BOSTON — Now that is a senior night.
Four different Northeastern seniors scored in their final game at Matthews Arena, including captain Jason Guerriero, whose five points gave him the 2004-05 Hockey East scoring title — the first Husky to accomplish that feat in school history. Junior Mike Morris contributed six points and senior netminder Keni Gibson stopped 30 shots in NU’s 8-3 win over Massachusetts.
“It was a senior night,” Northeastern coach Bruce Crowder said. “I don’t think, in all the number senior nights I’ve been through, I’ve seen the number of guys all show up on the scoreboard and all have great games.”
Northeastern (15-16-5) owned a 4-1 lead a minute into the second period, but a UMass run made it 4-3 after two.
Then? A lethal combination of Minuteman penalties and Northeastern’s potent top line made for a rather uncomfortable 20 minutes for UMass coach Don “Toot” Cahoon.
“We got ourselves back into it, and took ourselves right back out with a lot of undisciplined play,” he said after his team fell to 13-21-4 overall, 6-16-2 HE. “They got a little bit loose and gave us a chance to take a run at them, and we did. When we made it a one goal game, we’ve gotta tighten it up and play all zones as tight and thoroughly as necessary. We weren’t able to do that. We totally unraveled in terms of the disciplined.”
Guerriero scored his second goal of the game at the 7:49 mark of the third, a power-play tally assisted by Morris and freshman Jimmy Russo to make it 5-3. Three minutes later, Russo potted his fourth goal of the year, taking a pass from Guerriero and rifling it just inside the far post.
Two minutes after that, Morris buried his second goal of the game and Northeastern’s third power-play goal. Finally, with ten seconds left to play, senior Jon Awe added another power play tally to make it 8-3. Fittingly, Gibson assisted on the goal.
“For two periods, I don’t think we played very well,” Crowder said. “I thought UMass had the jump, we just got lucky on some shots. I thought we played a lot smarter period (in the third).”
Guerriero scored the game’s first goal, taking a pass from Russo behind the net and snapping it over the glove of Minuteman goalie Gabe Winer (19 saves). Fellow senior Jared Mudryk made it 2-0 at the 6:45 mark, taking a pass from sophomore center Bryan Esner and beating Winer gloveside.
Five minutes later, UMass defenseman Jeff Lang slipped a power-play rebound past Gibson to cut the lead in half.
Northeastern senior defenseman Tim Judy answered with a power-play goal of his own, beating Winer on a wrist shot to the glove side with :59 left in the opening frame. Little more than a minute into the second period, Morris scored to make it 4-1.
UMass made it 4-3 with a pair of power-play goals in the second period. With 13:36 left in the period, junior Stephen Werner fired a rebound past Gibson for his 14th goal of the year. Five minutes later, junior defenseman Marvin Degon sent a slapshot through Gibson’s legs to pull the Minutemen within one.
They didn’t get closer — thanks in large part to Guerriero.
“He’s an All-American, and if he’s not, it’s gonna be a crime,” Crowder said of the 5-8, 180-pound center who led the league with 34 points. “He just does so much for us. He’s been just absolutely fantastic.
“He’s a great player,” Crowder added. “He’s gonna go down as one of the all-time greatest players in Northeastern history. He and Keni are the two guys that came in and were co-MVPs last year as far as the team goes. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were co-MVPs again this year. They’ve both been tremendous assets to this university.”
Both teams found out where they’d be playing next week. With a Boston University win over New Hampshire, Northeastern will travel to Durham, N.H. starting Thursday to face the Wildcats. UMass, on the other hand, will visit top-seeded Boston College starting Friday night.
“They’re a great team, and the favorite I would say,” Cahoon said with a smirk.