Final: Huskies 3, UMass 3

October 8, 2011

Hockey East, Recap

The Huskies opened their season with a 3-3 tie last night.    You can hear Coach Madigan and Braden Pimm’s thoughts here.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • The Huskies got 2 goals from Justin Daniels and 1 from Braden Pimm.
  • Vinny Saponari had 2 assists.   Drew Ellement, Garrett Vermeersch, and Mike McLaughlin all had 1 assist.
  • Chris Rawlings made 36 saves on 39 shots.
  • Each team went 1-6 on the Power Play.
What You Need to Know
  • Braden Pimm tied the game at 3 with just 2 seconds left after a scrum in front of the net.  The goal capped off a frantic final 5 minutes where the Huskies really gave it everything they had to get back in the game and had countless chances.
  • The first UMass goal was rather soft and probably should have been saved by Rawlings.
  • Justin Daniels had an excellent game.  After not scoring at all last year, he got the first 2 goals of this season for NU.  The first one was just being in the right place and right time, but he kept his composure and finished it nicely.   The second one was set up by his great backhanded pass across the zone to Garrett Vermeersch.  Vermeersch fired a shot and Daniels poked in the rebound.  Daniels had one of his best games in a Husky uniform.
  • The Huskies had 7 penalties, though the embellishment call on Vinny Saponari was interesting to say the least.   They were lucky to kill off 5 of the 6 penalties.  They need to tighten up the discipline and the PK.
  • The 2nd period was awful.  Rawlings made some big saves to keep them in it, which set them up for the 3rd period where they took control of the game.
  • Both teams had chances in OT, but I think a tie is a fair result.    Neither team played as well as they would have hoped.
Thoughts
New coach, same Huskies.   For all the talk about the new mentality and all that, the Huskies didnt look very different.  We knew they would use the same system, so it wasnt surprising to see a lot of cycling and dumping and chasing.  And as usual it didn’t seem all that effective for large parts of the game.  The Power Play struggled, just like last year.   But I still don’t agree with the home fans getting on the players for a lack of shots.  Let them run the Power Play, they dont need their own fans pressuring them into making mistakes.  And again they took too many penalties.  But Coach Madigan didnt seem too worried about that in his post game comments.  He attributed it to early season nerves.  But the most troubling thing was the 2nd period.  Just like last season, the Huskies just seem to fall apart for 1 period a game.  Sometimes, like tonight, they can fight back, but against the better teams, thats not going to happen.   Getting this team to play a full 60 minutes should be a priority.
Now onto the good things.  Rob Dongara played outstanding.   Look no further than him to see how to play with energy.  He was hustling every time he was on the ice.  He is never afraid to play the body either.   He brings some much need energy to this team and he is a a pleasure to watch.   The Pimm-Daniels-Saponari line looked great.  They were moving the puck well all game.   Pimm set up the first goal and scored the third.  Daniels had 2 goals and Saponari had 2 assists.   We tipped them all to have big years before the game and last night only proved that they are more than capable of it.  Then there is Chris Rawlings.   He is frustrating.  He is a very good goalie statistically.  The problem is the goals he lets up are always on the weaker side.   But he recovered nicely tonight and kept them in the game for much of the 2nd and 3rd period.
Off the ice, it was good to see a packed Doghouse, but as always its going to take some time to get the freshman up to speed.  That, along with the drunk idiots losing interest, should help the overall atmosphere.    But overall it was solid, especially for the final minutes and in overtime.  Obviously it will take some time for the new leaders to try replace Tim Fouche, but I think they are off to a good start and they will continue the legacy.
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