Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca
The good news is that this will be last trip to North Andover for the season. Nothing against Merrimack, but I can’t say I’m too excited to go back to a shitty town with no streetlights or a high school rink with no cellphone reception. Its just not an enjoyable trip, I’m sorry. But after tonight, the Huskies won’t return there until next season when they will only have 1 game there. That about covers it for the good news.
Now for the bad news. Merrimack is 6-0, they don’t lose very often at home, and they shut Northeastern down completely just two weeks ago. And Northeastern needs points this week.
A typical Northeastern series would look like this: lifeless road loss on Friday, completely different team at home Saturday that is full of energy, but is punished for a mistake and comes up short in a game that was there for the taking. They need to do better than that. Losing away at Merrimack is forgivable. Looking like shit while doing it is not.
Here is all I am asking of the Huskies on Friday:
1. Be physical: Its a small rink, there isn’t tons of room to operate. Everyone (forwards included) has to pick up the hitting. Make your presence known and get some energy going on the bench.
2. Make the Power Play count: at the very least, create some chances on the PP and make Cannata come up big. 2 things that kill me about the power play: they can barely get through the neutral zone and when they do shot, its usually from the point right into the defender standing right in front of them
3. Do something about the shots: I don’t care if its blocking 500 shots again or its just not allowing Merrimack to have all the chances they want from the slot. Doesn’t matter. Just find a way to not give up 30+ shots…in the first 2 periods
4. Do something about the shots: Shoot the puck. Even in their lone win, they scored 4 goals on 21 shots. If you are going to give up a ton of shots, you can at least take some on the other end. No one cares about your shooting percentage. Its about goals.
5. Do something: I am sick of going to away games and watching this team sleep through periods at a time. Come out with some energy and maybe things with go their way.
Doing these things won’t automatically lead to a win, but they can’t hurt. And it would make the experience a lot more tolerable.
Rawlings should get the start in net.
A shake up of the defense wouldn’t be crazy, but I don’t think its likely. Dan Cornell has played well enough to lock down that last spot for now, so Ben Oskroba stays in the stands.
The fun part for Madigan, as usual, is the forwards. With Cody Ferriero back that means 2 guys are going to be scratched every night. There are 5 choices: Rob Dongara, Robbie Vrolyk, Alex Tuckerman, Zak Stone, Garrett Vermeersch.
Vrolyk and Vermeersch have roles on the special teams which seems to be whats keeping them in the lineup. Stone and Tuckerman were the casualties last game. Its hard to justify playing both Dong and Vrolyk. They are bring pretty much the same thing: speed. Vrolyk was non-existent last time out at Merrimack. I’d let Dong play as he brings a little more of a physical edge to his game, especially after just working his way back into the lineup. Vermeersch hasn’t lived up to expectations, but I can’t justify sitting him yet. Its not far away though. I would play Stone over Tuckerman at this point. Stone just looks hungrier out there. And thats the attitude this team needs on the road. Here is what I would go with:
Note: we have a few spots in our car for anyone who wants to make the trip but doesn’t have a ride.