Tag Archives: Notre Dame

A Recap of the Doghouse’s Visit To Notre Dame

December 7, 2011

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We didn’t make the trip out to Notre Dame and now we must live with that regret. Some members of the Doghouse did make the trip though.  Sean Hathaway was one of those people and he has been kind enough to write about his experience for us.   Here is his recap of his weekend in South Bend.

 

There’s a certain mystique surrounding the University of Notre Dame, especially in regards to athletics. Even though that mostly refers to the storied (but declining) football program, the Fighting Irish boasted the number two ranked team in the nation when Northeastern came to town. So when the Huskies brought their brooms to South Bend, can you really blame me if I characterize the weekend as magical?

With the season seemingly on the brink, the Huskies have managed to overcome the growing pains of a program in transition, behind the bench as well as on the ice. And after digging themselves into a sizable, albeit manageable, hole, this team is clawing itself out, playing up to its abilities.

It took 30 seconds for Northeastern to get on the score sheet on Friday. And after less than five minutes of play, ND’s starting goalie, Mike Johnson had been chased after surrendering three goals, making no saves. This was only the start of what would prove to be a long night for the home team as the Huskies hung nine goals in front of a stunned crowd.

Such a gaudy goal total would catch the eyes of anyone, with good reason. But the story of that night was not the score line as much as how it was achieved. The 9-2 result was a representation of just how good this team can be when it clicks. And it’s about time.

After much line juggling, it seems the staff has finally found the right combinations. Garrett Vermeersch, who fans had been perpetually criticizing, calling for him to be benched, has blossomed skating with the highly skilled Saponari and Karlsson. His first goal Friday (an absolute snipe under the crossbar) was an exquisite display of ability and should make team highlight reels for some time.

But really, the talk of line adjustments has to start and stop with the Ferriero – Pimm – Quailer line. It seems obvious to say, given the amount of scoring this trio did, that they dominated Notre Dame, but man were they hot. The chemistry and feeling these three have for one another is a joy to watch and make them a threat to score every time they step out of the ice. It’s refreshing to see Quailer and Ferriero, especially, play up to the expectations of fans after a disappointing 2010-2011 campaign. It’s also refreshing to see this pair, who spent the first few games in the press box because of suspensions, step up in leadership roles in captain Mike McLaughlin’s absence; Saturday’s struggle saw this line provide both goals, carrying the team to victory.

In addition to meeting expectations, certain players have thus far, exceeded them. Widely. Dan Cornell and Ludwig Karlsson, may be freshmen but neither play the part. Filling the skates of Jamie Oleksiak was always going to be a tall task – excuse the pun. Seemingly out of nowhere, Cornell has stepped up and provided solid defense and has equaled the intensity of his partner Anthony Bitetto. After scoring Friday night, maybe we’re in for a more complete game from college hockey’s most angry man (seriously, watch his roster video). Karlsson, meanwhile, has been a revelation. A jack-of-all-trades, he may very well be the best forward on the team. He competes in all three zones and wins seemingly every puck battle in the corner. His ability to facilitate or finish makes him a perfect complement to Saponari while his soft hands leave me wanting to refer this Swede “the Masseuse” (somehow I don’t see that catching on).

Fellow rookies Joseph Manno and Adam Reid have also pitched in, the former scoring a pair against BC while the latter scored his first collegiate goal against ND, breaking through the defense. The Reid goal was a glimpse of the power possessed by a true freshmen still getting accustomed to his big frame, so let’s hope there’s plenty more where that came from. It’s a shame that goal was overshadowed by more aesthetically pleasing efforts (the aforementioned Vermeersch goal and the almost as eye popping Justin Daniels contribution) but when you score nine, some are bound to get overlooked.

Likewise, so will great goaltending. Even though the story of the weekend was all the goals, Chris Rawlings deserves his due for two stellar performances. In spite of all the disappointment that has characterized the beginning of this season, Rawlings has played his best hockey. The man once referred to as the Roberto Luongo of Hockey East due to his inconsistent play has been the team’s MVP. All weekend, every ND fan I talked to made it a point to share their admiration of his play. It was like Thiessen was back between the pipes.

So it goes without saying that Rawlings is a part of my three stars for the weekend. His lateral movement stymied Notre Dame’s big guns and kept NU alive Saturday when the offense couldn’t repeat the previous night’s output (not that anyone expected them too). Northeastern outscored Notre Dame 11-3 this past weekend but was outshot 50-35. Goaltending, ladies and gentlemen.

Karlsson’s four helpers and invaluable intangibles land him second star nods from me. This kid’s going to be a real contender for Hockey East Rookie of the Year. I just hope he’s wearing black and red come October.

As far as the first star goes, I’m going to cop out and say the entire Ferriero – Pimm – Quailer line. The fluidity and unison of the line make me feel a bit better about picking three guys for one spot but it’s really hard to weed out which one deserves honors more than the others. I expect big things from this line in the coming months, particularly Ferriero who appears to have finally learned to channel his energy and play at the level we all thought he could.

Now I would be foolish to completely ignore my surroundings in this write up. I grew up in the Boston area so, like anyone with a conscious, I developed a real hatred of BC; the pompousness, the entitlement, the lack of self-awareness. When I boarded the plane for Chicago Friday morning, I expected to enter a Mid West BC, one way worse. I quickly came to find this was not the case whatsoever. Instead, I found everyone (and I mean every single person) in South Bend, Indiana was nothing but friendly and cordial. Depending on what arena I’m in, I expect a certain amount of chirping, and that’s okay – it’s part of the experience. At Notre Dame, there was none of that. Not because of apathy…but because of politeness. It was all quite strange but still enjoyable. Fans; arena staff; students; locals, all had nothing but kind words to say about the team and its fans.

And then there’s the Compton Family Ice Arena, the new home of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish hockey team. Matthews will always be the top college rink for me (partially because of the history, partially because of the set up and partially because I’m an admitted homer). I have to say, though, Compton is second with a bullet. Its set up is very much the same as Matthews while incorporating that famous Notre Dame prestige in a way that was visible without being overdone or nauseating (BC). But I will say that having two separate videos play before the team comes out is a little much. My one true knock is that unfortunately, unlike Matthews, the band plays in the balcony above the goalie while the students sit below. I’ve always hated when schools do this because the glass serves to swallow the voices of the students (which is made 10 times worse when someone like bu makes no noise to begin with).

For me this weekend was a nice Hockey East preview. I (hopefully) got to see what kind of Northeastern would run out for UML and the 2012 portion of the season as they try to build off this recent run of success. Beating Notre Dame twice as well as Michigan, the week before, is fantastic for the team but Saturday is business time. Hockey East points are still needed so the team needs to capitalize on the momentum or it will unfortunately be of little importance. Although, I must say, it was quite the conference welcome to Notre Dame. When they do eventually join Hockey East, I truly hope NU athletics can arrange for affordable weekend trips out to Indiana. As great as this past weekend was, it was a shame so few people got to experience it. I can’t encourage people enough to make this trip if possible when it comes around again. It’s definitely worth it.

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Final: Huskies 2, Notre Dame 1

December 4, 2011

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Northeastern completed the sweep last night with a 2-1 victory over the Irish.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Braden Pimm and Steve Quailer scored goals for NU.
  • Anthony Bitetto, Garrett Vermeersch, and Chris Rawlings all had an assist.
  • Chris Rawlings saved 22 of 23 shots.
  • The Huskies were outshot 23-15.
  • NU was 1-5 on the PP. Notre Dame was 1-6.
What You Need to Know
  • It was a much different game last night, but Huskies were still able to prevail.
  • Notre Dame took the lead early on the PP, but the Huskies fought back.
  • This might be the first game all  year where the Huskies didnt score an even strength goal.  Quailer’s was a PP and Pimm’s was 4 on 4.
  • Rawlings was huge as he has been all year.   He is a different guy this year.
  • Its now a 5 game winning streak with 3 straight road wins.
Lines:
Karlsson-Vermeersch-Saponari
Ferriero-Pimm-Quailer
Tuckerman-Daniels-Manno
Reid-Stone-Vrolyk
D:
Bitetto-Cornell
Eibler-Manson
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
Think about where this team was a month ago. Frustration was at its peak and it felt like they couldn’t do anything but lose by 1.   People were losing faith in the players and coaches.  And it looked like it was going to be another long season.
Fast forward to today.  A players only meeting, a few more adjustments from the coaching staff, some line shuffling and look what you’ve got.  This team is amazing.  You could spend hours talking about all of the guys who look 100x better this season.  Rawlings, Vermeersch, Pimm, Ferriero, Quailer, Justin Daniels, Drew Ellement.  I don’t even recognize half of these guys.  Garrett Vermeersch has gone from 4th line puckhog to one of the best playmakers on the team.  Braden Pimm has gone from a grinder to the guy the offense revolves around. Ferriero and Quailer look dangerous everytime they touch the puck.   Its amazing.
The newcomers havent hurt either.   Ludwig Karlsson is the best freshman in Hockey East.  By far.  Vinny Saponari isn’t showing up on the score sheet as much as we thought, but he has had a huge impact.  And where would this team be without the solid play of Dan Cornell?
This team was given an impossible schedule to start the year, especially when their coach was returning to the bench after 18 years.  SO an adjustment period was expected.  And thats what happened.  But they way they were losing was killed the fans.  Those were winnable games for the most part.
Now this team has come together and they are just awesome.  They have played the 8th toughest schedule in the NCAA.   They are now in the top 25 for RPI and the Pairwise Rankings.   Its too early to care about those right now, but it still means something.  The schedule is getting easier and this team has not played themselves out of anything yet.   Home ice and/or an NCAA berth is very much in the question.  It won’t be easy, but with the way this team has played it is certainly do able.
So thank you to the coaching staff and every single player on the team for turning this thing around.  It has been a pleasure to watch the team over the past couple weekends and we can’t help but feel like bigger things are ahead for this team.  We are drinking the kool-aid.

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Final: Huskies 9, Notre Dame 2

December 3, 2011

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Northeastern played by far their best game of the year and came away with a 9-2 win AT #2 Notre Dame.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • Garrett Vermeersch and Braden Pimm had 2 goals.  Justin Daniels, Cody Ferriero, Dan Cornell, Adam Reid and Drew Ellement also scored.
  • The goals were the first of Reid and Cornell’s career.  It was the first of the year for Vermeersch
  • Ludwig Karlsson (4), Steve Quailer (3), Anthony Bitetto (2), Vinny Saponari (2), Ferriero (2), Ellement and Drew Daniels all had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings saved 25 of 27 shots.
  • The Huskies were outshot 27-20.
  • NU was 0-4 on the PP. Notre Dame was 1-7.
What You Need to Know
  • The Huskies scored 3 goals in the first 4 minutes on their first 3 shots chasing ND’s goalie Mike Johnson from the game before he even made a save.
  • The Huskies would continue this trend by scoring in the opening minute of all 3 periods.
  • 8 Huskies had multiple point nights.
  • There were more players with points than there were without points.
  • The Huskies played a full 60 and absolutely dominated.  They looked amazing.
Lines:
Karlsson-Vermeersch-Saponari
Ferriero-Pimm-Quailer
Tuckerman-Daniels-Manno
Reid-Stone-Vrolyk
D:
Bitetto-Cornell
Eibler-Manson
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
10/10, A+, perfect.  What else is there to say?  Its now a 4 game win streak.  They have been scoring in bunches and just playing great hockey.  They have found a way to turn all of those close, 1 goal losses into wins.  If they keep playing like this, this team is going to make some noise at the end of the year.   The game was just a joy to watch.  WRBB did great on the broadcast.  Apparently, the ND broadcast forgot to mute themselves while they were trashing the team.  I also heard them say that ND coach Jeff Jackson hates Friday home games because his team has to go to class all day while the other team gets to focus only on hockey.   They will fit in perfectly in Hockey East.
Just a great win for the Huskies and hopefully a sign that there are some big things to come down the road for this team.

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Preview: Huskies at Notre Dame

December 2, 2011

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The Huskies are back on the road again this weekend as they visit future Hockey East member, Notre Dame for a 2 game series.  The game starts at 7.  You can watch here or listen on WRBB.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Northeastern and Notre Dame haven’t met since 2001, when they skated to a tie in Boston.  Northeastern’s last trip out to South Bend in 2000, saw the teams split a weekend series.

Notre Dame is ranked 2nd in the country.  They are 10-3-3, with a 3-1 record out of conference play.  Last Saturday, they lost to Lake Superior State, which snapped an 11 game unbeaten streak.  The Irish are also a perfect 5-0 at their brand new arena.  2 of those wins came in overtime, including one with 1.1 seconds left against BC a couple of weeks ago.

Sophomores TJ Tynan and Anders Lee will be the ones to watch.  Lee scores the goals (12, good for 7th in the NCAA) and Tynan gets the assists (18, tied for 1st in the country in Assists/game).  This attack has given them the 17th best offense in the country, scoring 3.25 goals per game.  The also have the 17th best defense giving up just 2.44 goals per game.  Notre Dame has a good Power Play (22%) and an average Penalty Kill (83%).  They average a little over 4 penalties a game.

For the Huskies, their recent offensive surge hasn’t made a huge impact on their stats.  They still allow more goals (2.8)  than they give up (2.7).  They still allow much more shots (34.6) than they take (25.1).  And their Power Play is still in single digits (9%).

But are on a 3 game winning streak and they have looked much better lately.  Mike McLaughlin will likely miss out again this weekend, so the lines should stay pretty much the same.

The Quailer-Pimm-Ferriero line will obviously stick together. Quailer is on a 4 game point streak and Ferriero has a 3 gamer.  The Huskies are 4-0-1 when Ferriero has a point.  Which means they are 0-7-2 when he doesn’t.  Small sample size/coincidence aside, he has been a big part of the turnaround.

Vinny Saponari has only 1 goal for NU and its been 11 games since that goal.  He has played very well, but the results have been in the assist column so far.  I wouldn’t be surprised to see him get a goal this weekend and really start to pick up his goal total.

Nothing should change with the defensive pairs.

In net, it would seem like a good weekend to give each goalie a game, but who really knows.

Its another big test for the Huskies and this game will provide a measuring stick of how far the turnaround has game.  A win would be really huge.

Some of the Doghouse guys made the trip.  One of them, Sean Hathaway, will hopefully be writing about the trip here.  So stay tuned for that and make sure to watch or listen to the game tonight.

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Around Hockey East: 11/22

November 22, 2011

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

  • After helping lead Northeastern to a 4 point weekend, freshman Ludwig Karlsson was named the Hockey East Player of the Week.   Casey Thrush (UNH) was named Rookie of the Week and Kieran Millan (BU) was named Defensive Player of the Week, despite being suspended for Friday night’s game after he skipped too many classes.
  • The Huskies weren’t the only team to get 4 points on the weekend.  BU also pulled it off with wins over Vermont and UNH.
  • BC lost in overtime to Notre Dame in their only game of the weekend.
  • Lowell got crushed by UNH on Friday, but they were able to recover and beat Amherst on Saturday.
  • Speaking of Amherst, expectations have been tempered after managing only 1 point (a tie vs Maine) this weekend.    They will have the chance to right the ship with a midweek game against last place Vermont tonight.
  • Merrimack is #1 in the country.  Mark Dennehy has pulled off one of the greatest program turnarounds of all time.  And it hasn’t taken him every long.  Still don’t think they will be there in the end, but you can’t take away from the job Dennehy has done.
  • Maine continues to slide.  They picked up a point on the road against UMass, but they find themselves with just 7 points from 9 games.
  • UMass/Vermont isnt the only game tonight.  UNH will travel to Cambridge to play Harvard in a non-conference game.
  • UVM unveiled their Frozen Fenway jerseys.
  • Here are the current standings.  Northeastern is just a point away from home ice*
Hockey East
Overall
GP
W
L
T
Pts
GF
GA
W
L
T
GF
GA
Boston College
9
7
2
0
14
32
22
9
4
0
47
33
Merrimack
7
6
0
1
13
21
10
8
0
1
29
12
Boston University
9
5
3
1
11
31
25
6
4
1
39
33
New Hampshire
9
4
4
1
9
26
29
5
5
2
36
40
UMass Lowell
7
4
3
0
8
25
22
6
4
0
35
28
Providence
7
4
3
0
8
28
23
6
4
1
39
32
Northeastern
12
3
7
2
8
31
35
3
7
2
31
35
Maine
9
3
5
1
7
26
29
3
6
2
30
35
Massachusetts
10
2
5
3
7
28
37
4
5
3
40
42
Vermont
7
0
6
1
1
14
30
1
7
1
19
40

*ignore the fact that UNH has 3 games in hand on them and Lowell and Providence have 5.

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Notre Dame Looks Set to Join Hockey East

October 3, 2011

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When Penn State announced they were going to field a D1 hockey team, it was clear that the college hockey landscape was about to change. And that change has been going all summer. But up until now, it has stayed out west. Hockey East looked like they would stick with what they have.

But a falling out over TV contracts has reportedly caused the new National Hockey Conference to decide it doesn’t want Notre Dame, which will lead them to join Hockey East. The announcement is expected to come Wednesday.

If ND is to join, that will put Hockey East at an awkward 11 teams. So they will need 1 more. RPI, UConn and Holy Cross have all been mentioned as possible options.

Yes, RPI's mascot is a hockey puck.

So what does this mean for Hockey East?

First and foremost, it means that the 27 game conference schedule will be changed to a 22 game schedule with only 2 games against each team. This will however open more room for nonconference games.

The addition of Notre Dame, like all conference realignment, is about the almighty dollar. Hockey East had a great thing going. They didn’t need Notre Dame. They already had a competitive conference with some big name teams. This move was about getting a better TV deal. This move will benefit the image of the conference, but it will also make it harder for the smaller schools to make noise.

It remains to be seen how the new conference layout affects the NCAA tournament field, but you have to imagine adding a team like ND will make it that much harder for a team like Merrimack or Vermont to make it into the tournament like they have in recent years.

I understand the positives from this move, but I am not a fan. I think Hockey East was great the way it was and they should have just sat on the sideline and stayed out of the realignment mess.

Plus having one BC is bad enough. We don’t need another one.

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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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