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College Hockey:
Crowder Gets Elusive Victory for Northeastern, 5-2

Lynch Nets Three as Huskies Top UMass-Lowell

— It took more than five seasons, 169 games, and a new arena, but Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder finally got a win in Lowell.

The Huskies coach, now in his fifth season at Northeastern, had not won a game at Lowell since 1996, while he was the head coach of UMass-Lowell. Crowder won his last home game that season, at the Tully Forum, the River Hawks’ old home, beating, ironically enough, Northeastern in the first round of the Hockey East playoffs.

“I guess that’s why I left — because if it took me five years to win here, I’d have been fired anyway,” joked Crowder, who was winless in seven attempts at Lowell since joining the Huskies.

Friday night, though, that all changed as junior Chris Lynch notched a hat trick of the rare variety — a shorthanded, power-play, and empty-net goal — to pace the Huskies to a 5-2 win over the River Hawks.

“As far as our team goes, it was a big character win for us,” Crowder said. “We bent, tonight, but we didn’t break.”

Bend the Huskies did, as they let an early 3-0 lead nearly slip away, surrendering two quick goals in the second period to the River Hawks to give the Huskies one of those uncomfortable, deja vu feelings. Northeastern let slip two two-goal leads last weekend against Notre Dame.

Commenting on Lynch’s play, Crowder noted that it is what he will have to expect from his club to see success this year.

“When you have an older team, you look for guys to step up and have big games,” said Crowder, who for the last two seasons has had more underclassmen than upperclassmen in his lineup night after night. “Tonight, Lynch stepped up and that made the difference.”

Crowder told media after the game that all week he has preached that Friday’ s game at Lowell was the only game of the weekend. The Huskies will actually play a second game, hosting top-ranked Wisconsin on Saturday night, but Crowder did not want his players to even think about that game.

“I didn’t even tell the guys we were playing Wisconsin tomorrow night until just a few minutes ago,” Crowder said laughing. “We know the importance of these league games, and tonight was the most important game of the weekend for us.”

Important, too, it was for UMass-Lowell and head coach Tim Whitehead. The River Hawks entered the game riding a modest two-game winning streak, but that quickly came to a halt thanks to a slow start in the opening period.

“I thought the first shift for each line was pretty good tonight,” said Whitehead, talking about his team’s play before Northeastern’s first goal — a fluke goal that deflected off a Lowell defender. “But goals like that are going to happen and you’ve got to bounce back.”

But the River Hawks were unable to bounce back and found themselves trailing, 3-0, before they even had mustered a shot on Northeastern netminder Jason Braun (19 saves).

Northeastern’s fluke goal came at 3:29 of the opening period, when Cam McCormick (24 saves) could not make up his mind whether to poke check the puck away from an oncoming Ryan Dudgeon, or simply remain upright. He did neither, and as the puck trickled between his legs, McCormick swatted it off of a Lowell defenseman’s shin pad and into the empty net to give the Huskies an early 1-0 lead.

Dudgeon was credited with the goal on the play, being the closest player to the puck when it went into the net. It was the first goal of the rookie’s collegiate career.

At 6:49, the Huskies tallied again as the Lowell defense broke down. While on the power play, Lynch centered a pass to the slot to an untouched Willie Levesque. His shot again went off the Hawks defenseman and into the goal to extend the Huskies’ lead to 2-0.

“I couldn’t even fault Cam [McCormick] for the first two goals,” said Whitehead. “They were bounces that went off defensemen both times. Those things are going to happen.”

Things didn’t get better for the River Hawks from there. At 10:26, Ron Hainsey’s suicide pass to Yorick Trielle in the neutral zone turned into a breakaway for an alert Lynch. His shot over the glove of McCormick gave the Huskies a shorthanded goal and a 3-0 lead.

Neither club mustered another goal until halfway through the second period, when Lowell finally got on the board. While on the power play, Laurent Meunier took matters into his own hands, skating through the center zone and down the left-wing side before lifting a puck over the glove of Braun to close the gap to two at 3-1.

For Meunier, who already in the young season was named Hockey East Rookie of the Week, it was his third goal in as many games.

Just as Northeastern did when it first scored, Lowell maintained the momentum and struck again at 12:42. A strange bounce in back of the Husky net with the Hawks shorthanded led to Meunier finding Kyle Kidney alone in front of Braun. The goaltender was unable to recover and Kidney had an empty net to push the puck into to climb within a goal at 3-2.

The third period consisted of lost opportunities for Northeastern to put the game away. The Huskies power play was able to convert on a 5-on-3 man advantage when Lowell took back-to-back penalties 54 seconds apart.

Easily, Lowell’s best bid to tie the game came on the power play with nine minutes left. Meunier was set up perfectly with an open net at the left post but somehow missed the net when he pulled the trigger.

And at 13:29, the Huskies finally took advantage of Lowell penalties, as Lynch scored his second of the game. With the draw to the left of McCormick, Lynch, centering for the Huskies, pushed the puck through the legs of Lowell center Dan Fontas, moved around him, and wristed a shot through the legs of McCormick. It was the first time that Lowell allowed a goal in the third period this season.

“We were poor on faceoffs tonight,” said Whitehead. “It may seem like a little thing, but in close games [faceoffs] can mean a lot.”

Describing the goal, Lynch said it was a move that rarely works.

“I saw the way [the Lowell] center lined up on the draw and I thought I’d try to make a quick move around him,” said Lynch. “It’s a move I like to make, but it probably only works once in 100 times.”

Lowell had one more chance before the end of the game — a power play with less than three minutes remaining that led to a 6-on-4 with a pulled goaltender. But faceoffs again haunted the Hawks, as the Huskies got the initial possession each time, virtually killing the penalty and icing the game.

With 39.1 seconds remaining, Lynch completed his hat trick, launching a 150-foot bomb to the dead center of an open net to account for the 5-2 final.

It was the first time in his career that Lynch has had a three-goal game. As a matter of fact, the junior had only five goals all of last season. Through four games, he has tallied five goals this year.

The win improved Northeastern record to 3-1 (1-0 Hockey East), the best start since Crowder arrived at Northeastern in 1996. Lowell, which will travel to UNH Saturday night, dropped to 2-1 (0-1 Hockey East) on the young season.

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  • Unh

    Add to this the fact that they are hosting the Northeast Regional and I am hard-pressed to believe the committee would consider leaving Umile’s boys out.

    • pairwise rules the day

      It doesn’t work that way.

      • Anonymous

        Tell that to Mankato and St. Cloud when Wisconsin got the nod because the Regional was hosted in Wisconsin…. guess what guys it has happened…

        • http://twitter.com/blackbear93 John Forsyth

          You need to learn how the pairwise works. Who was hosting has little to do with simple math.

        • details please

          Are you talking about 2008? Wisconsin was 12th (3 seed) in the Pairwise. Not much the committee can do about that, unless they had said prior that no team with a sub-.500 record can get in.

          • Anonymous

            When it came to selection after the conference championships it was either St. Cloud or Mankato that was tied with Wisconsin and had the upper hand in head to head but they went with Wisconsin for attendance purposes… I cant remember exactly what happened but people were furious.

          • DU_Fan

            It came down to RPI, I remember it too. I believe Wisconsin did not make it to the Frozen Five, were well rested, and I think they beat us in the first game. You are absolutely correct, a lot of people were totally angered. Believe it or not, the decision was justified.

          • details please

            I replied yesterday and included a link thus my reply is being “moderated” and has yet to show up. Wisconsin was alone in 12th place in the Pairwise with 11 comparison wins. Notre Dame and Mankato were tied at 13th with 10 comparison wins each. Princeton was 16th but won the ECAC autobid so they became the 14th seed. Notre Dame won the comparison with Mankato so Mankato was out and Notre Dame go the last at large bid.

            The twist was that both Notre Dame and Mankato won their comparisons with Wisconsin. Pairwise dictated that Wisconsin was in and that’s apparently what the committee did. In his final bracketology article that year Jayson Moy correctly picked the field to include Wisconsin but also said it would be fairer to exclude Wisconsin and include Mankato. You can speculate that the committee did it for attendance purposes but they had cover in the Pairwise. They might mess with the Pairwise rules before each season and some of the regional placements might be odd but to my knowledge they have never gone against the Pairwise in picking the actual field.

          • details please

            In the final bracketology article of March 23, 2008 Wisconsin was 12th in the Pairwise. Mankato was tied at 13th with Notre Dame. Princeton was tied for 16th but won the ECAC autobid so they became the 14th seed. Thus the cut off for at-large teams was 13. Notre Dame won the RPI tie-breaker with Mankato and Mankato was the last team out. This is what Moy predicted would happen.

            The issue was that although Wisconsin had 11 comparison wins it lost comparisons with both Notre Dame and Mankato who had 10 each. Additionally, Notre Dame won the comparison with Mankato. Moy felt that Mankato should be in and Wisconsin out. But he didn’t think the committee would do it. We can speculate that it was about attendance but I tend to think it was about the committee’s strict adherence to the Pairwise.

            http://www.uscho.com/2008/03/23/bracketology-final/

    • Everthrone

      That has nothing to do with it.

    • Fan

      “Unh” i agree. If it is even close in the end, the NCAA committee will select UNH over another non-conference champ “bubble team” strictly for attendance purposes.

    • DU_Fan

      No way this will happen, it never has. Whether the selection committee wants to admit it, the final PWR determines who gets in. The only real function they have it the useless way they put teams in regionals to promote “attendance”, This continues to be a crock, always up for debate, never without some teams having a rightful gripe. If the NCAA truly cared about “integrity” they would simply take the top 4 seeds, put them at their closest sites, and put the rest by simple ranking. For example #1, #8, #9 and #16 would be in the same regional. The ONLY exception would be if any team 5-16 is a designated regional host.

      • Chrisgal

        I agree completely except for your last sentence. Need conference hosts, not individual team hosts. Attendance be damned…..

        • DU_Fan

          Sorry to disagree, Chrisgal. If it goes by conference host, what happens if there are multiple teams from same conference that qualify? An example would be if BU, BC and UNH qualify and there is a regional in Hartford. It could get very hairy especially if they were all in different quadrants (1-4,5-8,9-12,13-16). What I would like to see, that you almost agree with,would never happen for 2 reasons. First, it would do away with the selection committee and make seedings totally unbiased. Second, it would do away with Jason Moy’s Bracketology since everyone would know where teams are destined. :-) :-)

          • DU_Fan

            Meant regional in Providence, Chrisgal. Harford would be an AHA (UCONN)host.

  • http://twitter.com/blackbear93 John Forsyth

    From burgie12 over in the forum:

    “Atlantic Hockey
    Semifinal #2: Air Force defeats Holy Cross
    Semifinal #1: RIT defeats Connecticut
    Championship game: RIT defeats Air Force
    CCHA
    Semifinal #2: Miami defeats Notre Dame
    Semifinal #1: Western Michigan defeats Michigan
    Championship game: Western Michigan defeats Miami
    Consolation game: Notre Dame defeats Michigan
    ECAC
    Semifinal #2: Dartmouth defeats Cornell
    Semifinal #1: Yale defeats Colgate
    Championship game: Dartmouth defeats Yale
    Consolation game: Colgate defeats Cornell
    Hockey East
    Semifinal #2: Merrimack defeats New Hampshire
    Semifinal #1: Northeastern defeats Boston College
    Championship game: Northeastern defeats Merrimack
    WCHA
    Play-in #2: Bemidji State defeats Minnesota-Duluth
    Play-in #1: Colorado College defeats Alaska-Anchorage
    Semifinal #2: Bemidji State defeats Denver
    Semifinal #1: Colorado College defeats North Dakota
    Championship game: Bemidji State defeats Colorado College

    UNH ends 14th, with BSU, RIT, and NU all taking away at-large bids. FWIW, I get the same result (with regards to UNH’s placement, anyways) even if CC doesn’t advance past UAA, let alone beat NoDak. This is just one example of multiple similar iterations.”

    Notre Dame is safer, IMHO, based on this info from Craig P

    “The “ND out” scenario requires the following features:
    * WMU wins the CCHA and ND loses the consolation game
    * Bemidji wins the WCHA, and CC loses to UAA in their play-in—if CC wins OR if UAA wins the title, RPI is behind the Irish
    * Northeastern wins Hockey East and someone other than Yale wins the ECAC

    Outside those constraints, it doesn’t matter what happens, ND will end up 13th with four non-at-large-quality autobids.”

    UNH and Notre Dame are both in barring very bizarre results. The AHA autobid will also take a spot, meaning there are 4 spots up for grabs. BSU, UAA, Northeastern, Cornell and Colgate can only get in through the autobid process. CC, Dartmouth and WMU are on the bubble but still playing; UNO, RPI, BU and Maine are on the bubble but not playing.

    Jim Dahl has also posted his statistical analysis of the pairwise in the PWR thread in the forum as well. I think he used a computer to run through all 888 billion scenarios.
    http://bit.ly/ekR9Ka

  • Nodak201

    how about the fact the finished 2nd in the best division in all d1 hockey? yale and union? they have played NO ONE! I’d take Maine, BU, and even Northeastern over Yale and Union combined.

    • waaah

      A North Dakota fan whining? As predictable as the sun rising in the east each morning.

      • GeauxSioux

        Agreed. As a Sioux fan, let’s stop the snide comments and such. I appreciate the fact that USCHO has these boards for us to talk about hockey. It’s a shame they’ve had to shut some of them down due to the outlandish comments said by some of our fans. Apologies to all.

        • waaah

          Thank you.

        • Anonymous

          I agree to an extent… but you dont see Sioux fans bringing up off the ice incidents that have nothing to do with how the team wins/loses all the time. All arguments in college hockey are a double-edged sword. Both sides are at fault 90% of the time.

          • GeauxSioux

            Those types of comments simply need to be flagged for view by moderators and they’ll go away. Case in point the Sioux nickname article. I agree, it’s a double edged sword, but if we stop with unnecessary comments maybe others will follow our lead since we have such a strong contingent on here.

          • Crsbx

            but you dont see Sioux fans bringing up off the ice incidents that have nothing to do with how the team wins/loses all the time.

            Perhaps you are referring to the person(s) that is taunting you guys over the Sioux nickname? OK. But I wouldn’t exactly call the repeated tactic of certain members of your fan base to constantly bring up the Sioux’s past NCAA titles as having anything to do with bracketology this year. Nor does calling losses to certain teams “flukes”. Nor does complaining about starting the schedule in October. Nor does traveling. More of you need to police your own fans.

          • Jdorf40

            I’ve said repeatedly that this year the games that we played in October hurt us. And it did. You cannot dispute the fact that the series we played at Maine is hurting us now. It’s obviously hurting us a lot more losing to them as a TUC than it is for Yale to lose to St. Lawrence twice and Brown once, all in the last 20 games.
            We played 7 more games than Yale played this year overall. We started playing the first weekend in October and had lost 2 games on the road at Maine before Yale had even stepped on the ice. From the weekend that Yale started playing to right now today, the Sioux have played 31 TUC. Yale has played 15. I’m not whining about it, I’m simply stating the facts and that I don’t agree with it. I see where people get on here and say some pretty insane things, but I usually state the facts as I see them. And for Yale to be ranked ahead of UND or BC is just wrong.

          • Crsbx

            Your “facts” don’t support any meaningful conclusion.

            The series against Maine is hurting you. And it would be hurting you if you played it in November or December and lost – regardless of when you actually started your season. ND had already played one exhibition and four regular season games. How much of a warm up do you need. And frankly, you’re continuing this trend of disrespecting your opponents. Now it’s “we didn’t win because it was too early”. Come on. Maine started their season the same time you did.

            Yale started practicing after your guys started their season. In a typical year the Ivy teams have to play their first game against a team that has had weeks more practice and multiple games under their belt. That is a disadvantage. This year Yale started out by playing something called the “Ivy Shootout” to ease into the season.

          • Anonymous

            At least it has to do with hockey and the season…. bringing up Frattin’s DUI charge has nothing to do with college hockey. Past history at least is on the subject just not current.

          • Crsbx

            I agree a DUI is not relevant but past titles have nothing to do with this year and nothing to do with bracketology. That’s just reality. And yesterday some BC booster/troll said something about BC “owning” ND in past tournaments. Some Sioux poster claimed the past has no bearing on this year. And that’s true. But you can’t have it both ways.

      • Chrisgal

        waaah- Didin’t you know the sun rising in the east is part of the “eastern bias”?

    • Tonyocch1

      North Dakota, mmm? Didn`t my lowly Yale Bulldogs KNOCK them out of the tournament last year?

    • Jdorf40

      I’m a Sioux fan and I think you’re nuts. You do realize that Yale sent us packing last year correct?

  • Brass Bonanza

    UNH is out this way, you forgot the scenario of all upset conference tournament winners, including Northeastern. That puts UNH at 14, with the cut line at 13.

    Atlantic Hockey
    Semifinal #2: Air Force defeats Holy Cross
    Semifinal #1: RIT defeats Connecticut
    Championship game: RIT defeats Air Force
    CCHA
    Semifinal #2: Miami defeats Notre Dame
    Semifinal #1: Western Michigan defeats Michigan
    Championship game: Western Michigan defeats Miami
    Consolation game: Notre Dame defeats Michigan
    ECAC
    Semifinal #2: Dartmouth defeats Cornell
    Semifinal #1: Yale defeats Colgate
    Championship game: Dartmouth defeats Yale
    Consolation game: Colgate defeats Cornell
    Hockey East
    Semifinal #2: Merrimack defeats New Hampshire
    Semifinal #1: Northeastern defeats Boston College
    Championship game: Northeastern defeats Merrimack
    WCHA
    Play-in #2: Bemidji State defeats Minnesota-Duluth
    Play-in #1: Colorado College defeats Alaska-Anchorage
    Semifinal #2: Bemidji State defeats Denver
    Semifinal #1: Colorado College defeats North Dakota
    Championship game: Bemidji State defeats Colorado College

    • Jayson Moy

      Outstanding! Thanks for that one, I did not get there.

      • JB

        Your only a few days late on this. Look at the PWR thread and this about UNH has been discussed. It is a function of TUC, if Cornell goes 0-2 against Dartmouth and Colgate, Cornell stops being a TUC. If they go 0-2 against Dartmouth and Yale they stay a TUC. That is how you get UNH down to 14 then all that is needed is the correct number of upset teams winning.

    • Jdorf40

      If that happens, the world will implode.

  • Reggioave

    Once again I’m going to Hockey East this weekend…college hockey rules even though I love competition in everything.I’m a realistic Maine fan. No way does Maine get invited to the “16″ unless 4 other Hockey teams go first(BU,BC,NU,UNH,or Merrimack). They did not win the Merrimack playoffs and that is final. Good luck to all except the Boston teams.

  • Anonymous

    If Yale loses to Colgate in the ECAC tournament, they should not go. Their season’s end has been lackluster at best (when it’s arguably most competitive & most important). I don’t care about the PWR. That being said, Colgate is a long shot to overcome Yale.

    • Hockey Rocks

      Lacluster for sure. 8-2-1 in final 11 games.

  • Mr.(Always)Right

    Make it a 20-team NCAA field with 5 teams in each regional. Have the #4 play #5 on Thursday with the winner playing #1 on Friday. #2 and #3 also play on Friday. More teams play, more money for the NCAA.

    • Anonymous

      umm no there are 59 division 1 teams, 20 is way to much, thats just rewarding mediocrity

      • GeauxSioux

        Not necessarily. It’s college hockey, anyone can beat anyone at any given time, especially in a one-and-done scenario. There are a few teams that have been sliding the past few weeks and they’re still in. Also, there are teams with very few regular season wins playing well right now with the chance of getting in. You could argue a certain level of mediocrity for both situations.

        • Anonymous

          Or switch to the KRACH system which actually takes every game into consideration… rather than the PWR which is slowly resembling the BCS in inaccuracy

  • Stal102

    How is UNH on the bubble? They finished in 2nd place in the Hockey East and have an excellent record. If they make it to the finals of the HE tournament I would have to think that they would go to the tournament – its all about how you finish that determines seeding, etc – just look at the basketball committee for example. This website and fans are WAY too focused on RPI etc. Didnt you see alabama get left out of the hoops tourney? They had some better “computer numbers” than UAB for example.

    • Stevo

      Explain to me how UNH a #4 seeds hosts Miami a #1seed. We call that a stacked deck. Total BS.

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