TROY, N.Y. — Freshman Ray Ortiz scored two goals — including the game-winner — and added an assist to lead Northeastern past Colgate, 6-4, in the first round of the 53rd Annual Rensselaer/HSBC Holiday Tournament at the Houston Field House Sunday afternoon.
The three-game win streak is the Huskies’ longest since Nov. 23-30, 2002, when NU reeled off wins over Quinnipiac, St. Lawrence and Clarkson.
“I thought we got off to a good start, but played poorly on faceoffs which led to a couple of goals,” said NU coach Bruce Crowder. “Overall, I think we played a solid game and executed well in the second period. I was most pleased with the third period. We didn’t allow the other team to score in the third for the third game in a row and played smart hockey to protect our lead.”
Ortiz wasn’t the only player to record three points. Both Jason Guerriero and Mike Morris had a goal and two assists. Steve Sanders had a goal and an assist and Yale Lewis had two helpers. The six-goal output by NU was its highest since falling to Boston University, 7-6, on Nov. 1, 2002.
The Husky defense limited the Raiders to 18 shots, including three in the final 20 minutes. It was the third straight game, Northeastern held its opponent to five shots or fewer in the final stanza.
Freshman Aaron Moore opened up the floodgates in the first period with his first career goal at the 1:37 mark. Moore stuffed in his own rebound after collecting a feed from Ortiz. In each of the last five games a Husky skater has registered his first collegiate goal.
Just over a minute later Colgate’s Joey Mormina snapped Keni Gibson’s shutout streak at 131 minutes and 33 seconds. Kyle Doyle won a faceoff at the left circle in the Husky zone and sent the puck back to Mormina, who ripped a slapshot past Gibson’s stick side. The goal also snapped NU’s seven-game streak of holding opponents scoreless in the first 20 minutes of play.
Ortiz answered for the Huskies with a power-play goal at 7:14 of the first to put NU ahead 2-1. Ortiz wristed a shot past CU goalie David Cann, beating him glove side, from the slot. Steve Birnstill and Lewis assisted on the play.
The Raiders responded with two unanswered goals to take a 3-2 advantage into the first intermission. Kyle Wilson tied the game at 2 with a power-play goal at 15:05. Wilson was left open at the far post and fired the puck home. Just 42 seconds later, Justin Spencer lofted a wrist shot from right point over Gibson’s right shoulder. Dave Thomas had won a face off and sent the puck back to Spencer who managed to beat the screened goalie.
The Huskies held a 10-8 shot advantage after the first period.
Morris tallied his second goal of the season on 5-on-3 power play to tie the game at 4 two minutes into the second period. Tim Judy sent the puck from the point to Guerriero in the low post. Guerriero quickly sent the puck across the crease to Morris, who one-timed the puck into the open net.
Colgate regained the lead seven minutes later on a power-play goal by Mormina at 9:25 of the second. Mormina took a pass from Kyle Doyle along the left boards and rifled a shot over Gibson’s left shoulder.
This time the Huskies potted two unanswered goals to end the period and take a one-goal edge into the intermission. Sanders scored his second goal in as many games finishing nifty passing play from Guerriero and Morris with 7:11 remaining in the second. Ortiz gave gave NU a 5-4 lead 24 seconds later on a partial breakaway.
Jon Awe hit Ortiz with a crisp pass as he was speeding up the ice. With a Colgate defender draped over his back, Ortiz skated in on Cann. The goalie went down as Ortiz neared the net and Ortiz managed to flip a backhander over Cann and into the net.
Guerriero provided NU with a pretty insurance goal with 9:32 left in the contest. Morris took a pass from Sanders and dished the puck to Guerriero for a breakaway. The speedster went hard toward the net, drawing Cann to the center of the crease before lifting a backhander into the top-left corner.
NU’s third straight win improves the Huskies’ record to 3-9-2, while Colgate slips to 7-7-2. Northeastern will play the winner of Mercyhurst/Rensselaer in the tournament championship Monday night at 7 p.m.