BOSTON — When asked what one word would describe the Huskies of Northeastern thus far this season, coach Bruce Crowder replied, “Mysterious.”
The “mysterious” Huskies (4-6-2, 2-4-1 HEA) defeated the St. Lawrence Saints (2-5-0, 1-2-0 ECAC) in their second 4-1 win of the weekend.
“This is a mysterious team this year. It’s still November and they have been fooling me a bit,” said Crowder. “I hope they keep doing this, I like this team.”
Five minutes would be all that Northeastern needed for the victory, as Eric Ortlip of Northeastern scored the game-winning goal at 16:04 of the first while on the power play.
The Saints came into tonight’s matchup pulling off the late comeback in overtime against Providence in the post-Turkey Day affair. St. Lawrence left Providence with an overtime win with six seconds left in the extra session.
“The fact that we have played seven of our first nine games on the road is really tough,” said St. Lawrence coach Joe Marsh, “The Providence game definitely was a battle, but didn’t affect how we came out tonight.”
Northeastern got things started at 4:47 when freshman Jaron Herriman collected his own rebound and from the back of the net, was able to find a trailing Jon Awe, who shot a laser from the point for his first collegiate goal.
Awe would later bring his point total to two when his slapshot was buried by Ortlip at 16:04.
St. Lawrence would get on the board at 17:57 when a rebound found the tape of Blair Clarance, who put home the bouncer to the left of Braun.
The balance of the first period was controlled by the Huskies. A combination of strong forechecking and sound defense, St. Lawrence was unable to develop any sort of flow. The Huskies excelled at finding players breaking out of their own zone, which lead to several fruitful opportunities.
St. Lawrence came out with the physical play it is noted for, and was able to control while the puck was in the corners. The size of Northeastern lost it some of these matchups, but assistant captain Chris Lynch believed that the Northeastern used its size well.
“They were definitely a bigger team and very physical,” said Lynch, who added three helpers for the Huskies. “I don’t think they used it to their advantage well and we were able to capitalize.”
Coach Crowder added, “It really isn’t the size of the dog that matters, it’s the size of their heart that matters. Tonight, we had the bigger heart.”
St. Lawrence started the second with looks of determination as its physical play stepped up. The team seemed to have responded to the coach’s remarks in the locker room.
“I just told the guys to stick to what we have been doing,” said Coach Marsh. “We ended the first strong and I told them to compete that much harder.”
The one stand out in the contest with the fact that only four penalties were called all game. Northeastern had a chance in the second up a man with Clarance in the box for hooking.
Northeastern was only able to find the goal pipe as Mike Ryan’s shot zinged past St. Lawrence goaltender Kevin Ackley when he found himself all alone.
“We got a lot of really nice chances in the second and if the puck bounces our way one or two different times, we’re up by three or four,” said Crowder.
In the later stages of the second, Huskies netminder Jason Braun was peppered with 13 shots and turned them all away. The physical, dump and chase style that St. Lawerence came with was leaving the Huskies on their heels. They did, however, escape maintaining the 2-1 lead.
It was all Northeastern in the third. At 5:54 in the third, Jared Mudryk put a loose puck in front of Ackley in the back of the net for his first collegiate tally, a goal that meant a lot to the Freshman who was recruited for his scoring prowess.
“It’s a big monkey off my back,” said Mudryk. “It was nice to finally score a goal. The coach, players and fans have been really supportive of me. Looking up and watching those guys go crazy in the Dog House meant a lot to me.”
Less than a minute later Mike Ryan cleaned up the mess in the front of the net after a feed from Jason Guerriero to make the score 4-1 in favor of the Huskies. Scoring would end with Ryan’s tally.
“We’re a work in progress,” said Coach Marsh. “We need to take out of a lot of those unforced errors and we’re a much better team. We’re still really trying to find our personality this year.”
“Hopefully this will start the tide for us,” said Lynch. “We’ve got the team all on the same page, now we just need to put it all together and get a stretch of wins together.”
Northeastern will travel to Princeton (2-5-0, 2-3-0 ECAC) on Tuesday, Nov. 27th for the mid-week contest, while St. Lawrence will face ECAC rival Harvard (3-4-1, 3-2-1 ECAC) on the 30th at Bright Arena in Cambridge, Mass.
Notes: Northeastern goaltender Mike Gilhooly will be out for an undetermined amount of time after suffering an ankle injury in practice prior to the game. He will keep it wrapped for the weekend, and x-rays taken Monday will determine the extent of the injury.