BOSTON — Three weekends. Three ranked teams. Seven points.
Friday night, the Northeastern Huskies (11-9-3, 4-5-2 HEA) knocked off yet another nationally-ranked opponent in a 5-3 victory. This time, the victim was number-three UMass-Lowell (16-4-1, 8-3-1 HEA) in front of a crowd of 2,514 at Matthews Arena.
At 2:44 of the third, freshman Jared Mudryk put away the game winner for Northeastern after a series of shifty moves and a wrister past Lowell netminder Jimi St. John.
Brian Tudrick, Chris Lynch and Jim Fahey each had two points for the Huskies, while Chris Gustafson added two assists for the River Hawks.
Northeastern struck first, while on the power play at 7:59. Jason Guerriero put home a rebound off of a stuff attempt by Chris Lynch.
Northeastern made the score 2-0 on a wrist shot by Brian Tudrick at 15:32 in a failed attempt by Lowell to clear the defensive zone.
For the third time in the period Northeastern went on the power play at 16:57, with Josh Reed in the box for hauling down Scott Selig, who was going in one-on-one on St. John. While the Huskies were unable to convert on the chance, Lowell’s frustration was showing.
The first period saw the scoring end with the Huskies on top of the River Hawks, 2-0.
Northeastern did a quality job of not letting Lowell set up throughout the first. The Huskies were not, however, as fortunate in the second.
“I really thought it was a tale of two games tonight for us,” said Northeastern coach Bruce crowder. “We played well in the first, let up in the second and really came together in the third.”
Lowell coach Blaise MacDonald mirrored Crowder’s statement, saying “I thought we played really well in the second, but that was it. They are a great team and really took it to us in the first and third. When you are on the road you need to play well in the neutral zone and put away the puck, we just couldn’t get it done.”
Lowell got on the board at 3:49 as Northeastern failed to clear the zone. An errant pass found the stick of Peter Hay all alone in front of Huskies netminder Keni Gibson, and he stuffed the puck in.
It was Lowell’s turn on the power play at 5:42 with Jaron Herriman in the box for tripping. Lowell connected on the chance after a series of cross-ice passes, with Ed McGrane putting home a one-timer that ricocheted off the post, then the crossbar, before beating Gibson.
“There were a few in the second that I wish I could have back,” said Gibson. “As a goaltender you’re supposed to make at least two big saves a period, and I should have had at least one of the goals.”
The second period saw most of the momentum favoring Lowell. The River Hawks scored their third tally of the period at 10:15 with a two-on-one breakaway. Lowell’s Tom Rouleau connected with Geoff Schomogyi coming in backdoor on Gibson. Schomogyi put home the shot on a wide open net as Gibson failed to get back on his weak side.
“After the second I basically just told the guys to start making plays,” said Crowder. “We just weren’t getting anything done.”
Northeastern wasted little time in the third as Leon Hayward scored off of a rebound by a shot by Jon Awe at 1:58. Hayward’s fourth goal of his senior season brought the scoring even at three a piece.
Less than a minute later Northeastern scored again with Mudryk, who weaved his way past the defenders in front of the crease and putting a shot right past St. John.
With 2:36 left, Lowell got a power-play chance as Eric Ortlip was in the box for high sticking. Lowell opted to pull St. John with two minutes left in the game. Instead of Lowell getting the tally with the six-on-four advantage, it was a backhand shot off the glass from the opposite end of the ice by Fahey that sealed the game for the Huskies.
“We’re getting the bounces,” said Fahey. “We have been really grinding hard all year and now we are starting to get the bounces.”
The two teams will square off again at the Tsongas Arena in Lowell on Sunday at 7 p.m.