Northeastern-UNH: Wildcats Take Three Of Four Points, Huskies Show Grit

TJ FergusonCorrespondent INovember 3, 2008

The home and home series didn't exactly go the way the No. 9 Northeastern University Huskies hoped it would.  After winning twice at No. 6 University of New Hampshire Wildcats last season, it didn't seem too foreign an idea that NU might be able to win there again.

After a scoreless first period on Friday night, James van Riemesdyk scored a power play goal six minutes into the second period.  A centering pass was deflected at goalie Brad Thiessen who, while sliding across the crease, kicked the puck right to van Riemsdyk. Peter LeBlanc and Bobby Butler were credited with assists on the play.

UNH added to its lead just 2:26 later.  Butler scored the goal while Jerry Pollastrone and LeBlanc were credited with assists.

Northeastern managed to get on the board before the end of the period while on the power play.  Alex Tuckerman scored at 16:18 off a Steve Quailer feed, cutting the Wildcat lead in half.

Greg Costa evened up the score for the Huskies with a wrap-around goal at 14:56 in the third period, Chris Donovan was credited with the assist.

Shortly thereafter, at 17:05, UNH notched the game winner off the stick of Phil DeSimone.  The assist was credited to van Riemsdyk.

UNH finished up the scoring with an empty net goal by Mike Sislo at 19:30.

After the 4-2 loss, it seemed as though the weekend series might end with each side earning a win on their own ice.

Saturday's scoreline started the same way it did the previous night as UNH scored the first two, then NU tied the game.  That's where it ended, however, as the Huskies earned a come-from-behind 2-2 tie.

Paul Thompson netted the opening goal in the first period, at 9:33.  Alan Thompson and Steve Moses were credited with the assists.

After the start of the second period, LeBlanc didn't wait to long to score the game's second goal just 4:51 into the period. Butler and Moses were credited with the assists.

At 17:20, Tyler McNeeley put the Huskies on the board with a power-play goal off assists from Tuckerman and David Strathman.

Just 38 seconds later, UNH took another penalty and on the ensuing power play, Ryan Ginand scored the game-tying goal with assists going to Strathman and Wade MacLeod.

The third period and overtime saw no goals, but plenty of scrappy aggressive play, not to mention a bunch of penalties.

The highlight of the third period saw a fight breakout between the two squads at 9:02.

As the third period was winding down, Northeastern was called for a hand full of borderline penalties, while UNH didn't get called for anything. The penalties on Northeastern were dumb penalties and most of them probably were warranted, but the difference in penalty minutes between both sides was not attributed to sportsmanship and clean play by the Wildcats.

After the scuffle, Northeastern was given four penalties, while UNH was just given one, however, this penalty came after time had expired in the overtime period, van Riemsdyk cross-checked a Husky in the face mask.

This weekend marked the end of the Northeastern's season-opening six-game unbeaten streak and also the first two times the Huskies have trailed by two or more goals at any point.

Yet again, the Huskies were outshot; the total for the weekend was 82-53.

After the weekend, Northeastern (4-1-1) remains in first place in Hockey East, three points ahead of Boston College (3-1-0) and UNH (2-0-2).

BC and Boston University remain the No. 2 and No. 3-ranked teams in the nation, respectively.  They are also the only teams to receive first place votes other than No. 1 Colorado College in the College Sports Poll.

UNH moved up one spot to No. 5 while NU dropped one spot to 10th.

The University of Vermont fell two spots to 16 after being trounced by BU this weekend.

The University of Massachusetts at Amherst joined the top 20 coming in at No. 19.

The Northeastern Huskies have just one game next weekend as they host the Bentley University Falcons Saturday, Nov. 8th at 7 p.m. in Matthews Arena in Boston, Massachusetts.