BOSTON — The two-minute drill was the key Saturday to Northeastern’s defeat (8-7-2) of Iona (7-7-2), 7-2, in the two teams’ first-ever meeting.
Northeastern (8-7-2) scored two goals in a two-minute period of time on three separate occasions in the night. Chris Lynch had four points for the Huskies while Mike Ryan added two goals in the winning effort.
Northeastern wasted no time as junior Mike Ryan beat Iona netminder Mike Fraser top shelf at 1:25.
Less than a minute after the Ryan goal, freshman Jon Awe blasted a slap shot from the point beating Fraser at 1:55.
The Huskies never let up in the period, and their shot total was more than double that of Iona (7-7-2), a good indication of the Huskies’ dominance offensively as well as defensively.
“Credit where credit is due, Northeastern played a great game tonight,” said Iona coach Frank Bretti. “They came out with the two quick goals, and you never want to start a game like that against a team from a strong [conference].”
Northeastern’s success against nonconference foes has been very encouraging for Huskies coach Bruce Crowder.
“It’s good to see the guys go out there and win games like this,” said Crowder. “These games are the sometimes tougher to coach than a Hockey East game.”
Northeastern made the score 3-0 at 16:31 when Leon Hayward and Brian Tudrick went in two on one. Haward found Tudrick on Fraser’s weak side and Tudrick put away the puck for his first goal of the season.
“Finally,” said Tudrick. “It’s been a while and it’s about time I put one in the net.”
Then, for the second time in the game Northeastern scored two goals in less than two minutes. Scott Selig found the back of the net to bring the score to 4-0 in favor.
At that juncture, Bretti opted to replace Fraser in favor of Scott Galenza. The freshman goaltender has seen the balance of Iona’s games with a 3-5-1 record and a 3.41 goals against average.
The Gaels were forced onto the penalty kill to start the second period, as Andrew Segal received a game misconduct and a five minute hitting-from-behind penalty at the end of the first. Their efforts paid off in killing the major penalty, keeping Northeastern off the board.
At 7:09 Northeastern’s Chris Lynch found Eric Ortlip on a breakout to bring the score to 5-0.
Struggling to set up offensively the balance of the evening, the Gaels hit paydirt while on the power play at 16:15. Kelly Bararuk deflected a shot by Erik Nates to get on the board.
The first goal got things started for the Iona.
“Our power play has been really suffering this year,” said Bretti. “We changed a few things up this week in practice and they worked out for us.”
At 18:51 Rob Kellogg cleaned up a mess in front of Northeastern goaltender Keni Gibson for the Gaels’ second goal of the contest.
While momentum seemed to be favoring Iona entering the third, the Huskies’ Ryan had other things in mind. Ryan needed only 30 seconds to post his second goal of the night and his 13th of the season.
Lynch also added to the Huskies total, beating Galenza at 1:57. Once again, Northeastern notched two goals in two minutes.
“The points are good, but the win is what I am concerned about,” said Lynch, whose scoring (19) this year has already surpassed his total for last year (18).
The Huskies maintained their strong play through the third. While on the power play, the Gaels were unable to set up due to strong forechecking by the Huskies’ Hayward and Tudrick.
“Leon [Hayward] and I play off of each other really well and we are able to read what players are going to do,” said Tudrick. “We’ve been playing well and hope we can continue through the rest of the year.”
NU’s success against nonconference foes has been strong, at 6-2-1. The team, however, doesn’t seem to care who its adversary will be next.
“We used to have the standings in our locker room from all the different leagues,” said Lynch. “This year we took them down and said, you know what, it doesn’t matter who we are playing. The 22 guys in the other locker room are fighting for the same thing we are, a win.”
Northeastern will head north to take on Union (4-5-3) on December 29, while Iona will face Colgate (3-10-0) in the new year.