Tag Archives: Garrett Vermeersch

Willett Selected by Lincoln in the USHL Futures Draft.

May 1, 2012

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Northeastern recruit Daniel Willett was selected by the Lincoln Stars in the second round of the 2012 USHL Futures Draft tonight.  He was the 17th overall pick.

Willett, a ’96, is a defenseman from Bayville, NY.  He committed to Northeastern back in September 2011.  He spent last year with the New Jersey Rockets playing for their MJHL team (23 games).   He was called up to their AJHL team for 3 games.  He was recently picked by the Plymouth Whalers in the OHL Draft last month after a good performance in the OHL Cup.

Willett is expected to come to Northeastern in the fall of 2014, but if he chooses to sign for Plymouth, he would be ineligible to play NCAA hockey.  Being picked in the Futures Draft means that Willett will be on the Stars’ Affiliate List for next season.

Northeastern recruit Dylan McLaughlin was selected by the Sioux Falls Stampede in the first round last year, and he appeared in 48 out of 60 games for them.  That kind of playing time is far from a guarantee, though.   Northeastern recruit Garett Cockerill was the second overall pick in the 2010 Futures Draft, but he played in just 2 games for the Muskegeon Lumberjacks in the 2010/2011 season.  He was traded to Des Moines in February 2011, but did not play a single USHL game for either team in the 2011/2012 season.  He did however play 2 games with the U-17 USNDTP.

The Lincoln Stars are no strangers to Northeastern.   Colton Saucerman will come to Northeastern next season from Lincoln.  Current Huskies Garrett Vermeersch and Ben Oskroba also played for Lincoln before coming to NU, as did Jake Newton who played 1 season with NU before signing with Anaheim.  Zach Aston-Reese, a 2013 Northeastern recruit, also plays for the Lincoln Stars.

Being picked in the Futures Draft is a good sign, but it will be up to Willett to work himself into the lineup. Still, it is a positive sign for Northeastern as it may help keep him from the OHL and help retain his NCAA eligibility.

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The New Era of Northeastern Hockey

April 2, 2012

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When Greg Cronin left last summer, he left behind a program that was trending upwards.  The team was coming off a strong second half that included a huge playoff victory at BU.  The overtime loss in the Beanpot and the 1 goal loss in the Hockey East Semifinals, both to BC, were tough to swallow, but it was hard not to be proud of the team for really turning it around after a rough start.

Fueling the optimism was the fact that the recruiting class coming in was considered to be Cronin’s best yet.  Despite losing the top scorers to graduation and early departures, people were definitely excited about this team and the future of Northeastern hockey.

When Cronin left, that optimism took a hit.  No matter who they brought in, the new coach was going to have to steady the ship and keep all of the recruits on board before anything else. Unless they hired from within (Sebastien LaPlante), that was always going to be a tough task.  Even with LaPlante, they likely would have lost one or two.  But overall, it seemed like the next coach that came in would have a solid base and they would pick up where Cronin had left off.

When Jim Madigan was hired, he decided not to take that course. He chose to blow up the foundation Cronin built and start down his own path.   Most of the time when a new coach comes in, they do clear out memories of the old regime and craft the team into their own model.  Madigan’s supporters this year have been quick to point out that Cronin did the same thing when he came in.  To be fair though, the situation Cronin walked into was a far cry from the one Madigan did.  Unlike when Cronin came in, Madigan had plenty of talent to work with.  Still, he decided that he was better off doing things his way and getting his guys in.

Was this the right move by Madigan? We can’t say.  Not now at least.  If Madigan brings in his guys and can get a Beanpot or an NCAA tournament win, I don’t think anybody is going to still be upset about missing the playoffs this year.  But if Madigan’s plan can’t take the program to new heights, then it will probably feel like he did waste what Cronin left here.

Either way, its too early to tell if this the right course of action or not.  But its the course Northeastern is on.  For the second year in a row, its been a difficult summer for Northeastern and when the team takes the ice next season, it will be one major step closer to a Madigan-designed team.  “Cronin’s guys” have been heading for the exits: some by their own will (Bitetto), some because they had no reason to stay (Dongara).  There will be more departures before this summer is over.  Besides Chris Rawlings, Luke Eibler will probably be the biggest reminder of Cronin next year.  Look at the likely Top 6 forwards

1. Ludwig Karlsson (never played for Cronin)

2. Vinny Saponari (never played for Cronin)

3. Braden Pimm (3rd/4th liner under Cronin)

4. Garrett Vermeersch (Member of Cronin’s Doghouse.  4th liner in Cronin’s last season)

5. Cody Ferriero (President of Cronin’s Doghouse.  Suspended once, benched multiple times in just 1 year under Cronin)

6. Adam Reid or Joe Manno (never played for Cronin, Manno committed to Madigan)

Defense isn’t much better.  Just Drew Ellement and Luke Eibler will have played under Cronin.  And of course, Madigan has gotten commitments from his own recruits and let some of Cronin’s go (McKee, Renz).

Its a bit shocking when you look at it.  Obviously Madigan was going to mold the program in a way that suited him, but it is surprising just how quickly he has cleared out Cronin’s guys.  And for fans who watched Cronin turn this program around, that can be a little hard to swallow.  All will be forgiven if Madigan can win, but right now it feels like Northeastern hockey is back to square 1 and it might take a few years for this plan to get going.

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Final: Huskies 4, Maine 2

February 25, 2012

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With their backs to the wall, Northeastern pulled out a huge victory last night over Maine, 4-2

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Garrett Vermeersch, Justin Daniels, Vinny Saponari and Adam Reid had goals for Northeastern.
  • Anthony Bitetto, Joseph Manno and Justin Daniels had 2 points.  Steve Quailer and Luke Eibler also had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings made 29 saves and didn’t allow any soft goals.
  • The Huskies were outshot 31 to 28.
  • NU 2-5 on the PP.  Maine was 0-2, but got 1 shorthanded goal.
  • Mike McLaughlin and Alex Tuckerman both sustained concussions.
What You Need to Know
  • The Huskies came to play right from the get go.   And Garrett Vermeersch scored on their first PP of the game to give them an early lead.
  • The second period got off to a bad start.  Maine grabbed a goal 15 seconds in to tie it.
  • Then the Huskies reverted to their old habits when Maine gave them a 5 minute major.  NU couldn’t get the puck of their own zone and Maine scored eventually to take the lead.  NU looked to have tied it, but after a lengthy review, it was ruled McLaughlin kicked the puck in.
  • Justin Daniels, who picked up 3 points, tied it up for a real a minute later on a tough angle shot.   
  • The game looked destined for OT until Joe Manno found himself on a breakaway.  His attempt was saved, but Adam Reid was there to put home the rebound with just 1 minute left.
  • The Huskies then sealed the deal with an empty netter.  Steve Quailer broke in, but then in an unselfish move, passed it to Vinny Saponari.
Lines:
Karlsson-McLaughlin-Saponari
Quailer-Vermeersch-Pimm
Reid-Daniels-Tuckerman
Manno-Stone-Morra
 
D:
Bitetto-Manson
Eibler-Cornell
Ellement-Daniels
 
 
Thoughts
What a game and what a win.  With Steve Quailer back in the lineup, the Huskies actually came to play.   Every line had some chances and the Huskies actually looked like a team that wanted to be there for the first time in a while.
 
Chris Rawlings finally played like a guy who plans on being a pro.  He was moving well and made some big saves.   But most importantly, he didn’t let in any soft goals.  The defense helped him out by limiting chances for the Black Bears.
 
It looked like another game that NU was going to blow after wasting multiple PP chances late in the game, but they pulled it out.
 
Manno may not be able to score, but he just keeps getting breakaways.  And Adam Reid always seems to be in the right place and the right time.  Just a great sequence of events to get the game winner.  Both of these freshman are going to play a huge role next season.  
 
I was ready to write this team off, but this was very encouraging.  In a must win game, they came to play.  And they came back from a deficit for once.  It was an impressive win and it gives the team and the fans some hope that playoffs may be in sight.  
 
 
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Final: Huskies 2, Providence 2

February 19, 2012

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Yet again, Northeastern skated to a tie last night against Providence.  This one finished 2-2.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Alex Tuckerman and Adam Reid had goals for Northeastern.
  • Mike McLaughlin, Drew Daniels, Garrett Vermeersch, and Drew Ellement all had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings made 47 saves, a career high.  But the two goals he let in will be what this game is remembered for.
  • The Huskies were outshoot 49 to 35.
  • NU 1-6 on the PP.  PC was 1-7, both teams had 5 minute majors.
  • Robbie Vrolyk was injured late in the first and did not return.
What You Need to Know
  • Northeastern took an early lead, but couldn’t hold on for long.
  • With the game tied at 1, Ben Oskroba was sent off for a 5 minute major.   NU did a great job killing the penalty, but they allowed a goal when Kevin Hart shot a puck in from the neutral zone and Rawlings deflected it top shelf.   I know I have said this a few times this season, but this was without a doubt the softest goal Rawlings has given up.  Especially when you consider it was probably going wide of the net before he touched it.
  • Adam Reid tied it up on a great move when Vermeersch sprung him on a partial breakaway.
  • Speaking of breakaways, Joe Manno had 3.  The first two he shot way over the net and the third Beaudry was not fooled on.   Manno was really flying last night, but his missed chances proved costly
  • More missed chances: NU had a PP late in the third and early in OT.  They managed just 1 shot between the 2.
  • 1 Shoe OT is still undefeated.
Lines:
Karlsson-Daniels-Saponari
Reid-Vermeersch-Pimm
Manno-McLaughlin-Tuckerman
Stone-Morra
D:
Bitetto-Manson
Eibler-Oskroba
Ellement-Daniels
Cornell
Thoughts
Robbie Vrolyk did not return to the lineup on Saturday after leaving Friday, but even that couldn’t get former fan favorite Rob Dongara back in the lineup.   Madigan went with 11 forwards and 7 D and it actually paid off.  Dan Cornell left the game in the first to get stitches, then Ben Oskroba was tossed for contact to the head.   Cornell eventually returned and the Huskies finished with 6 defenseman.
Once again, offense was an issue for the Huskies.   Since Ferriero and Qualier got hurt, the Huskies have scored just 11 goals in 6 games. Pathetic.  If Robbie Vrolyk is out for an extended period of time, the Huskies may not score another goal all season.   Pimm has been working hard since losing his linemates, but it just hasn’t been working for him.  Karlsson has been skating well, but just can’t find the net.   And where is the Vinny Saponari that scored goals for BU as a freshman?  Its not like he isn’t playing with quality guys.   Manno and Reid looked good though.  Unfortunately Manno couldn’t finish the way Reid did or else it might have been a different result.
Going into this weekend, everyone knew they needed 4.   They got 2 and UMass matched them.  So they have made it very difficult on themselves.   They do have 3 out of their last 4 games at home, but picking up points against Maine and BU is going to a very big ask.
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Final: Huskies 1, Providence 1

February 18, 2012

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Northeastern skated to a 1-1 tie last night against Providence in what might have been the most boring game of all time.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

 

The Basics

  • Garrett Vermeersch scored the lone goal for the Huskies
  • Josh Manson and Adam Reid picked up assists on that goal.
  • Chris Rawlings saved 22 out of 23 shots, after allowing a terrible goal on the first shot of the game.
  • NU had 21 shots to PC’s 23.
  • Both teams were 0-4 on the PP.
  • Robbie Vrolyk was injured late in the first and did not return.
What You Need to Know
  • PC scored on a shot from the corner 30 seconds in and it looked liked the same old story for Northeastern.
  • But for once the Huskies didn’t fold up after a soft goal and Vermeersch tied it up 5 minutes later.
  • Then everyone fell asleep and when we woke up the game was over, still tied at 1.
  • 1 Shot OT is still undefeated.
Lines:
Karlsson-Daniels-Saponari
Reid-Vermeersch-Pimm
Vrolyk-McLaughlin-Tuckerman
Manno-Stone-Morra
D:
Bitetto-Manson
Eibler-Oskroba
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
The Huskies were the better team for most of regulation, but that isn’t saying much because PC was pretty bad.  Their gameplan was a smart one: shoot pucks from weird angles and try to get some cheap goals off Rawlings.   Northeastern figured it out pretty quickly and after that PC had almost no chances.
On the other hand, Northeastern was doing an ok job of getting the puck in the zone but as usual no one wanted to shoot.  So instead of challenging Beaudry to make a save, they just pass it back to the point.  The defenseman make the forwards look trigger happy.  They just wait and wait and wait until an opponent comes to them.  When that finally happens, they fire a shot right into their legs.  Absolutely brutal.   If the Huskies had just taken a few more shots, they probably would have won last night.  But I suppose that has been true for more than a few of their losses.
But then came overtime where the wheels just fell off.  The Huskies didn’t manage a shot on net in the 5 minutes, but they almost gave the game away plenty of times.   Rawlings came up with a couple big saves, but also had some shaky moments, including one with about 30 seconds left where the puck trickled through his legs and went just outside the post.   It seemed like Northeastern was just daring PC to score on them with countless neutral zone turnovers and when that didn’t work, Alex Tuckerman decided to up the ante and do it in his own zone.  Somehow they survived with the point.
Power Play was beyond brutal.  Again.   Just unacceptable, but its not going to change.    Justin Daniels actually played pretty well on the first line.   And Josh Manson saw more ice time than he has seen all season and he handled it pretty well.   He is still getting a bit risky when he tries to rush the puck, but he was impressive last night.  Ludwig Karlsson also looked good after being a bit quiet lately.
With other results going NU’s way, the point was big, but they will need 2 more tonight to make it a good weekend and keep themselves in the playoff hunt.
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Huskies By the Numbers

February 16, 2012

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With the season heading towards the finish, lets take a look at which players have improved (or regressed) statistically.

 

Braden Pimm, F, (So.), 26 GP, 9-10-19, +11 (2010: 6-3-9)

Pimm has already doubled his point total from freshman year and he has gone from a -3 to a +11.  With the entire first line graduating last year, there was a need for someone to step up and Pimm has answered that call.   Despite coming in with good junior numbers, Pimm was more of a grinder last year.  This year he has been getting top 6 minutes and has been one of the best players on the team.   He hasn’t been on the scoresheet much since his two linemates got hurt, but you can;t blame that on lack of effort.  He has been one of the few that has looked interest of late.

Steve Quailer, F (Jr.): 22 GP, 8-14-22, +11 (2010: 3-10-13, 2008: 10-15-25)

Quailer was on his way to surpassing the lofty highs he sat in his freshman season before an injury sidelined him in recent weeks.   But he is rumored to be returning this weekend and with 6 games left, he has a good chance of setting career highs in goals, assists, and points.   Husky fans were expecting big things from Quailer after the amazing freshman year he had.  But a knee injury ended his ’09 season before it started and it clearly slowed him down in ’10.   But this season has been a return to form for the Montreal prospect.  The question now is how effective can he be when he returns?  Especially without his linemate Cody Ferriero.  Either way, Quailer has already made a huge improvement on last season.

Garrett Vermeersch, F (Jr.): 28 GP 6-12-18, -7 (2010: 5-6-11, 2009: 5-18-23)

Vermeersch has been a revelation this year.  After a great freshman year, he was non-existent in his sophomore campaign.  As a freshman, he had the benefit of playing with Steve Silva and Wade MacLeod, but he suffered without them and found himself on the 4th line by the end of last year.   This year he has benefitted from playing with Ludwig Karlsson and Vinny Saponari, but you could also say those guys have beneffited from playing with him.   Vermeersch has been a playmaker this season and his stats show that.  The only downside is that “Mr. Minus” has lived up to his name, but his -7 would still be a career best.

Cody Ferriero, F (S0.): 17 GP, 9-6-15, +11 (2010: 4-3-7)

After a tumultuous beginning to his NU career, Ferriero had become an offensive force for the Huskies despite being in and out of the lineup due to two separate suspensions.    He doubled last year’s points total in just half the games, but now an ACL injury has ended his season early.  Unfortunately, he will probably miss part of next season as well.  As we saw with Quailer, it might take some time to get back to full speed, which is unfortunate because Ferriero was really beginning to fulfill his potential.

Drew Ellement, D (Jr.) : 28 GP, 2-6-8, +6   (2010: 0-4-4, 2009: 0-7-7)

Ellement has been good this year.  He scored his first career goal and he has already achieved a career high in points.  He also has a positive +/- for the first time in his career.  He is one of just 5 Huskies to appear in every game.

Anthony Bitetto, D (So.): 28 GP, 4-7-11, +5 (2010: 3-17-20)

Like Ellement, Bitetto’s offensive numbers are nothing to write home about.  He probably won’t match his point total from last season.  But Bitetto has limited his penalties minutes (66 last year, 24 this year) and he sits at +5 after being a -2 last season.  And he has done this while playing with a freshman defenseman as a partner.   He has played in every game since arriving on campus.

Luke Eibler, D, (So.):  27 GP, 1-5-6, +10 (2010: 3-10-13)

With the Huskies scoring less, their D-man have seen a drop in their assist totals.  One thing that hasn’t dropped is Eibler’s +10 rating.  After managing an impressive +12 last year, Eibler has continued to perform despite having his partnership with Bitetto split up.  And like Bitetto, Eibler has been charged with bringing along a freshman defenseman.  Now if he could just get those penalty minutes down a bit (52 last year, 46 this year)…

Robbie Vrolyk, F (Jr.): 24 GP, 5-3-8, -2 (2010: 1-1-2, 2009: 6-5-11)

In his previous 1.5 seasons, Vrolyk has been a lower line guy who gets some time on the PK.  He still is that guy, but he has begun to turn his speed into points this season.  He is on a nice hot streak now, but he has yet to do it over an extended stretch.  But if he can keep the streak going, he can set a career high in everything this season.

Mike McLaughlin, F (Sr.): 23 GP, 5-9-14, -1 (2010: 11-4-15, 2009: 1-4-5, 2008: 6-5-11)

McLaughlin, the lone senior on the team, has an interesting career.  He followed up a promising freshman season with a disappointing sophomore one.  Last year, he came out of nowhere to grab 11 goals.   This year he has fallen back to what his true fit probably is: a 3rd line guy who works hard and makes other people look good.   He has been an asset on the PK and on faceoffs, and his line has been playing really strong since Winter Break.  His stats may be down, but his contribution to the team is certainly not.

Justin Daniels, F (Jr.): 27 GP, 6-8-14, 0 (2010: 0-6-6, 2009: 8-7-15)

After not scoring a single goal last season, Daniels looked like a new man early on with 2 goals in the first game.   Its been all downhill from there.  Yes, he has improved statistically, but he has made a steady decline down the line chart and even found himself in the stands one game.   For some reason, he is still on the PP unit which has accounted for 5 of his points.  That will probably enable him to surpass his freshman year totals, but he has not produced like he was expected to.

Drew Daniels, D (Jr.): 28 GP, 0-5-5, -3 (2010: 3-6-9, 2009: 4-4-8)

After putting up scoring lines like a defenseman, the coaches decided to just make him one.  And that hasn’t really affected his scoring in anyway.  Like his twin brother, he has just not produced in any of his 3 seasons here.

Alex Tuckerman, F (Jr.): 27 GP, 3-6-9, +5 (2009: 5-7-12, 2008: 8-14-22)

Tuckerman had a great freshman season playing along side another talented freshman named Steve Quailer.   Tuck looked lost without him in 2009 as he underwent to the classic Sophomore Slump that was all but a given on Greg Cronin’s teams.  After missing all of last season with an injury, Tuckerman hasn’t recovered the form he had freshman year.   He has had his moments this year, but overall it hasn’t been a good season from him.

Rob Dongara, F (So.): 12 GP, 1-1-2, -2 (2010: 6-8-14)

The “DongHouse” remains and  now Dongara has a great view of it from the rafters.  After bringing some excitement last season, Dongara became a fan favorite and even earned himself a spot on Sportscenter’s Top 10 with his Beanpot goal.   This year has been terrible for him.  After a slow start, he found himself out of the lineup.  He has been given a few chances to get himself back in, but he has not taken advantage.  His shenanigans at the Beanpot will probably keep him out of the lineup for the rest of the season, barring like 4 forwards getting hurt.


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Beanpot Preview: Huskies vs Boston College

February 6, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Tonight Northeastern enters a tournament that they haven’t won in 23 years against a team who they have beaten just once in their last nine meetings.  And they do it without 2 first line players.  Its easy to dismiss the Huskies Beanpot chances every year.  And for much of the season, thats what every NU fan does.  But for some reason, as the tournament gets closer, people begin to talk themselves into believing theres a chance.  And every time Lucy pulls the football away at the last minute.  This year is no different.  The Huskies find themselves in the familiar role of underdogs, but how can you not be excited for tonight?

In the 59 previous Beanpots, NU has finished last in almost half of them.    Their 29 fourth places finishes are the most by far.  There are 4 championships and 10 second place finishes are the least by far.  And they don’t have a winning record in the Beanpot against any of the other 3 teams.

So for all the magic and great moments the Beanpot has brought, NU’s involvement has been limited to disappointment on most occasions.  Its been 23 years since the Huskies last won the ‘Pot and there is no reason to believe that streak is ending this year.   NU coaches are 0-7 in their first Beanpot game.  Only 3 skaters that will dress tonight for NU have ever scored in the Beanpot (Rob Dongara, Luke Eibler, and Mike McLaughlin).    And they are playing a team that has already beat them 3 times this season.

If it seems like the odds are stacked against the Huskies, i’ts because they are.   With each passing year, the pressure only grows.  And since 1988, even the best Husky teams have found a way to come undone on a Monday night in February.

This will be the 9th meeting between BC and NU in the past two season, and every single one of those games has been decided by 1 goal, except for a 2-0 BC win where the 2nd goal was an empty netter.   In last year’s Beanpot, BC broke Northeastern’s heart in overtime with a thrilling 7-6 win.  A week later the two teams met again.  This time NU managed a 7-7 tie at Conte Forum, and then finally beat the Eagles the next night with a 2-1 win at Matthews.  The teams would meet at the Garden again in the Hockey East Semifinals.   Again BC came out on top with a 5-4 win.  The teams have met 3 times this season (in 3 different locations) and the Eagles have come out with a win all 3 times.   They won in OT at Matthews, scored a goal with 2.7 seconds left to win at Conte, then beat the Huskies again by 1 at Frozen Fenway.

When it comes to playing BC, Northeastern just can’t seem to get over the hump.  But on a positive note, the last time BC and NU met in the first round of the Beanpot, the Huskies cruised to a 6-1 win.

The Huskies will be without Cody Ferriero and Steve Quailer.  Quailer leads all active NU players with 4 Beanpot points (3 of which were vs BC).  The Huskies don’t have much Beanpot experience and they graduated a lot of Beanpot points this summer.  Garrett Vermeersch has 4 assists in 4 games.  Mike McLaughlin has 3 goals in 6 games. Rob Dongara has a goal and an assist in 2 games.  Those 3 are the only Huskies with more than 1 Beanpot point to their name.  This of course ignores Vinny Saponari, who played on the 2009 BU team that won the Beanpot over Brad Thiessen and Northeastern.  His experience will be key for the Huskies.

The Huskies need a hero.  Its time to bring the Beanpot back to Huntington Ave.  Beanpot history is full of improbable heroes and epic moments.   Northeastern will need some of that tonight.   On paper, the Huskies have no chance to win this thing.   And thats exactly why, as a Husky fan, you’ve got to have faith.  The Beanpot is always won by the best team.   Its won by the team who can just win on back to back Mondays.   Tonight’s game should be great, win or lose, but I think its about time that Northeastern wins this thing.

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