Tag Archives: Zak Stone

Preview: Huskies at Merrimack

November 3, 2011


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.

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Next 3 Games Are Crucial for the Huskies

November 2, 2011


1-4-1 is not a good record.   Especially when that is all conference games.  But its also not the time to panic. Yet.   The Huskies next three games are @Merrimack, vs Merrimack, @Boston College.   If Northeastern were to lose those 3 games they would be 1-7-1 and have just 3 points after completing a third of their conference games.  That’s obviously not good.  Especially since they would still have 3 games to play against BU and 2 against Maine.

Northeastern has played a very tough schedule.  And its about to get tougher before it gets easier.   And the fear is that by the time they get to the “easy” part (which isn’t all that easy), they could be digging out of a massive hole that has killed their confidence and fan support.   That is a very real, and scary, possibility.

The DogHouse is an important aspect to this team.   You can look at the players comments about it.   Or you can look at the lifeless displays they put up on the road without the DogHouse’s backing.  Its both a good and bad thing, but this team needs a full DogHouse.   Hopefully they get one against Merrimack, and hopefully they take advantage because time is starting to become an enemy for them.

Merrimack is 6-0 and they didn’t seem troubled by Northeastern the last time they met.   But Northeastern needs to find a way to get at least 1 win this weekend.  Its not going to be easy, especially with the way they have played.  So whats the problem?  Good question.  Lets start with everything.

39, 40, 27, 47, 43, 38.   Thats how many shots the Huskies have given up this season.  Guess which game they won? Yes, obviously it was the 27 shot game.  They blocked 30 shots in that game.  They were also outshot (27-21).   They have been outshot in every single game.  So while everyone can debate who should play in net (ourselves included), it doesn’t really matter because they are going to be fighting a losing battle.

The players all talked about how great the new coaching staff was.  We heard words like “refreshing”.  They were no longer “robots”.   But they still get badly outshot every night, just like they did under Cronin.  Coach Madigan has already said that you cant expect to win when you give up shots like that and he is right.   Now he has to find a way to fix it.

In addition to give up way too many chances, the Huskies aren’t exactly creating that many either. The Power Play has been beyond atrocious, as its been for years. Going 1-8 on the PP against BC isn’t making the most of your opportunities, which is what you have to do to win games against good teams. Besides the win, they have looked lethargic for long portions of the game. There are plenty of quality players on this team. There is no reason it should just be 2 lines getting time. Guys like Rob Dongara and Zak Stone may not be the most talented guys on the team, but you can’t argue that they give it their all on every shift. They can impact the game, given the chance. As Dong would say, let them eat.

Its not talent.  That is for sure.  But despite bringing in some pretty good recruiting classes, this team has continually failed to meet expectations. Its not surprising that a team with a whole new coaching staff and a decent amount of freshman is struggling. Unfortunately for them, the schedule is doing them no favors and it doesn’t really afford them any time to struggle. Last year’s start was dismal. But it was mostly non-conference. Struggling in the conference is another story. This season is looking like its going to be a long and difficult battle just to reach the playoffs.

Its not panic time yet. This team has had moments where its looked great. They just need to find a way to make those moments more frequent and more consistent. Give them time. They will get there. Its just a matter of time.

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Preview: Huskies at Merrimack

October 20, 2011


The Huskies travel to Merrimack to face the Warriors in a 7:30 game as they look to get their first road win of the season.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca

Lawler has been tough for visitors, but the Huskies have been an exception to this rule.  They picked up a wins in their past two trips there.   The Warriors beat Maine in their only Hockey East game.  They also beat Army this past weekend.

For Merrimack, it all starts at the back, Jon Cannata is one of the best goalies in Hockey East.   The Warriors suffered two big losses though, Stephan Da Costa and Joe Cucci.  It remains to be seen how competitive they will be without them.   They will be led on offense by Ryan Flanigan, Jesse Todd, and Mike Collins.   Todd leads all Merrimack players with 4 points against Northeastern (in 9 games).  Senior Defenseman Karl Stollery is the only other player with more than 1 points.  He has 3 in 9 games.   Kyle Bigos is the other defenseman to watch out for.  He is also a senior and he will be a force to be reckoned with.

For Northeastern, expect a similar lineup.  Rob Dongara has announced via Twitter that he will be a healthy scratch for the second game in a row.   The only question is whether Cody Ferriero will return from suspension.  As of right now, we have not heard anything that suggests he has.   If he does, either Zak Stone or Robbie Vrolyk would probably make way.   It would harsh to bench Stone after his first collegiate goal, but we will see what happens.   Defensively, the new pairings looked great, so there is no reason to change.  Dan Cornell earned himself another start, I think.   That would mean Ben Oskroba would make way.   In net, it will be Rawlings.  (But…..this would be a good chance to give Witt a game, so Rawlings was ready for BC on Saturday.  Wont happen, probably shouldn’t happen, but we can dream).

Over the past couple seasons, Merrimack and NU have developed a little bit of a rivalry.   Games have been close and they have been chippy.   Expect the same in this one.   It will be a good test for both teams.  All I ask from Northeastern is for the players to not be looking ahead to Saturday and for the fans to make the relatively easy trip to North Andover to support the team.

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Final: Huskies 4, UNH 0

October 15, 2011


The Huskies picked up their first win of the season last night in  4-0 shutout.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca


The Basics

  • Zak Stone scored his first goal as a Husky, and he joined Justin Daniels , Braden Pimm, and Mike McLaughlin in picking up goals.
  •  Luke Eibler had 2 assists.  Steve Quailer, Adam Reid, Alex Tuckerman, Josh Manson, Ludwig Karlsson and Robbie Vrolyk all had assists.
  • Chris Rawlings stopped all 27 shots he faced.
  • The shutout was his 9th, tying Brad Thiessen for the school record.
  • He was helped out by 36 blocked shots.
  • Northeastern went 0-2 on the Power Play, but killed off all 3 of UNH’s.
What You Need to Know
  • The Huskies scored their first 3 goals on their first 4 shots.
  • Braden Pimm opened up the scoring when he tapped  Steve Quailer’s pass into a wide open net.
  • Just minutes later, Zak Stone would score his first as a Husky.  The goal was set up by Adam Reid’s hard work down low.  The puck squirted out to Stone and he snuck it through DiGirolamo.
  • But the Huskies weren’t done, Ludwig Karlsson fed Josh Manson who was able to shoot from the point.  DiGirolamo made his first save, but he had to watch helplessly as Justin Daniel put home the rebound.
  • 10 minutes in, UNH had to call a timeout, but the Huskies played smart hockey the rest of the way and limited their comeback chances.
  • Senior captain Mike McLaughlin added a 4th midway through the third.  He fired a side from the side, it may or may not have been going wide, but it hit DiGirolamo’s glove and fell into the net.  He was then pulled, all though the first three were almost all on the defenseman.
  • For the second straight game, the DogHouse was sold out.
Lets get this out of the way first, UNH is not looking good right now.  But don’t let that take away from the win.  UNH made a lot mistakes and Northeastern capitalized on them.  But it was a great performance from the Huskies.
The new lines seem to work as every line scored once.  Its great to see Justin Daniels getting goals.  He must have worked really hard in the summer, because he has made a huge step up this year. Ludwig Karlsson was excellent.  He is a big kid with great vision.  And he is strong on the puck.  He is going to rack up the assists no matter who he plays with. The McLaughlin line was probably the weakest line.  Robbie Vrolyk did create a few individual chances though. Joseph Manno also had a good night, despite the fact he almost started a brawl late in the 3rd. Coach Madigan let him hear about it. But he is a fun player to watch. Never stops moving. He could have a Brodie Reid-like season, where he really comes on in the second half. (Hopefully without the leaving part). It was good to see Alex Tuckerman and Steve Quailer back together. Quailer looked a lot closer to the player he was pre-injury than the player he was last year. Braden Pimm had another good game. He seems to have been reborn under Madigan. I think Pimm is going to prove to be a valuable asset for this team. The defensive shake up also seemed to work. Dan Cornell played extremely well and probably earned himself at least a few more start. After the 3 early goals, the Huskies could play more defensive, which they did, but they also avoided sitting on the lead too much. It was good to see a Northeastern team jump out to a lead and not have the inevitable collapse. A rare occasion indeed. Rawlings deserves credit for the shutout. He answered the call. But some credit must be given to the team has a whole. It was a great defensive effort and blocking 30+ shots doesn’t happen without commitment. UNH never looked likely to score.Overall, you have to be pleased with the effort. Coach Madigan deserves a lot of credit. This team made a lot of adjustments and fixed many of the mistakes they made last week. It was a good effort and a good result for the team.

Next weekend is a big one. Away at Merrimack, then home for BC.

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Preview: Huskies at Maine

October 9, 2011


The Huskies are making the long trip up to Orono today in an attempt to get their first win.  The game starts at 1.

Photo Courtesy of Dave Luca


The Huskies have lost their last 3 games at Alfond but they will looking to break that streak today against a Black Bear team that lost 2-1 to Merrimack at home on Friday.  Maine is tipped to be one of the better teams in Hockey East so today’s result will be a good barometer for Northeastern.  The Huskies will be without Ludwig Karlsson, Cody Ferriero and Steve Quailer again. This is a big trip for the Huskies and they will need to play a lot better than they did on Friday to get something out of it.   But this team has enough talent to do that. If they stay disciplined and dont fall asleep for a period, I like their chances.

And kudos to the Doghouse guys and Doghouse alums who have made the trip up.   We were hoping to join them but our plan fell through.

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