Tag Archives: Jim Madigan

Next 3 Games Are Crucial for the Huskies

November 2, 2011

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1-4-1 is not a good record.   Especially when that is all conference games.  But its also not the time to panic. Yet.   The Huskies next three games are @Merrimack, vs Merrimack, @Boston College.   If Northeastern were to lose those 3 games they would be 1-7-1 and have just 3 points after completing a third of their conference games.  That’s obviously not good.  Especially since they would still have 3 games to play against BU and 2 against Maine.

Northeastern has played a very tough schedule.  And its about to get tougher before it gets easier.   And the fear is that by the time they get to the “easy” part (which isn’t all that easy), they could be digging out of a massive hole that has killed their confidence and fan support.   That is a very real, and scary, possibility.

The DogHouse is an important aspect to this team.   You can look at the players comments about it.   Or you can look at the lifeless displays they put up on the road without the DogHouse’s backing.  Its both a good and bad thing, but this team needs a full DogHouse.   Hopefully they get one against Merrimack, and hopefully they take advantage because time is starting to become an enemy for them.

Merrimack is 6-0 and they didn’t seem troubled by Northeastern the last time they met.   But Northeastern needs to find a way to get at least 1 win this weekend.  Its not going to be easy, especially with the way they have played.  So whats the problem?  Good question.  Lets start with everything.

39, 40, 27, 47, 43, 38.   Thats how many shots the Huskies have given up this season.  Guess which game they won? Yes, obviously it was the 27 shot game.  They blocked 30 shots in that game.  They were also outshot (27-21).   They have been outshot in every single game.  So while everyone can debate who should play in net (ourselves included), it doesn’t really matter because they are going to be fighting a losing battle.

The players all talked about how great the new coaching staff was.  We heard words like “refreshing”.  They were no longer “robots”.   But they still get badly outshot every night, just like they did under Cronin.  Coach Madigan has already said that you cant expect to win when you give up shots like that and he is right.   Now he has to find a way to fix it.

In addition to give up way too many chances, the Huskies aren’t exactly creating that many either. The Power Play has been beyond atrocious, as its been for years. Going 1-8 on the PP against BC isn’t making the most of your opportunities, which is what you have to do to win games against good teams. Besides the win, they have looked lethargic for long portions of the game. There are plenty of quality players on this team. There is no reason it should just be 2 lines getting time. Guys like Rob Dongara and Zak Stone may not be the most talented guys on the team, but you can’t argue that they give it their all on every shift. They can impact the game, given the chance. As Dong would say, let them eat.

Its not talent.  That is for sure.  But despite bringing in some pretty good recruiting classes, this team has continually failed to meet expectations. Its not surprising that a team with a whole new coaching staff and a decent amount of freshman is struggling. Unfortunately for them, the schedule is doing them no favors and it doesn’t really afford them any time to struggle. Last year’s start was dismal. But it was mostly non-conference. Struggling in the conference is another story. This season is looking like its going to be a long and difficult battle just to reach the playoffs.

Its not panic time yet. This team has had moments where its looked great. They just need to find a way to make those moments more frequent and more consistent. Give them time. They will get there. Its just a matter of time.

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Who Should Start Friday?

October 11, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Well that didn’t take long.   One weekend into the season and we already have a goalie controversy.  Its been brewing since last year, but after the exhibition game it looked like it might be put to rest for a little while.   But here we are one week later and its back on the table.

Chris Rawlings is the starter.  For now.  The 6’5 Junior from British Columbia has played in 66 games as a Huskies posting a 2.75 GAA and .917 Save Percentage, along with 8 shutouts.   There is no denying that he has put up great numbers in his 2+ years here.   But the goals he lets in are usually on the weaker side, which can affect a team mentally in ways that dont show statistically.   His size is also his best skill, which also has its downfalls.  But you can look no further than his shutout against BU in his freshman year to see that he is a great goalie.   He may never be Brad Theissen, but Rawlings is a great goalie.  Albeit, one that can frustrate fans and probably coaches.

Then there is his challenger, Clay Witt.  The 6’1 Sophomore from Florida became a fan-favorite…by not playing last year.  Like on any struggling team, the back-up goalie is everyone’s favorite player and the answer to all problems.   In limited action (Just 7 games,  3 starts), Witt has been great.  He has 1.86 GAA and .940 Save Percentage.  He reminds me of Tim Thomas a little bit, with the way he seems to just be all over the place and not so much worried with technique.   (Not saying he is as good, just similar playing styles).   As last year wore on, the calls for Witt increased.  After a 41 save effort against BU in the final week of the season, many hoped he would get a start in the playoff series.   He didn’t, but he did come on in relief of Rawlings in both the quarterfinal series and semifinal game.  There was a small faction who believed he should be the starter going into this year.   But that was never the plan and letting in 6 goals in 20 minutes during the exhibition killed any discussion.

But on Sunday, Witt replaced Rawlings midway through the 3rd and played well in the eyes of Coach Madigan.  The fact is Northeastern has 2 good goalies.  And Madigan planned to give Witt more time anyways.   Even though, the defense is probably more responsible for the 9 goals that have been given up over 2 games, a goalie switch for Friday is not out of the question.

I think Witt deserves a chance to start and maybe a goalie change can put some energy into the defense and get them going.  I also think its good to send the message to Rawlings that nothing is guaranteed and that both goalies are going to have to work hard for playing time.   That can only help their development.

So what say you Husky fans?  Who should get the call Friday?  Feel free to leave a comment and tell us the reasoning behind your vote.

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Final: Huskies 3, UMass 3

October 8, 2011

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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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Husky News 10/3

October 3, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Huskies lost to St. Francis 8-5 in an exhibition game on Sunday. The game was extremely chippy and featured a lot of power plays for both teams. The Huskies went 4-8 which is encouraging.

Coach Madigan was pleased with the display, but admitted there was some areas that needed improvement.

Rob Dongara, Justin Daniels (2), Garrett Vermeersch and Mike McLaughlin all had goals. Anthony Bitetto, Vermeersch, Braden Pimm, Daniels, and Luke Eibler all had multi-point games.

Each goaltender got one period. Chris Rawlings allowed 1 goal on 12 shots, Bryan Mountain allowed 1 goal on 7 shots, and Clay Witt allowed 6 goals on 14 shots, effectively ending any debate on who will be the starter this year (if there ever was one).

Steve Quailer and Cody Ferriero missed the exhibition game and will miss this weekends games due to suspension resulting from a violation of team rules that occurred last year. Coach Madigan has said that they have been practicing with the team and there have been no issues this year.  Ludwig Karlsson will sit out this weekend as well due to eligibility issues.

Drew Daniels, Steve Quailer and Anthony Bitetto will serve as Alternate Captains to senior Captain Mike McLaughlin this season.

Northeastern will be holding its first hockey FanFest this Wednesday at 6pm. It is free and it will feature a skills competition between the men and women’s teams. Both head coaches as well as some players are scheduled to speak. They will also be giving away free Doghouse Shirts.

Notre Dame (who the Huskies will play in South Bend this fall) looks set to join Hockey East for 2012.

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The Madigan Era Begins

October 1, 2011

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The Northeastern Huskies open up their 2011-2012 season with an exhibition game Sunday at 2pm, when they host the St. Francis X-Men.   Yes, the X-Men.     The Huskies will be eager to get back on the ice after an offseason that saw them lose their head coach, top 4 scorers and a couple of recruits.

But Jim Madigan has taken over and stopped the bleeding in terms of the recruits.   He takes over a team that has a lot of question marks, but also one that has the talent and potential to hold their own in a tough Hockey East.

Jamie Oleksiak, Randy Guzior, Brodie Reid, Tyler McNeely, Wade MacLeod, Steve Silva, and Mike Hewkin are gone.  Vinny Saponari, Adam Reid, Ben Oskroba, Joseph Manno, Josh Manson, Dan Cornell, and Ludwig Karlsson are in.

In the last two seasons, the Huskies have opened with an exhibition game against a Canadian team.  Both times they have lost someone to a season ending injury.  In 2009, it was Steve Quailer.  Last year, it was Alex Tuckerman.  They will be hoping to avoid that this season.

Another thing they will be hoping to avoid is the sophomore slump that seemed inevitable under Cronin.    The following are players from last years’ team that suffered drops in their second season.

Player Points as a FR Points as a SO Drop
G. Vermeersch 23 11 -12
A. Tuckerman 22 10 -10
J. Daniels 15 6 -9
M. McLaughlin 11 5 -6
T. McNeely 23 20 -3

Note: Quailer, Vrolyk both suffered drops, but missed time from injuries.    Silva and MacLeod had minor increases.

Players like Braden Pimm and Rob Dongara had big seasons for the Huskies last year and if they fall victim to a similar slump, the Huskies will be in big trouble.    Hopefully Madigan can get more out of them.

The lineup is probably going to look like this:

Pimm-JDaniels-Saponari

Dongara-McLaughlin-Vrolyk

Reid-Vermeersch-Tuckerman

Morra-Stone-Manno

Quailer-Karlsson-Ferriero

Bitetto-Eibler

Ellement-DDaniels

Oskroba-Manson

Hoeffler-Cornell

Rawlings

The Huskies only have 5 days to prepare for their season opener so this game will be a good indicator of how ready they are. Good luck to the Huskies and Jim Madigan in his debut.   And make sure you go and support the team with the DogHouse.

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