Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Tuesday Night Showdown at Matthews Arena

Northeastern vs. Providence
Tuesday night’s contest marks the tale of two teams as Northeastern makes its way back to Matthews Arena following a 9-2 setback while the Friars just knocked off Boston University and Maine, respectively, this past weekend. Of all 12 opposing teams Northeastern has on its 2009-10 docket, Providence is one of two teams Northeastern has yet to lose to in its last five meetings (Dartmouth is the others team). Dating back to Oct. 17, 2008, the Huskies beat Providence in four straight before a 3-3 stalemate ended the Friars’ losing streak to Northeastern. A Huskies’ victory would put four points between the Friars, as Northeastern is currently in eighth place in Hockey East (11 points) while PC clings onto ninth with nine points. Providence holds the overall series advantage at 75-49-13. Head coach Greg Cronin is 8-6-2 lifetime against Providence while PC’s Time Army has assembled a 5-7-2 when facing the Huskies. A Tuesday game is a rare occurrence on Northeastern’s schedule. The last time the Huskies tangled on a Tuesday was Nov. 14, 2006 when Northeastern was slighted in a 4-3 overtime battle at Schneider Arena. Northeastern also opened its 2006-07 season on a Tuesday at Boston College on Oct. 10, losing 5-2.

Freshening Up on the Friars

Following the 3-3 tie in Providence on Nov. 21, the Friars dispatched UMass Lowell, 4-2, before losing six straight to Dartmouth, Maine (2), New Hampshire and Boston College (2). Providence rolls into Matthews Arena on its third two-game winning streak of the season with a 9-10-1 record (4-8-1 Hockey East). Matt Bergland directs Providence’s scoring attack with a team-best 18 points and nine tallies. Kyle MacKinnon has totaled 16 points (8-8-16) through 20 tilts while Mark Fayne’s 10 helpers stands a club-high thus far. MacKinnon has spent the most time in the penalty box, totaling 29 minutes on nine infractions while Chris Eppich’s +5 ranking in a Friars’ best. Alex Beuadry has accumulated an 8-8-1 record, allowing only 2.42 goals per game while posting a save percentage of .925. Providence ranks last in the league with 2.40 goals per game but stands tied for second with Boston College in scoring defense, surrendering a meager 2.65 goals per trip. The Friars’ powerplay unit is in eighth place in Hockey East as Providence has converted 13/73 chances (17.8 percent). Providence’s penalty kill has functioned efficiently this season, as its 85.1 percent killing rate (80/94) is second only to Boston College.

Last Time Out against Providence
Senior Greg Costa scored his first goal of the season, 15th career, with help from freshmen brothers Drew and Justin Daniels. It was Drew Daniels’ first-career point and marks the first time this season the sibling connection recorded a point on the same play. Providence rounded out the seesaw battle after Daniel New tied the game up at 10:26 of the third. Northeastern and PC swapped tallies throughout the contest to solidify the stalemate. Freshman Chris Rawlings turned aside 36 shots in net to earn his first-career draw while PC’s Alex Beuadry stopped 32 shots. Northeastern attacked the scoreboard first on a backhander from Costa at 6:23 of the first. Drew Daniels moved the puck up the far boards and fired the puck into the slot to trigger a play. Justin Daniels first shot was obstructed, but Costa was in the perfect position to paddle it past Alex Beaurdy with the backhand for the 1-0 lead. The Friars evened it up at 14:16 with a powerplay blast from New. Senior Dylan Wiwchar was sent off for interference at 12:51 to give PC the extra man. David Brown and Matt Germain cycled the puck around with the extra skater and Brown kicked it out to New just inside the blue line. New utilized a screen in front Chris Rawlings to go top shelf, 1-1. David Brown handicapped the Friars early in the second with a slashing call at 1:28. Kraemer made quick work of the extra-man advantage with a snapshot from the right circle at 1:52 to recoup the lead, 2-1. Immediately off the faceoff, the Huskies took control in PC’s zone and worked it around with Newton and Vermeersch setting up the senior with powerplay marker. Upon conclusion of a Huskies’ powerplay, Providence quickly upped its tempo in transition and carted the puck into NU’s zone. Matt Bergland tied it by tipping it past Rawlings in front, 2-2, at 8:34 with Germain and New receiving credit on the help. Northeastern kept the back-and-forth battle going with its second tally of the frame at 15:13 as Vermeersch deflected a shot teed up from Tuckerman. Tuckerman forced a turnover in Friars’ territory and fed the puck through to the slot. Vermeersch tipped it out of mid-air while standing in front of the crease for the 3-2 advantage. New slipped the game-tying goal underneath Rawlings pad at 10:26 of the third to create the third tie of the contest, 3-3. In overtime, the Huskies logged three shots to the Friars two, but neither team could break the tie.

Huskies Leaders against Providence
Wade MacLeod leads the career charges against Providence with 10 points (4-6-10) in just eight games while Kyle Kraemer (2-4-6) and Tyler McNeely (3-3-6) have both registered six points. Chris Donovan’s five points (2-3-5) ranks fourth on the club whereas David Strathman and Steve Silva have each doled out four helpers in nine and eight games, respectively. Alex Tuckerman and Garrett Vermeersch have each logged a goal and two assists against Providence. Mike McLaughlin has lit the lamp twice when facing the Friars while Jake Newton owns two assists in two-career games against PC. Seven others have recorded a point in their careers against PC.

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.

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 1050:04 in net and has pieced together an 8-9-1 mark through 18 games played. The North Delta, B.C. native owns a goals against of 3.09 and is stopping pucks at a rate of 90.2 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 54 tallies through 21 tilts.

Is There Anybody In There?

As part of a three-point weekend, Wade MacLeod sealed the 3-1 victory at Vermont on Jan. 15 with Northeastern’s first empty-net goal of the season. The gimmie goal was MacLeod’s seventh tally of the year.

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 19.

MacLeod: A Man Possessed

Wade MacLeod, last season’ points leader, is currently working on a career-best six-game point streak. The Coquitlam, B.C. native started off his scoring stretch with a two-point performance against Dartmouth and hasn’t stopped since. Over the last six contests, MacLeod has gathered eight points, including four goals and four assists. If MacLeod were to registered a goal or assist against Providence, the third-year forward would match Kyle Kraemer’s recent streak of seven games; the longest of any current Husky. 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).

Captain Coming Through

Northeastern’s captain, junior Tyler McNeely, scored the Huskies’ lone goal in a 4-1 loss to UMass on Jan. 10, marking his fourth point in the last two games. 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 (6-8-14).

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 121 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 Garrett Vermeersch and Jake Newton have transitioned nicely into the collegiate ranks as Vermeersch and Newton rank third and fourth, respectively, amongst rookies in Hockey East with 0.70 and 0.62 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. Vermeersch is 22nd in the country amongst all rookie scorers while Newton is in 27th.

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