instances. The first tournament the Huskies took part in was the Christmas College Tournament. Northeastern lost its first eight games in four seasons at the Christmas College Tournament, snapping its streak with a 6-0 trouncing of Brown on Dec. 28, 1960. At the Yale Holiday Tournament, the Huskies outscored AIC and Yale with a combined total of 21-3 on Dec. 18-19, 1972. Under Cronin, Northeastern is 6-5-1 in tournament action. The Huskies entered three tournaments last season, starting off with a trip to Alaska at the Kendall Holiday Classic with a tie against Alaska-Fairbanks (2-2) and a win against Alaska-Anchorage (4-2). At the RPI Tournament in late November, NU lost to Princeton, 5-3, before beating RPI, 5-1. In its last tournament before the Beanpot, Northeastern beat Western Michigan, 3-1 before losing to Minnesota in overtime, 3-2, at the Dodge Holiday Classic. The Huskies won the Badger Showdown in 2007 with wins over Bowling Green (4-3) and Colgate (2-1).

A Review of the Aughts
Northeastern’s first game of the last decade came on Jan. 7, 2000 when the Huskies overcame Massachusetts in overtime, 2-1. The final game of the decade was a 5-1 loss at Maine on Dec. 12, 2009. Including those two contests, along with the 360 games sandwiched in between, the Huskies compiled a record of 135-182-45 in the first decade of the 21st century. NU’s winning percentage over that span equaled 43.5 percent. The Huskies best overall, complete season record last decade was the 2008-09 campaign when NU tied a school-record and went 25-12-4 under Greg Cronin. In Cronin’s first season, the Huskies finished with a record of 3-24-7, indicating what kind of direction he has the program set for in the future. Northeastern’s longest winning streak from 2000-2009 was five games, occurring twice from Dec. 6, 2003 – Jan. 3, 2004 and Oct. 11 – Oct. 25, 2008. Mike Ryan (1999-2003), currently of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, was NU’s leading scorer of the decade with 113 total points. Ryan’s 24 goals in 2001-02 also stand as the highest total in the last 10 years.

Ringing in the New Year with a Bang
Northeastern has learned to utilize the holiday break over the course of its history as the Huskies have amassed a 43-29-2 record (59.5 percent) in the first game of a new year. Granted, three of the first four seasons of NU history started after New Years Day, the Huskies look to continue the trend in Dartmouth. In the first game of a new decade, Northeastern has gone 2-5-1.

McNeely’s Marker Makes it 50
Junior captain Tyler McNeely tallied Northeastern’s lone goal in powerplay fashion in a 5-1 loss at Maine on Dec. 12. Not only was McNeely’s goal his 50th-career point, but it was also the 50th total powerplay goal scored on the current Huskies lineup. McNeely now leads the Huskies with three extra-man markers and is second on the team with eight-career powerplay goals. Classmate Wade MacLeod has 10-career ppg.

Matthews Arena featured in the New York Times
As New Year’s Day grows closer and a new decade nears, one of hockey’s newest traditions, The Winter Classic, pays a visit to Fenway Park when the Boston Bruins and Philadelphia Flyers square off. Fenway Park, home of the Boston Red Sox and the oldest major league baseball stadium still in use, is two years younger than Matthews Arena, home of the Northeastern Huskies hockey team. As the sports world turns its attention to Boston for the NHL’s third-annual Winter Classic, the New York Times featured the world’s oldest indoor ice rink, Matthews Arena, which turns 100 years old on April 16, 2010. (Read the full article)

1 comment:

  1. It will be great to watch Carolina Hurricanes, i have bought tickets from looking forward to it.