Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Northeastern and UMass Lowell Square Off for the Fourth Time

Northeastern vs. UMass Lowell • Round 4
Friday night’s clash of Northeastern and UMass Lowell marks the fourth time these two clubs meet in the regular season. The River Hawks own a 2-1 advantage in decisions, but Northeastern’s 2-1 victory over UML counted towards the Ledyard National Bank Classic championship on Jan. 3. UMass Lowell started off the season series with a 3-1 win at Tsongas Arena on Oct. 24 before knocking off the Huskies on NESN in a 6-5 overtime thriller just 20 days ago. Friday’s matchup concludes the three-game Hockey East series, but a Northeastern win would even the win-loss total against the River Hawks on the year. Boston University is the only other team Northeastern is guaranteed to face four times this year, as the Huskies and Terriers face off in the first round of the Beanpot on Feb. 1. (Northeastern and Boston College have the potential to play four games against one another in the second round of the Beanpot.) In the first three meetings, two games have been decided by one goal as UMass Lowell has outscored Northeastern, 10-8, through 180:34 minutes of play this season. The River Hawks own the overall series record, 52-36-7, and each head coach owns a winning record against the opposing club. Greg Cronin is 11-9-1 all-time against UMass Lowell while Blaise MacDonald has compiled a 15-13-3 mark against the Huskies.

Looking at Lowell

UMass Lowell skates into Matthews Arena on a two-game winning streak with home victories over Merrimack (5-4) and Boston College (3-1). The River Hawks snapped a two-game funk, dropping a set to Massachusetts two weekends ago. Since the calendar switched to 2010, UMass Lowell has compiled a 4-3-1 record and is looking to break the .500 mark on Saint Botolph St. for the month. The River Hawks’ pivotal four-point pickup boost UML into fourth place heading into the weekend, owners of an 8-6-2 conference record, 14-9-2 overall. UMass Lowell’s season has oscillated since the beginning of October, winning eight of its first 11 games, but then losing seven of the last 14 decisions. The River Hawks pride themselves on its league-leading scoring defense, surrendering only 2.40 goals per game. UML’s mark stands as the 12th-best figure in the country. Senior Kory Falite continues to lead UMass Lowell’s offensive attack with a team-best 14 goals and 24 points. Nick Schaus stands as UML’s leading assist generator, as the senior leads the club with 17 helpers. Scott Campbell has netted a club-high four powerplay goals while Jeremy Dehner has compiled a team-best +16 rating through 25 games. Goaltenders Carter Hutton and Nevin Hamilton have anchored UML’s defense with respective records of 8-6-0 and 6-3-2. Hutton’s 2.07 goals against average is eighth best in the country (first in Hockey East) while his save percentage of .926 is 10th (second in Hockey East).

Last Time Out against Lowell
Despite erasing a three-goal deficit in the third period, #14 UMass Lowell dashed Northeastern’s bid at a comeback as Michael Scheu sent in the game-winning overtime goal for the 6-5 win at Matthews Arena on Saturday night. The Huskies outshot UML, 19-7, in the third frame with junior Wade MacLeod sewing up the score at 15:37. UMass Lowell had a trifecta of three-goal leads over the course of the game. Senior Jim Driscoll made it a 5-4 game at 14:49 of the third, marking his first goal since Feb. 27, 2009 against the River Hawks. UMass Lowell took command early, tallying the first three goals of the contest before senior Kyle Kraemer stopped the bleeding at 15:23 of the first period. Chris Auger lit the lamp right off the bat and wristed a quick bullet past rookie goalie Chris Rawlings at 1:17 of the opening stanza. Paul Worthington was the beneficiary of a behind-the-back pass from Kory Falite at 7:53 of the first. Ben Holmstrom wrangled the puck off the boards, sent it to Falite on the corner who whipped it behind to Worthington’s waiting stick for the 2-0 buffer. Jeremy Dehner added another UML tally at 11:20 with a goal from his own rebound. Dehner grabbed the carom from his initial blast, peeled around the net, and stuffed it past Rawlings’ outstretched right pad for the 3-0 cushion. At 7:47 of the second, Campbell beat Rawlings right in front on Schaus’ rebound to negate Kraemer’s tally and maintain the three-goal advantage, 4-1. Steve Silva’s contact to the head roughing call with five seconds remaining in the second handicapped NU’s numbers in the final 20 minutes, but the Huskies immediately rallied to start the third thanks to freshman Jake Newton’s first-career shorthanded goal at 00:55. Scheu cashed in on the Silva penalty at 1:52 of the third on a feed from David Vallorani. Scheu banged home the pass on Rawlings’ glove side to reclaim the three-goal edge, 5-2, but Northeastern roared back with three unanswered to extend the game to overtime. Steve Capraro’s tripping penalty at 15:26 gave way to MacLeod’s equalizer at 15:37. A Falite-to-Scheu give-and-go goal was the dagger in Northeastern’s comeback with just 16 seconds remaining in overtime. Scheu crashed the post and tipped in Falite’s feed at 4:34 for the win.

Huskies Leaders against UMass Lowell

Wade MacLeod has tallied a team-best nine points (4-5-9) through 10-career games against UMass Lowell while fourth-year skaters Kyle Kraemer (4-3-7) and David Strathman (1-6-7) have each collected seven points against UML. Greg Costa (3-3-6) and Tyler McNeely (1-5-6) are owners of six points against the Lowell natives whereas Steve Silva has registered five points (2-3-5). Jim Driscoll (2-2-4), Chris Donovan (0-4-4) and Jake Newton have logged four points and Mike McLaughlin (2-1-3), Alex Tuckerman (1-2-3) and Garrett Vermeersch (0-3-3) have contributed three points. Rookie Robbie Vrolyk registered an assist on Jan. 9.

Northeastern in Game Before the Beanpot

With the 58th annual Beanpot Tournament lurking on February 1, it should be noted that the Huskies have amassed a 20-34-3 record in games immediately before the Beanpot.

Huskies Add Some ‘Power” to the Line Up

Mike Power, who last skated with the Green Mountain Glades of the EJHL (Eastern Junior Hockey League) during the 2007-08 season, will complement the Huskies’ defense by adding size at 6’1, 195 lbs. Power started out his prep career at Buckingham Browne & Nichols (Cambridge, Mass.), skating with the club from 2005-07. In his second season, Power captained the Buckingham Browne & Nichols prep bunch under head coach Terrence Butt. The West Roxbury, Mass. native was awarded the 2007 Coach’s Cup in his final season with the team. Power just finished clearing NCAA waivers and has been granted active status on the team.

Looking to Start the New Decade Right
If the Huskies can even the series record against UMass Lowell on Friday night, Northeastern will have put together its first winning month of the season. Before puck drop, the Huskies are 4-3-0 in the month of January. The win would also even out there Hockey East mark to 3-3-0.

Newton’s Not Messing Around
Freshman defenseman Jake Newton has scored eight points in his last seven outings, including four goals and four assists. Newton sent the Huskies to victory with his game-winning powerplay goal against Providence on Jan. 19. The tally marked the rookie’s second-career game-clincher as well as his fourth multi-point performance of the season. The San Jacinto, Calif. native netted his first shorthanded goal the last time UMass Lowell paid a visit to Matthews Arena on Jan. 9 and was named to the Ledyard National Bank-All Tournament team after potting the tournament-winner against the River Hawks on Jan. 3. The rookie blue liner is ranked 20th in the country in freshman scoring and tied for second in Hockey East play. Newton is tabbed 30th in the country in regards to defensive scoring and tied for 10th in the league. Newton is tied for second on the team with 15 points (6-9-15).

Ending the Extra-Man Draught

Jake Newton’s game-winning powerplay goal also ended a three-game powerplay scoring draught for Northeastern. NU’s three-game scoreless powerplay stretch matched a season-long from Nov. 27 – Dec. 5. Northeastern is 23-for-135 (.170) on powerplay chances.

Helpless Tallies

Jake Newton’s powerplay goal and Tyler McNeely’s empty netter against Providence on Jan. 19 both came without any help, marking the second and third unassisted tallies of the year for Northeastern. The Huskies first unassisted marker of the season came from the twig of Alex Tuckerman against Maine on Nov. 14.

Bouncing Back

The Huskies have responded well this season after a setback. Northeastern has accrued a 7-4 record this season in reaction to a loss.

Don’t Call It a Comeback

Northeastern’s 3-1 victory at Vermont marks the first time the Huskies have won a game after trailing upon conclusion of the first period. Northeastern lost its last eight games of the season when facing a deficit through 20 minutes of action. Strangely enough, Northeastern’s two-goal buffer was the first time the Huskies emerged victoriously by a pair of tallies this season. NU also knocked off Providence on Jan. 19 by a pair of tallies, as well.

Is There Anybody In There?
Tyler McNeely iced the game against Providence with Northeastern’s second empty-net goal in three games, marking the captain’s seventh tally of the season. On Jan. 15 at Vermont, Wade MacLeod notched NU’s first empty-netter to seal the 3-1 victory as part of a three-point weekend. The gimmie goal was MacLeod’s seventh tally of the year.

Rawlings Racks Up 1,000 Minutes

Rookie Chris Rawlings’ earned his first start at Colorado College on Oct. 9, 2009 and has since broken through the 1,000-minute mark in net this year. The first-year backstopper has totaled 1110:04 in net and has pieced together a 9-9-1 mark through 19 games played. The North Delta, B.C. native owns a goals against of 2.97 and is stopping pucks at a rate of 90.5 percent.

Stopping Points
Following the 9-2 setback at Vermont on Jan. 16, the Huskies accounted for their 150th total point of the season by way of Wade MacLeod’s tally in the third period. Northeastern also broke through the 50-goal plateau and has chalked up 57 tallies through 22 tilts. On the whole, Northeastern has totaled 155 points this season.

Third Period Lockdown

When it comes to stopping pucks in the third period, Northeastern is tops in Hockey East. The Huskies have surrendered a league-low 16 goals in the final 20 minutes of regulation. The next closets club is Massachusetts with 20.

MacLeod Making Things Happen
Wade MacLeod, last season’ points leader, had his six-game scoring streak put to rest against Providence on Jan. 19. The Coquitlam, B.C. native started off his scoring stretch with a two-point performance against Dartmouth on Jan. 2 and carried it all the way through to Jan. 16. Over those six games, MacLeod gathered eight points, including four goals and four assists. With the hot streak, MacLeod is now tied for the team lead with 17 points (8-9-17). MacLeod’s goal against UMass Lowell (Jan. 9) marked his 75th-career point and he is now sitting at 79 career points (33-46-79). MacLeod is certainly on pace to join the 100-points club by either late this season or early next year. The last Husky to log 100-career points was Mike Morris (2002-07). He finished with 109 points (45-64-109). Only four other skaters in Hockey East have the inside track on MacLeod to reach the 100-point plateau, including Nick Bonino (BU – 97 pts.), Kory Falite (UML – 96 pts.), Brian Gibbons (BC - 89 pts.) and Joe Whitney (BC – 84 pts.)

Captain Coming Through
Northeastern’s captain, junior Tyler McNeely, scored the Huskies’ lone goal in a 4-1 loss to UMass on Jan. 10. McNeely played an integral role in the Huskies’ five goals against UMass Lowell on Jan. 9. The Burnaby, British Columbia native recorded Northeastern’s first playmaker (three assists in one game) since Chris Donovan performed the feat against Boston College on Feb. 2, 2009. McNeely and Donovan are the only NU skaters to have logged three points in one game this season, as well. McNeely now has 14 points on the year (7-8-16).

A Goal Every Five Minutes
Northeastern expunged UMass Lowell’s three-goal advantage with a flurry of tallies in the third period on Jan. 9. The Huskies four-goal third period matched a season best in goals scored in one period. The last time NU racked up four goals in 20 minutes was in the 5-2 victory against Maine on Nov. 14. Wade MacLeod’s rifle from the circle extended the game into overtime, but UML’s Michael Scheu dash the comeback bid by netting the game-winner at 4:34 in the extra session.

Mountain Man

Rookie goaltender Bryan Mountain earned his third start in net against Massachusetts on Jan. 10. Mountain turned aside 20 attempts, upping his overall saves total to 68. Mountain did not get much help up front as the Huskies posted a season-low 13 shots against the Minutemen. The Bryn Mawr, Pa. native’s GAA rests at 3.06 with an 86.6 save percentage. Mountain notched his first collegiate victory against Merrimack on Dec. 5, 2-1.

Age Before Beauty
Senior assistant captain Jim Driscoll leads Northeastern with 122 total games under his belt. The Dedham, Mass. blueliner finally secured his first-career two-point outing with a goal and an assist against UMass Lowell on Jan. 9. Driscoll most recently scored at Vermont on Jan. 16 and has tallied four goals and 14 assists over his tenure on Huntington Ave.

Freshman Phenoms

Newcomers Jake Newton and Garrett Vermeersch have transitioned nicely into the collegiate ranks as Newton and Vermeersch rank tied for second and fourth, respectively, amongst rookies in Hockey East with 0.68 and 0.67 points per game. Vermeersch recorded his first-career two assists outing against UMass Lowell on Jan. 9 while Newton charted his first-career shorthanded goal along with an assist in the same contest. Newton is T-20th in the country amongst all rookie scorers while Vermeersch is T-22nd.

Get Tuck the Puck…and MacLeod, Too

Out of the 10 games Alex Tuckerman has registered a point in, the Huskies have gone on to win seven of those occasions. NU is also 3-0 when Tuckerman assembles a positive plus/minus rating. Tuckerman is sixth on the team with 11 points, including five goals and six assists. In the 11 games in which MacLeod has tallied at least one points this year. the Huskies have won seven of those contests.

Scoring Schematics

Northeastern’s style of play is represented in its scoring trends. Once the Huskies obtain a lead, they don’t like to relinquish it. When leading after the first period, Northeastern is 3-0 and when tied heading into the final period, Northeastern has won all four episodes. When owning a lead heading into the third, the Huskies are 6-0-1. When Northeastern lights the lamp first, the Huskies are 7-1-1. In one-goal affairs, the Huskies have won five-of-seven tilts.

Powerplay Perpetrators
Against UMass Lowell on Jan. 3, Northeastern lit the lamp in its fourth straight game on the powerplay, marking the third time this season the Huskies have scored an extra-man tally in four consecutive outings. Most recently, Northeastern put away a pair of powerplay tallies in both the Dartmouth and UMass-Lowell games at the Ledyard National Bank Classic. Tuckerman and McNeely turned the trick again against Dartmouth while Tuckerman and Newton’s goals stood enough to earn the victory. Kyle Kraemer and Wade MacLeod’s powerplay blasts against UMass Lowell on Jan. 9 stand as the most recent pair of powerplay goals in one game.

Powerplay Game-Winners

Northeastern has registered four-game winning goals with the extra-man advantage. Junior Steve Silva scored NU’s third goal in a 3-2 win over Bentley in the home opener while Wade MacLeod offered up the lone tally in the 1-0 win over Boston University on Nov. 6. Jake Newton has netted the last two powerplay game-winners, with his first coming against UMass Lowell on Jan. 3 and his most recent was against Providence on Jan. 19.

Huskies Amongst the Elite
Kyle Kraemer’s 0.41 goals per game (8) is tied for 77th in the entire country while Wade MacLeod’s 0.38 tallies per trip are good for 98th.  Jake Newtonhas thursted up the defensive scoring charts as the rookie is now in 30th in the nation amongst defensemen with 0.68 points per game. Newton is also T-20th in the country amongst rookies, second in the conference. Classmate Garrett Vermeersch is tied as the nation’s 22nd highest-scoring rookie with 0.67 points per game. Vermeersch’s mark stands tied for fourth-best amongst all newcomers in Hockey East.

Double-Digit Scoring
Six Huskies have tabulated 10 points or more thus far. Kyle Kraemer and Wade MacLeod lead the way with 17 points (9-8-17) | (8-9-17) while Tyler McNeely (7-8-15) and Jake Newton (6-9-15) are tied for second with 15 points. Garrett Vermeersch (5-9-14) is in fifth with 14 points while Alex Tuckerman has tabulated 11 points (5-6-11).

Score First, Win Later

Of the nine games in which Northeastern has scored first, the Huskies have come away with seven victories. The Boston College (5-1, L) and Providence (3-3, T) games were the only two outings Northeastern did not win when drawing first blood. Northeastern’s victories in which it attacked the scoreboard first came against Colorado College (4-3, Oct. 10), Boston University (1-0, Nov. 6), Providence (4-1, Nov. 20), Merrimack (2-1, Dec. 5), Dartmouth (7-0, Jan. 2) and UMass-Lowell (2-1, Jan. 3) and Providence (3-1, Jan. 19).

Clutch When It Counts
Northeastern has gone into the third period tied with its opponent on four occasions this year. In all four instances, the Huskies emerged victoriously. The first triumph came against Boston University as both squads skated to a scoreless 40 minutes before Wade MacLeod lit the lamp to dash BU’s bid. In the Maine victory, the Huskies erupted for three third-period tallies as NU and MU were locked at 1-1 heading into the final stanza. Against Merrimack, both squads opened the third period owning one goal. David Strathman ended the drama with his second-career game winner. Most recently, Jake Newton put away the tournament-winner against UMass-Lowell, breaking a 1-1 tie.

Multi-Point Performers

Eleven Huskies have chalked up a multi-point game this season as Wade MacLeod leads the charge with five under his belt. MacLeod’s most recent two-point outing was at Vermont (1-1-2). Jake Newton and Kyle Kraemer have turned the trick four times this season while Garrett Vermeersch has logged three multi-point games. Tyler McNeely has posted two while Steve Silva (1-1-2), Drew Muench (0-2-2), David Strathman (0-2-2), Alex Tuckerman (1-1-2) and Chris Donovan (1-2-3) have all notched one multi-point performance. Donovan and McNeely’s three points at Colorado College (1-2-3) and UMass Lowell (0-3-3) remain a team best.

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