Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca
While Northeastern was out west doing the whole conference a huge favor, the rest of Hockey East stayed back east for some home and homes. The Huskies were named Team of the Week for the 2nd week in a row. They share the honor with PC this week. Chris Rawlings also picked up his 2nd Defensive Player of the Week award, but he too had to share it. PC’s Alex Beadury was named Co-Defensive Player. Maine’s Spencer Abbot was Player of the Week after a 5 goal weekend. Lowell’s Terrance Wallin was named Rookie of the Week. Northeastern also had Cody Ferriero and Braden Pimm named as Top Performers.
- Merrimack’s bubble finally burst after PC took them to Sweep City. Saturday night’s 6-1 loss at home also featured over 70 penalty minutes, and even an ejection for Merrimack coach, Mark Dennehy. Not sure what he did, but I doubt it was as awesome as Cronin throwing all the sticks on the ice during the Beanpot one year. Also, we heard from more than a few people that our good friend Kyle Bigos was yet again gooning it up. I know everyone’s supposed to feel good for Merrimack but I, for one, do not. And I enjoy seeing them lose.
- The real feel good story is Lowell. The River Hawks picked up a sweep thisweekend against UNH. Lowell now sits in 4th place despite playing a somewhat difficult schedule. Winning at Lake Whitt is no easy task and it looks like Lowell is a contender this year. They visit Matthews this Saturday. UNH, on the other hand, is having a brutal season so far. Its not looking good for them.
- The final sweep of the weekend was Maine over Vermont despite being on the road both nights. Its early, but Vermont is pretty much dead and buried. They do not look likely to get out of last place at any point this season.
- BC and BU split a series this. From the sounds of it, there was a ton of penalties (and BC diving if you ask Jack Parker), great goaltending, and absurd amount of shots for the Eagles. But each team gets 2 points and they are done with each other for the season barring a Beanpot or Hockey East tournament matchup.
- The big news out of BC’s weekend is that freshman Bran Billett has earned himself some more playing time. Jerry York announced that Parker Milner was no longer the unquestioned starter and that the hot goalie will play from now on. Tough break for Milner who had to wait behind Muse for this chance. But its tough to feel bad for a white kid named Parker who goes by LilMilzy on Twitter.
- And last but not least (thanks to Vermont), UMass Amherst tied Harvard. When a tie vs Harvard at home is a step in the right direction, its been a bad season. UMass hasn’t looked much better than they were last year and they will need to improve if they want to make the playoffs.
Lots of midweek action lately in Hockey East and this week is no different. PC heads up to Newton for a Tuesday game. On Wednesday, Merrimack hosts Vermont, while UMass Amherst has another ECAC matchup, this time with Yale. And then on Thursday BU travels to the Whittemore Center to face UNH.
The Huskies lost in OT on Saturday 3-2 to the Merrimack Warriors at Matthews. The loss means NU will finish the season 0-2-1 against Merrimack.
Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca
- Mike McLaughlin and Robby Dongara picked up goals for the Huskies.
- McLauglin, Joe Manno, and Drew Daniels each had an assist.
- Chris Rawlings saved 28 out of 31 shots.
- The Huskies were 0-7 on the PP, including a 5 minute major at the end of regulation. They also gave up a game winning, shorthanded goal in OT. Merrimack was 2-5 on the PP.
- The Huskies were outshot 31-19. They managed just 5 shots in the 3 period and OT to Merrimack’s 12.
What You Need to Know
- The Huskies jumped out to an early 2 goal lead but were unable to hold it.
- Both goals were scored by the 3rd line of Rob Dongara, Mike McLaughlin, and Joe Manno. The Huskies have had trouble finding consistent lines, but they may be getting close.
- Josh Manson was ejected early for a hit from behind in one of many questionable calls on the night. Late in the 3rd, a Merrimack player was ejected in similarly questionable situation.
- Kyle Bigos was gooning it up all night. Ryan Flanigan, who scored the game winner, was also a disgrace. He dove and faked injuries every chance he got. At the end of regulation, he put Mike McLaughlin in a head lock. McLaughlin threw him off, at which point Flanigan rolled around on the ice and begged for a call.
- The Huskies played much of the 2nd and 3rd with just 4 defenseman. Manson was kicked out early and Anthony Bitetto got hurt and had to go to the locker room for a while. He returned midway through the 3rd.
- The Huskies PP was again dreadful. Despite blowing the 2 goal lead, they were given a chance to a win with a 5 minute major PP for at the end of regulation. They were unsuccessful.
- Merrimack picked up another penalty with1 second left in regulation. So NU began No Tee OT on the Power Play.
- Not only did they not score, they also gave up the game winning goal during it. An OT loss on a shorthanded goal. Rough.
- No Tee OT failed yet again, leading some to call for its removal.
Another blown lead. Another game of missed opportunities. Another home loss. This formula is nothing new to you if you have followed the Huskies fro any amount of time, but it hurts all the same.
This loss can and should be blamed on 1 thing: the Power Play. Another 0 for. 7 straight minutes on the Power Play to end regulation and start OT is about the best case scenario you could ever ask for. The Huskies not only failed to convert, but allowed a shorthanded goal for Merrimack. Its just unacceptable. It never worked under Croninn and its looked equally as bad under Madigan. Its time for a new system. Merrimack played really stupid hockey last night. And despite giving NU 7 power plays, including an extended 5 on 3, the Huskies failed to punish them and ultimately lost because it. NU is a good team, they out played Merrimack for much of the weekend. But instead of coming out with 4 points, which they should have, they finish with just 1. And failing to convert countless PP chances is the reason why. It hurts to say this, but NU sucks on the PP.
Now onto the positives. The third line scored both goals. And they were both great goals. This line is quick and they used it to get 2 odd man rushes, which were both finished beautiful. Manno’s pass to McLaughlin was just as nice as the Captain’s finish. The next one was McLaughlin setting up Dong and then Dong pulling one of my favorite moves. With the goalie coming across with the pass, Dong could have stopped and tried to just get one a time flick before Cannata got over. Instead he just kept skating full speed right to the spot Cannata had just left and slid it into the empty net. It was a great goal. The shorthanded defense also deserves a shout out: Luke Eibler, Dan Cornell and Drew x2 all had to step up and play serious minutes. And they handled it very well. None of Merrimacks goals came even strength.
One last thing: the refs were awful. Kicking Josh Manson out was a ridiculous call. And it forced them to make an equally ridiculously call on Merrimack to make up for it. There was also no desire to call anything after the whistle. It was a chippy game and they were plenty of scrums after whistles. There were more than a few occasions where players got away with cross checks or two handed shoves right in front of officials.
So its yet another disappointing weekend for the Huskies despite some moments of quality. And they find themselves still buried deep in the standings with another tough weekened ahead. This team will get the wins, but the question of when still remains.
Tonight at Matthews, the Huskies take on Merrimack for the final time this season. The Huskies tied the Warriors last night in an exciting contest.
Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca
This matchup has turned into a bit of rivalry over the past couple years. Last year at Matthews, Merrimack beat NU 4-3 in OT courtesy of Joe Cucci’s hat-trick. Cucci played at NU for a year before transferring to Merrimack. That game saw 4 ejections: NU had Anthony Bitetto and Tyler McNeely tossed and Merrimack had Stephanie Da Costa and Jordan Heywood tossed. Cucci has graduated but the animosity has lived on. The Merrimack players skated off the ice holding up the MC on their jerseys for the DogHouse to see after that game. One season of success has turned Hockey East’s perennial doormat into a one cocky bunch.
It got chippy last night and there were a lot of penalties. Merrimack Goon Kyle Bigos was well, being a goon. While his teammate lay injured in the corner, Bigos skated up to Anthony Bitetto and through a serious of hand gestures told him basically suck his you know what. i think just about everyone in the rink saw it. All of the parents that gave the DogHouse dirty looks after our “S-E-X” chant, really didnt seem to mind this gesture.
Anthony Bitteto is a bad man. The chances of him absolutely destroying the first poor soul from Merrimack who skates with his head down are pretty high. This game is going to be physical and its probably going to get out of control. But if the Huskies play like they did last night, they will get 2 much needed points and they will ruin Merrimack’s undefeated record.
Bitteto, Vinny Saponari, and Robby Dongara, among others have tweeted that they need the full supoort of the DogHouse tonight. This is big game for the Huskies and its going to be a good one. You don’t want to miss it.
The Huskies tied the Merrimack Warriors, 1-1 at a “sold out” Lawler Arena last night.
Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca
- Justin Daniels kept up his hot start and scored his 5th goal of the season
- Vinny Saponari (6) and Steve Quailer (3) picked up the assists.
- Chris Rawlings saved 34 out of 35 shots.
- The Huskies were 0-4 on the PP, but they held Merrimack’s PP scoreless for the first time all season, killing off all 7 chances, including a 5 minute minor major.
- The Huskies were outshot 35-31, but it didn’t seem like Merrimack had a ton of quality shots.
What You Need to Know
- The Huskies looked great last night.
- They were full of energy from the start.
- Garrett Vermeersch had the first chance when he made a nice move to get a 1 0n 1 with Cannata , but he was denied by the post.
- Adam Reid was a ejected for a blow to the head…on a guy 6 inches taller than him. Madigan was not pleased with the call.
- The Huskies killed off the 5 minute major, but couldn’t capitalize on the momentum.
- Merrimack scored late in the 2nd on one of the few defensive mistakes the Huskies made all night.
- Justin Daniels tied it up right at the start of the third.
- No Tee OT was unsuccessful again.
It was a great performance to watch for the Huskies and it was a big point. The Huskies were the better team last night and if it werent for Cannata, they would have easily won. Chris Rawlings played well on the other end though and that was able to keep the Huskies playing with confidence.
Defensively, they did a much better job cclogging the slot and clearing out rebounds. The chances Merrimack got last night, were a much lower quality than the ones they were getting two weeks ago and that made the difference. I thought the Drews (Daniels and Ellement) had a great game. They have both struggled this season, but they looked a lot better last night, Hopefully they can back to last year’s form. And the other defenseman who continues to impress is Dan Cornell. He wasn’t expected to be a factor for this team, but he was given a chance and he has taken it. Playing with Anthony Bitetto is a huge help I’m sure, but Cornell has been great. He doesn’t try to do too much and he gets better every game.
Offensively, it was a good performance. They only got 1 goal, but they had some great chances and forced Cannata into some timely saves. The first line as always was awesome. And as always Ludwig Karlsson was just a beast. When he gets the puck, everyone knows he is going to make something happen. He is a very smooth skater and he makes great plays look effortless. One other forward that impressed me was Garrett Vermeersch. He has come under a lot of fire on the message boards for being selfish and not defensively responsible. He played well last night. In addition to his post we already discussed, he made a great pass to set up a wide open Alex Tuckerman who inexplicably deflected the puck wide from inside the crease. So while he wont show up on the stat sheet, it was a solid effort from Vermy and hopefully he can build on it.
The PK was awesome. Killing the 5 minute major was huge. Mike McLaughlin had a huge blocked shot. Typical hard work from the Captain. Holding Merrimack to 0-7 is a HUGE accomplishment. The Power Play was lacking, as usual. But at least they were getting in the zone and getting set up.
It was a good point for the Huskies. They would have liked, and probably deserved 2, but 1 will work. They return home tonight to face the same Warrior team in a game that has the potential to get very chippy. Kyle Bigos is a goon and someone needs to give him a good shot or 10.