BOSTON — Northeastern goalie Mike Gilhooly hadn’t seen any significant action since some garbage time in a 7-2 loss to Maine earlier in the month. But he showed little rust in making 31 saves in a 3-2 victory over Massachusetts.
“I really was surprised I got the start,” Gilhooly said. “But I’ve been working hard in practice and Coach showed a lot of faith in me.”
The senior goalie had to stand up to a third-period onslaught to secure a weekend split for the Huskies. He made 13 saves in the period, including a myriad of point-blank stops in the last two minutes with UMass on the power play.
“That was pretty hairy,” Gilhooly said. “I didn’t know how much time was left — I just really [bore] down.”
Meanwhile, UMass coach Don Cahoon refused to be negative after his team outshot Northeastern 33-21.
“I thought we outchanced them considerably,” Cahoon said. “That’s the best we’ve played. It was just puck luck tonight. If I had one complaint it would be to shoot the puck a little bit better.”
Unfortunately for the Minutemen, Gilhooly stood tall and a 3-2 NU lead after two periods turned final.
Freshman Jon Santilli got the game winner on the Huskies’ third power play of the game. Tim Judy slid a back-door pass to Santilli for an odd-angle one-timer past Gabe Winer.
“That was a huge goal for us,” NU coach Bruce Crowder said.
“I got a great feed from Timmy,” Santilli said. “I had a lot of net to work with.”
The goal followed just three minutes after Trevor Reschny got the equalizer.
Reschny made a pretty one-on-one move to get the goal at 14:03. Jason Herriman hit Reschny behind the UMass defense and the junior did the rest, cutting across the circle and beating Winer shortside.
After only four shots in the first period, Northeastern took advantage of three second-period power plays to jumpstart its offense.
Moments after Mike Warner gave UMass a lead, a Sean Regan interference penalty gave the Huskies an extra man. NU was able to pressure the UMass crease for the first time in the period but failed to score.
UMass didn’t wait long to erase a 1-0 deficit in the second period. Donny Grover lost the handle in his own zone and Matt Anderson took advantage, taking the puck behind the net and feeding Greg Mauldin in front for the goal.
The Minutemen took the lead at 10:30 of the second when Tim Turner skated down the right wing and fed a slashing Mike Warner for a deke to the backhand and the goal.
But the lead would be shortlived.
Gilhooly did his part, making 10 saves in the period, including a glove save on Marvin Degon’s left-circle blast.
“You make a save like that and every save comes a lot easier,” Gilhooly said.
The first period saw a dominant fusion of offense and defense by UMass. The Minutemen generated eight shots on goal in the period, including a pair of good looks from high-scoring defenseman Thomas Pock.
But Gilhooly was impenetrable in the first, stopping all eight shots. Meanwhile, the Huskies did little to help their netminder for the first 18 minutes, in which they generated just one shot.
Judy hit the inside post on a blast from the point near the halfway mark, but Northeastern didn’t register another shot until a two-on-one with under a minute to play.
Eric Ortlip fed Jared Mudryk for a one-timer that he pushed just wide. But Mudryk dug the puck out of the ensuing scrum and fed Brian Swiniarski on the crease for a low shot past Winer (18 saves).