Tag Archives: Rob Dongara

Rob Dongara to Leave Northeastern

March 9, 2012

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Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Sophomore forward Rob Dongara announced via Twitter this afternoon that he will not be returning to Northeastern next season.   He will likely transfer to either an Atlantic Hockey or a Divison 3 school.

“Dong” has certainly had an interesting 2 years at Northeastern.  He arrived without very much hype and was not really expected to see much ice time.   But after the first weekend, he got his shot at playing time.    After that, he never left the lineup.  His speed was exciting and he quickly became a fan favorite.  That speed helped him score an amazing shorthanded goal in the Beanpot championship that made him one of the most recognizable members of the team.  Even kids that didn’t follow the hockey team had heard of Dong.  He finished his freshman season with 6 goals, 8 assists and an entire section named after him (The DongHouse).

After bulking up over the summer, expectations were high heading into his second season.  But obviously Madigan didn’t value Dongara the way Cronin did.  After a rough start, Dongara soon found himself in the stands.   The team went on a long win streak and the lineup shuffling stopped with Dongara on the outside looking in.   After that Dongara only got in when people were hurt, suspended or both.   Even that was no guarantee.   Late in the year, Madigan chose to dress just 11 forwards instead of putting him in the lineup.   At that point, it became clear: this relationship was just not going to work.  Dong finished the year with just 15 games played and 1-1-2 line.

When you bring in a new coach, some old guys aren’t going to fit.  Thats what happened here.  Dongara will move on and play somewhere else.  Madigan will bring in one of “his guys”.

No matter where he lands, the Scituate, MA native, will always have his amazing Beanpot goal and subsequent SportsCenter Top Play.  Good Luck in the future Rob and thanks for your time as a Husky.

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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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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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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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Preview: Huskies vs Lowell

January 21, 2012

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The season series with Lowell is on the line for the Huskies tonight, but more importantly, the Huskies could be fighting for the playoff lives.

The 8 game win streak was great, but since almost all of the games were non-conference, the Huskies conference record is still awful thanks to a terrible start.   The teams around them keeping winning as the Huskies have gone 0 for 3 in the new year.

Tonight is a must win for the Huskies.   Another loss puts them in a deep hole with no much time to dig themselves out.   This team needs to find a way to get back to the way they played during the win streak.  That may require a shake up at the bottom of the lineup.  Rob Dongara won’t be playing tonight.  Thats a start.   I’d like to see them keep the first two lines as they have been, the third line should be Mann0-McLaughlin-Tuckerman and the fourth should be Reid-Daniels-Stone.  Stone and Manno need to be in the lineup.

Rawlings could maybe use a rest too.  The goals last night were not is fault, but he didn’t see, like his normal self.  Give him the night off, he deserves one.

I don’t know what to do about the special teams, but just change them any way you can.

Its not panic time yet, but if the Huskies can’t win tonight its officially time to worry about missing the playoffs for the second time in 3 years.

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Final: Lowell 4, Huskies 0

January 21, 2012

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Northeastern lost to Lowell 4-0 last night, which makes it 3 straight losses for the Huskies.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

The Basics

  • For the first time all season, the Huskies were shutout.
  • Chris Rawlings saved 28 out of 32 shots.
  • The Huskies were outshot 32-28
  • NU was 0-5 on the PP. Lowell was also 0-5, but they picked up a shorthanded goal and a goal seconds after one of their PP’s had ended.
What You Need to Know
  • This one was ugly.
  • Northeastern started slow and it cost them when Lowell picked up an early goal.
  • After that NU managed a few chances, but couldn’t find the net.
  • The second period might have been one of the worst periods of the season.  Lowell completely dominated a Northeastern team that looked like they were asleep.  Lowell picked up 3 goals, including a shorthanded one.
  • The Huskies came out a bit tougher in third, but never really pushed Lowell.
  • Rawlings looked off all night.  He was moving and react very slow and just didn’t seem to be the same goalie we’ve seen recently.
Lines:
Karlsson-Vermeersch-Saponari
Ferriero-Pimm-Quailer
Tuckerman-Daniels-Dongara
Reid-McLaughlin-Vrolyk
D:
Bitetto-Cornellth
Eibler-Manson
Ellement-Daniels
Thoughts
Where to being with this brutal game?  Lets start with the special teams.
Technically the PK killed all 5 penalties last night, but Lowell scored their first goal just 5 seconds after a penalty had expired.   The Passive Box isn’t getting it done.  Its time to get aggressive and force teams into mistake rather than sitting around hoping they make one.
The real issue is of course the power play. 9/95 is disgusting.  9.5% is by far the lowest in Hockey East.  And with the Huskies giving up shorthanded goals in two consecutive games, they have now given up the 2nd most in the conference with 5.  The Power Play is so bad that it gets worse the bigger the advantage is.  Last night, the Huskies had a 5 on 3, and just like the one against BU last weekend, they passed and passed and passed and passed.  When they finally succeed in passing the puck into the net, I am sure it will look great.  But they failed yet again last night and when they eventually whiffed on a shot, Lowell ended up with a breakaway that would have been a goal had Ludwig Karlsson not dragged the guy down and took a penalty.  Its got to the point where I actually dread seeing a penalty on the other team because it just leads to embarrassment for NU.
Now onto the lineup:  Dongara, McLaughlin, and Vrolyk all bring something to the table.  But all 3 of them cannot be in the lineup at the same time.   That has been proven again and again this year.  Manno and Stone need to be in the lineup every night, if that means Dongara and Vrolyk have to take a seat, so be it.
With results around the conference going against Northeastern, their playoff chances are growing smaller every weekend.   Time is running out for the Huskies and performances like this one aren’t going to relieve any fears.
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