College Hockey:
Northeastern Huskies Struggle Early, Ultimately Prevail

Huskies Extend Unbeaten Streak to Seven

— With the Northeastern Huskies moving up to No. 16 in the USCHO.com poll, the expectations are always rising for the young squad.

Taking on Brown University at Matthews Arena in Boston, the Huskies came out struggling. Brown came out and scored two in the first, the Huskies battled back with two of their own in the second, and in the third Northeastern took a lead before Brown again evened the score.

Finally, another lead change with five minutes remaining was the difference as the Huskies held on, 4-3. The win extends the Huskies unbeaten streak to seven games, their longest since 1997.

Brown came out flying in the first period with fast skating and hard hitting. They took a lead when Sean Hurley put the puck into a wide open net after Brad Thiessen made the initial save on both Jeff Prough and Chris Poli, but the puck bounced right to Hurley who made no
mistake finding the netting. It was the first of three power-play goals on the night.

“The [power-play unit] has been struggling as of late, but it’s a good group of guys. They worked the puck, we got some talent there and they gave us an opportunity tonight” Brown coach Roger Grillo said.

Brown struck the back of the net again when captain Sean Hurley shot a puck on net that was deflected by Chris Poli over the shoulder of Brad Thiessen. David Robertson set up Hurley who did a great job waiting for an opening before finally taking the shot on net.

“I didn’t think we played that great in the first period, I thought we played okay, but we capitalized on a couple of chances,” Brown coach Roger Grillo said after the game.

The Huskies went into the locker room down by a score of 2-0. It was the second time in the last two games they were losing by that margin; in the middle frame they came out on a mission.

Blasting 17 shots on net in the period the Huskies dominated the play the entire period and finally found the back of the net when Steve Silva deflected a Drew Muench shot from the point.

“I won it back to Drew [Muench] and I just went to the net, he put it on the ice, I was in good position and just tipped it in,” said Silva.

“Goals always stimulate a team, we got that first goal it really woke us up. And the fact that the crowd was so strong and vocal, I think that really energized our team. I gotta be frank with you, I don’t know if we win that game if it’s in an away building. Our crowd was really vocal, it was very uplifting for our group” Northeastern coach Greg Cronin said of the loud 3,059 on hand.

A little over five minutes later Steve Silva struck again when he put in a hard fought rebound behind Brown net minder Mark Sibbald who was making his first start of the season. Also in the scrum and collecting assists were Ryan Ginand and Kyle Kraemer.

The second period however was marked by a plethora of penalties taking 10 between the two teams including four hitting after the histle calls during a scrum where punches were thrown after Sibbald made a save.

With the score tied 2-2 going into the third it didn’t take long for the Huskies to move on top, Jimmy Russo continued his goal streak to two games. Russo took a pass from Kyle Kraemer and turned on the jets streaking past defensemen Mike Stuart who got caught turning around and wasn’t able to catch Russo. Sibbald made the initial save on Russo but he corralled his own rebound and put it by a sprawled Sibbald.

Brown added their third power play strike of the night when Sean Muncy took a shot from the point that beat a screened Brad Thiessen,David Robertson collected the assist.

The game seemed destine for overtime the Huskies decided to win in regulation. Denis Chisholm scored his first goal of the year when he took a shot from the point that beat a screened Mark Sibbald. Jimmy Russo collected his second point with the assist and Randy Guzior added his first point of the game.

After they took the lead the Huskies went to lock down mode and protected the lead though Brown did threaten a number of times after pulling Sibbald for the extra attacked. It was the fourth one goal win of the season for Northeastern (they added an empty net goal versus
Vermont which made that a two goal game).

“[Sibbald] has been great in practice, he’s a heck of a goalie and a great kid so I thought it was an opportunity for him to play . . . te played great I have no complaints with him at all.

Brad Thiessen made 24 saves in the evening while Mark Sibbald made an impressive 37 in his season debut. The power play for Brown was a very impressive 3-6, NU went 0-5 with the extra man. Next up for the Huskies is another ECAC foe, Union, next Saturday in New York. Brown
takes on in-state rival Providence College Tuesday evening in Providence.

“I told the team at the end of the game, if you give up three power-play goals in a game, you’re very lucky to win a hockey game, and we did that tonight. We were fortunate come out of here with a win.” Greg Cronin said.

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