Tag Archives: Mike McLaughlin

Northeastern Misses the Playoffs, Who Should Take the Blame?

March 4, 2012

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Here is the deal: Northeastern should never be missing the Hockey East playoffs.  NU is in Boston, they play in a historic rink, with a brand new weight room.  They get to play in the Beanpot.  They have great student support. They offer good academics.  Hockey is the biggest sport on campus. And now with GONUxstream, you can watch all home games for free.  With all these assets, they should be an attractive option to both coaches and recruits.  And that should be turned into positive results on the ice.  Or at least the ability to finish in the top 8 of a 10 conference that features several teams that do not have these assets.

But in 2 out of the past 3 years, that has not happened.   And for some reason, most people seem OK with it.   I don’t care about how bad this team has been in the past.   Losing is unacceptable.  And people need to start acting like that.   So who is to blame for the failure?  Well a lot of different people, some more than others.  But here is a good start if you are looking to play the blame game.  (and you should be.   If you support Northeastern and you are OK with mediocrity, you are part of the problem)

The Players

The problems run deeper than just the players on the ice, but this is probably the best place to start.   Being bad is one thing.  Being talented and wasting it is an issue.   This team was very much the latter.   This team was talented enough to make the playoffs.  They showed that with wins over Notre Dame (x2), Michigan, Lowell, BU, and Minnesota.  But that effort was not brought on a consistent basis.  It was actually a rare occurrence.  There were far too many games that this team was outworked by an opponent who just wanted it more.   And when you miss the playoffs by 1 point, its hard to forget about all of the winnable games that were lost because of a lack of effort.    The way the team quit in the Beanpot was beyond embarrassing.  And if any fan stopped going to games after that, I would not blame them.  When a team plays like that, it doesn’t deserve support.   The worst part of the season may have been the final game.  With nothing to play for, the Huskies played their best game of the season.  They finally looked like they cared.   And they showed their potential.   To finish behind less talented teams, like Providence is just unacceptable.  (This cannot be applied to the few guys that absolutely worked their asses off every chance they got: Mike McLaughlin, Robbie Vrolyk, Zak Stone, and Steve Morra.   There were a few others, but these 4 guys didn’t take a single shift off all year, despite their teammates not returning the favor).

The Coaching Staff

No coaching staff will ever be perfect, but this group left a lot to be desired this season.  Early in the season, spreading out ice time was a huge issue and it took far too many 3rd period/OT collapses before Madigan decided to change it up.  Eventually they got the lines to click and got the ice time figured out and thats when the win streak happened.  By the end of the year, there were so many injuries that the lineup was going to a mess no matter what.  You can’t blame them for that.  But here is what you can blame them for: SPECIAL TEAMS.  Here are the facts.  The Huskies in even strength situations: +21.   The Huskies during Special Teams situations: -17, including scoring just 21 PP goals while giving up 11 shorthanded ones on their 153 power plays.   If you had to pick one single reason why the Huskies missed the playoffs, this would absolutely be it.   Northeastern’s complete and year-long failure on special teams, especially the power play made them a team that was fighting for a playoff spot instead of home ice.   It took the coaches over half the year to figure out the passive box wasn’t working on the PK.   And they never figured out how to fix the PP or even who to put on it.  The stats are bad enough but when you add in how demoralizingeffect  giving up a shorthanded goal had on the team  and their playeafter that, its just brutal.   How many times did the Huskies not convert on a PP late in the third in tied or 1 goal games?  A million?   Just unacceptable.  Even if you don’t have the pieces to have a great power play, you should at least figure out a way to stop the other team from scoring while you have the man advantage.  The one other thing you can blame the coaches for is their refusal to go with Witt.  They stuck with Rawlings through stretches where he clearly didn’t have it and Witt never got a chance.  So by the end of the season, it was either stick with a struggling Rawlings or go with the guy who had seen the ice 4 times all season.  There was no reason for them to be in that situation.  They should have known what they had in Witt.  He turned in a tremendous performance in the final game and with a little more ice time, the Huskies may have picked up that 1 point they needed.

Peter Roby

You’d think the Athletic Director would work hard to make sure the school’s biggest sport is successful, but Roby does just the opposite.   He suspended Greg Cronin during the crucial stretch of last season for sending too many texts to kids that had already committed.   Possibly the most minor violation possible.  One that probably happens all over college sports.  He made it impossible for Cronin to do his job, and basically forced him out.  Whether you liked Cronin or not, him leaving set the program back.  If Cronin stays, so does what would have been one of the best recruiting classes Northeastern ever had. (led by Johnny Gaudreau who has flourished at BC) And there is a chance Jamie Oleksiak would have stayed. Dan Cornell did a great job this season but the difference between him and Oleksiak is just enormous.  Roby knew what the repercussions were when he forced Cronin out, but he did it anyway because Cronin actually cared about winning games and clashed with Roby over it.  When Cronin left, Roby was forced to make the biggest hire of his tenure, he conducted a “national search” and wound up with the following 5 candidates: 1. Sebastian LaPlante 2. Jim Madigan 3. Darren Yopyk 4. Mark Carlson 5. Greg Carvel.  Um what? You are telling me a head coaching job in Boston at a Hockey East, Beanpot school could not appeal to anyone better than these 5?   And then he hires the one guy out of this group with no coaching experience, and in turn pissing LaPlante off so much that he leaves the program.  If he wanted an alum to run the program, why not LaPlante?  The guy who had been an assistant with the team.  And then just to make sure the hockey team could not be successful, he limited the amount of paid recruiting visits Madigan could go on and only allowed 1 scout on the road at a time.  The man hates hockey for whatever reason.  And his Tee-Ball coach attitude is what is holding Northeastern Athletics back.  Everyone gets to play and everyone gets trophy.   If Roby had it his way, we probably wouldn’t even keep score.

Northeastern Administration

Northeastern seems intent becoming one of the top schools in the country.   But somehow it has never occurred to them that Athletics can be a big part of that.   They allowed the AD to cut football, but they still have a hockey team that plays in the premier hockey conference and a basketball team that plays in one of the best mid-major conferences.  But does the school support them? Barely.  Do they use that as an advertising pitch? Of course not.  And do they make an effort to improve Athletics? Hell no.   If you want to be considered a top school, having a well-run, successful Athletics Department needs to be part of your focus.  So when it sucks and thats not an issue, heads need to roll.  Mediocrity is not OK, and lately NU hasn’t even achieved that.   Its time for that to change and its gotta start from the top.   Fire Roby and start supporting the teams and maybe we can finally have some quality teams and the fan support they deserve.

 

 

Simple Solution: Fire Roby, Make Madigan AD, Bring Cronin Back.

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Preview Huskies vs. #4 BU

March 2, 2012

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Here it is folks, your final weekend. The season is almost over, and Northeastern has the chance to split with BU and watch UMass get swept. This most likely means going into Chestnut Hill and being shown the door in two games, but we’re okay with that. We have real fans at Northeastern, who have realistic expectations, and act accordingly. Many people in college hockey have explained the scenarios ad nauseum. , but again when it comes down to brass tax, it means going all out in one game against BU. They’ll have one chance tonight at Agganis, and end the regular season at home just when the student body is going home for spring break.

BU continues to stymie the hockey world with its ability to either move on from its off the ice issues, or ignore them. They’ve lost  players Corey Trivino and Max Nicastro to dismissal for rape charges, and former first rounder Charlie Coyle to the QMJHL. BU really knows how to cut guys off and replace them as evidenced by no signs of stopping and going 10-5 in 2012. They’ve been just .500 in their past six games though, and can be beaten if a somewhat talented Northeastern team brings the energy. In order to do this, the Huskies need to look past their inconsistencies and play some confident hockey. Mike McLaughlin is the only player leaving due to graduation, so one can imagine that more players will return to Northeastern than others, right? Well if this is the case, they have a chance to set the pace for next year. And who knows, maybe things will work out this weekend. All they have to do is muster something up possibly without Vrolyk, McLaughlin, and Tuckerman, three guys who won’t exactly put the team over the top but are much better than their replacements. So here’s to another hopeful weekend, hoping Northeastern will prove this guy wrong.

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2012 Recruiting Class: Projecting Next Year’s Roster

February 23, 2012

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Incoming: 6

Jon Gillies, Goalie, Indiana Ice (USHL), 18 years old

Mike Gunn, Defenseman, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL), 20 years old

Colton Saucerman, Defenseman, Lincoln Stars (USHL), 20 years old

Cam Darcy, Forward, US National Team Development Program, 18 years old

Ryan Belonger, Forward, Youngstown Phantoms (USHL) , 20 years old

Michael McMurtry, Forward, Gloucester Rangers (CCHL), 20 years old

This class is not without its question marks.   Jon Gillies will be picked in the NHL Entry Draft this summer and Patrick Roy’s QMJHL team (Quebec Ramparts) owns Gillies rights.  The team that drafts him could try to push him down that road.  But really it all depends on Chris Rawlings.  If he leaves, Gillies will be here next year to take over.  If he stays, Gillies will probably go the MJ route and Northeastern will miss out on one of the best goaltenders in this group.  Colton Saucerman suffered a serious knee injury in December and he is out for the rest of the season.   I have no idea if he will be ready for the start of next season, but I would guess no.   Since he is already 20 years old, Saucerman will be here next season, but he may be redshirted.   Cam Darcy is also eligible for the NHL draft, but he is a local kid and since he will probably be a later rounder pick, there won’t be much pressure from an NHL team to go MJ.   Ryan Belonger will definitely be here along with Michael McMurtry, who was recently announced.  Belonger will be a lower line guy most likely, but he will be in the lineup.  McMurtry is by all indications a recruited walk-on.

Definitely Outgoing: 1

Mike McLaughlin, Graduation

The Captain is the lone senior on the team.   He will graduate in May and plans on attending Grad School.  McLaughlin has been named to the Hockey East All-Academic in all 3 of the previous seasons.

Possibly Outgoing:

Steve Quailer, Graduation

Alex Tuckerman, Graduation

Vinny Saponari, Jets

Anthony Bitetto, Predators

Ludwig Karlsson, Pros

Chris Rawlings, Pros

Luke Eibler, Pros

Braden Pimm, Pros

Joe Manno, Pros/MJ

All of these guys are not leaving, but its pretty likely that some of them will.  Thats just the way it goes in college hockey.  You could put almost the whole team on this list, but I would say these are the guys that are the most likely to either receive offers/consider offers.

Quailer and Tuckerman are an exception however.  Both have only used 3 years of eligibility due to missing a full season with an injury.  Both should be graduating this May, which leaves them with a decision.   They could stay and enroll in Grad School in order to play one more season or they could just get on with their careers.   Quailer is a Canadiens draft pick. And if the Canadiens do not sign him this summer, then they will lose his rights.   Quailer has been much better this season and the Canadiens are probably going to want him.  So while he is not officially gone, it seems like a near certainty.   Tuckerman, on the other hand, is not drafted by any NHL team.  If he leaves he will likely find himself playing in the ECHL, so there is a chance he stays and enrolls in Grad School.

Bitetto would be a Junior next year, but he could probably play in the AHL next year if he wants to. The soon to be 22 year old has had an up and down, but the Predators like him and he did attend their Rookie Development camp this past summer.  If he does go, lets hope he takes his buddy from Comm Ave, Garrett Noonan (also a Predators draft pick), with him.    Saponari is the other guy on the list that has already been drafted.   The Georgia native was drafted by his hometown Trashers, but they now moved to Winnipeg.  This is his first year at Northeastern after playing two at BU, but he is already 22, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he were to begin his pro career after this season.  That said, he may have unfinished business in the NCAA and he worked hard to return to Hockey East after getting kicked out of BU, so he may stay and finish his degree/eligibility.

The next group is a little different.  None of them were drafted but all could sign with any NHL team as a free agent if they want.  Rawlings, 23, seems most likely to leave.   There was been speculation after each of his first two season that he would leave and sign a pro deal, but each time he has returned.  The rumor mill suggests that he stayed this year since his girlfriend was still in school.  She is graduating this year and it seems like this is the year Rawlings finally makes the jump after attending multiple NHL summer training camps the past couple of season.  Next is Karlsson, who just turned 21.  The Swede has had a tremendous freshman season that will have likely earned some offers.  The situation will remind fans of Brodie Reid and Jake Newton, who both left after good freshman campaigns.   Karlsson has been much better than Reid was, and Reid’s stats were boosted by his great play on the PP unit.  Karlsson will get these offers, and since he is unlikely to stay 4 years and graduate at 25, he will be seriously considering those offers.  Eibler would be a 22 year old Junior next season.  The Capitals were interested in him last summer, but he decided to stay.   He has been a solid presence for Northeastern and I wouldn’t be shocked if he decides to leave.   I wouldn’t consider it very likely though.   Pimm would also be a Junior next season, and he is already 22.  He has been great so far this season and I am sure a few teams will be interested.  Pimm is a bit of a wild card on and off the ice, so there is no use in speculating what he may do.  But he will be given the chance to leave, if he is interested.

The last guy on the list is Joseph Manno.   Manno is draft eligible this summer.  He has had a quiet season, but he projects to be a late round pick this summer.  Depending on who drafts him and how he has enjoyed his first year of college, Manno could choose to return home to his native Canada to play Major Juniors.   After decommitting from UMass last summer, he went that route and he has many friends that play there.   NU fans will be hoping he stays though, as he has shown some potential this season and could be in line for Top 6 time next season.

2012 Projections

Theses are purely speculative.  Everything I know and have heard is written above.  These are just my guesses/gut feelings.

Goalies: Gillies, Witt, Mountain

Defenseman: Eibler-Manson, Ellement-Daniels, Gunn-Cornell  (Oskroba, Hoeffler)

Forwards: Saponari-Daniels-Manno, Vermeersch-Pimm-Ferriero (when healthy), Vrolyk-Darcy-Reid, Dongara-Stone-Belonger (Morra, McMurtry)

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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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Final: UNH 3, Huskies 2

February 12, 2012

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Northeastern suffered a big defeat on Friday at the hands of UNH 3-2.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Robbie Vrolyk and Mike McLaughlin both scored.
  • McLaughlin, Luke Eibler, and Drew Daniels had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings saved 28 out of 31 shots, but the first two goals were awful.  You can see them here.  Yes, the second one was scored from behind the net.  Yes, that happened last year in Durham too.
  • NU had 26 shots to UNH’s 31.
  • NU was 0-1 on the PP. UNH was 0-2.
What You Need to Know
  • Robbie Vrolyk put the Huskies up 1-0 just 30 seconds into the game.
  • For the next 5-7 minutes the Huskies dominated, the puck barely left the offensive zone, but they couldn’t score
  • Then Rawlings let in the softest goal ever, until a few minutes later when he let in the softest goal ever.
  • And that was about it, for the rest of the game the Huskies skated around and didn’t do anything really.  They didn’t play bad defensively, but they barely even set up in the UNH zone.   Between the play on the ice and the lack of any sort of noise from the student section, it became a battle to stay awake and pay attention.
  • Then the Huskies realized there was only 2 minutes left and they trailed by 2, so they started playing again.   They got one with an extra attacker, but couldn’t find the second.
  • Steve Morra played in place of Dongara.   He was on the 4th line.  They got literally 3 shifts all night.
Lines:
Karlsson-Pimm-Saponari
Reid-Vermeersch-Manno
Vrolyk-McLaughlin-Tuckerman
Daniels-Stone-Morra
D:
Bitetto-Cornell
Eibler-Manson
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
Another loss at the Whittemore Center for NU.  Not much to say on this one.  Bad goaltending killed their great start and then it was basically just going through the motions.  The loss gives UNH a nice cushion and the tiebreaker.  Northeastern still has a good shot to make the playoffs, but not if they play like that.   At this point, who cares if they make the playoffs?  With efforts like this, I am not exactly thrilled at the prospect of 2 more away games.
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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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Final: Huskies 4, UMass Amherst 3 (OT)

February 4, 2012

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Northeastern extended thier win streak to 3 games last with a 4-3 OT victory over UMass Amherst.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Robbie Vrolyk had 2 goals, Adam Reid scored his first career powerplay goal, and then Vinny Saponari won it with  a goal in OT.
  • Alex Tuckerman and Mike McLaughlin both had 2 assists.  Drew Daniels, Ludwig Karlsson, Garrett Vermeersch, and Zak Stone also had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings saved 28 out of 31 shots, but he was pretty shaky for most of the first two periods.
  • Both teams had 31 shots.
  • NU was 1-5 on the PP.  UMass was 1-4.
What You Need to Know
  • The Huskies jumped out to a quick 2 goal lead thanks to some hard work down low.  But they quickly gave UMass 2 goals of their own, thanks to some sloppy play in the defensive zone.
  • Chris Rawlings did not have a good night.   He was flopping a lot and he was on his back and out of position for all 3 goals.
  • Robbie Vrolyk scored twice.  The junior has 10 career goals.   5 of them have come against UMass Amherst.
  • The third line of Vrolyk-McLaughlin-Tuckerman continued their hot streak.    All 3 had a slow start to the year, but since McLaughlin has come back and they have been playing together consistently, they have given the team quality minutes every weekend.
  • The new “second” line however did not work.   Braden Pimm was good, as usual, but Justin Daniels and Rob Dongara continue to disappoint.  Its a tough situation.   The 1st line and 3rd line are playing well and you would hate to break them up.   But you could argue that anyone on the 4th line could do just as much as Daniels and Dongara have with top 6 minutes.   There were several times when Adam Reid took shifts instead of Dong.  Hopefully, they will continue to do that until they find something that works.
  • On defense, both Luke Eibler and Anthony Bitetto had strong games.   UMass would have probably had a few good shorthanded chances that Bitetto broke up.   Eibler was a physical presence all night and moved the puck pretty well on top of it.
  • The two biggest things to takeaway from this game are that the Huskies were unable to come back despite blowing a lead, and that they were able to finally win in Overtime.   And that is despite not playing very well for a good portion of the game.
Lines:
Karlsson-Vermeersch-Saponari
Daniels-Pimm-Dongara
Vrolyk-McLaughlin-Tuckerman
Reid-Stone-Manno
D:
Bitetto-Cornell
Eibler-Manson
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
The injuries are obviously going to be a huge obstacle for them to overcome, but the Huskies proved tonight that they can survive.    All 4 goals were just the result of hard work and finishing rebounds.   Unfortunately, the Huskies won’t have the benefit of playing rebound machine Kevin Boyle every night, but hopefully this game can serve as a gameplan.  2 of the best scorers on the team are gone    and that means that other people going to need to step up.   A couple players were guilty of trying to do too much last night, but as a whole the team did a good job in working hard to comeback after giving up 3 unanswered goals.
It was good to see another power play goal.   Mike McLaughlin has been a revelation on the PP unit.  He isn’t a big scorer, but he can move the puck and he makes good decisions.   Adam Reid was a nice addition.  He works well in front of the net, and he showed that on his PPG.   The Power Play isn’t lighting up the scoreboard, but it has gotten better in the past couple weeks.
It wasn’t a great game for Northeastern, but for once they just found a way to win a close game instead of finding a way to lose it.  Now they enter the Beanpot on a 3 game win streak.  But more importantly they opened up  a 2 point lead on UMass and they have worked themselves back into the 8th spot.    There is a long way to go, but picking up points in this game was essential and they took care of business.
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