BOSTON — The Northeastern Huskies haven’t lost in their last five outings, a feat not been matched by a Huskies’ squad since the 2004-05 season. The Huskies gained four points in Hockey East this weekend, beating the UMass-Lowell Riverhawks by a score of 2-1 at Matthews Arena in Boston in front of 2,237 fans. Freshmen Steve Silva scored both goals for the Huskies.
Lowell took the lead in the first period when Scott Campbell buried a centering pass from Mike Potacco, who was behind the net. Campbell got the puck and shot it over the blocker side shoulder of Thieseen.
Silva netted the first of his career before the first period was up, backhanding in a pass from Chad Costello while on a power play.
At 5:21 of the second, the Huskies took the lead for good. In a textbook style goal, Costello fed Ryan Ginand behind the net, Ginand then moved across the back of the net and fed a centering pass to Silva, who one-tapped it behind Nevin Hamilton.
“Ginand made a great pass to me right in the slot and I just slipped it right through the beaver,” Silva said after the game, “Ginand made such a good pass I didn’t have to move my stick, I just kind of redirected it to the side.”
The line of Costello-Silva-Ginand, who were playing their first game together combined for six points in the game.
“We’re just moving our feet, we’re cycling the puck, and I think we got pretty good chemistry,” said Ginand. “Coach changed the lines a few times to try to see who clicked. I guess were clicking now.”
“They were very good, they’re fun to watch, and what happens is when they get the puck down low and they create space for themselves, all three of them are creative and they’re quick and they’ve got good sense,” coach Greg Cronin said. “They are able to make exciting offensive plays. That line was a go-to line tonight”.
After the game Costello was asked if he expected this line to stick together, “I don’t know, but you’d think so, but I am not the coach but that’s the thing about our team, I can play with anybody. All the guys are on the same page. Every line, every guy, they’re all just plugging away, so it makes it a lot easier.”
The Huskies seemed content to sit on the one-goal lead, and they turned away a variety of chances from the Riverhawks. Thiessen shut the door, making 12 saves during the third period, and the Huskies’ defense did a great job of clearing the puck out of the zone.
One key to the Huskies’ success was the fact that they kept Lowell off the board during their seven power play chances.
“[The Penalty Kill] is all goaltending and it’s our defensemen,” Cronin commented after the game. “We had a good group of defensemen who like to block shots; we blocked a lot of shots. And something that I think that really goes unrecognized is that we’re clearing the puck well. We’re getting the puck out of the zone and changing it up. We have a really good rhythm on the PK.”
Northeastern currently sits in first place in Hockey East for the first time in Cronin’s tenure.
“I think Northeastern is in a place they deserve to be at this point,” Lowell head coach Blaise McDonald said after the game. “They’re playing well, first place in Hockey East, and they positively took it to us for 40 minutes.”
“What I think happened is that we started to buckle down,” said Cronin. “If you look at this streak, we have had low scoring games. After New Hampshire beat us 7-4, it kind of woke us up. We can’t play run-and-gun games with people; we gotta manage a game plan that’s stingy and difficult to play against, and I think we have tried to create that personality and we’ve done pretty well with it.”