BOSTON — It was a game best described by Northeastern Coach Greg Cronin as “A trap game.”
No. 10 Northeastern (6-1-2, 4-1-1 HEA) prevailed over the Bentley Falcons (1-4-0, 0-2-0 AHA) 4-1 in front of 3,354 pot-and-pan wielding fans. Bentley gave Northeastern all they could handle, but the Huskies proved too strong.
Bentley was a fill-in for this game.
“Brown was supposed to play us and Brown and I had a miscommunication.” Cronin explained, “I thought we were going down to play Brown after we played Maine at home here. The league was going through the schedule and called and said ‘Greg, Brown has a game against RPI or something the night you’re supposed to be playing them.’ So I called down there and he said ‘Oh jeez, I didn’t think it was going to be a home-and-home.’ So it was a lack of communication, so I scrambled because I didn’t want to have one game short.”
Northeastern nabbed the early lead when defenseman Jim Driscoll sent the puck around the boards to Alex Tuckerman behind the net. Tuckerman passed the puck to Steve Quailer, who buried it past Bentley goalie Kyle Rank.
Northeastern added to their lead at 4:13 of the second period when Tyler McNeely scored his fourth of the season. Mike Hewkin drove a hard slap shot to the net and Rank made the initial save, but the puck went into the slot, where McNeely picked it up and sent it past the sprawled Rank.
Bentley made things interesting in the third when at 10:59 Erik Peterson scored his first of the year. The play started when Huskies’ goalie Brad Thiessen left his own net to play the puck. Thiessen tried to shoot it past Peterson, but Peterson was able to knock it down. As Thiessen hurried back towards his net, Peterson went in all alone, took the puck to his backhand and put it past Thiessen.
“I’ll be honest with you, I was nervous because when he went out to play it both ‘D’ were in front of him and that’s scary because usually the last option is he checks off the ‘D’ in front of him and then he can just throw it behind him,” Cronin said. “But both of the ‘D’ got lazy going back because they are so confident in his ability to play the puck that he had to throw it through a guy.”
Less than a minute later, the Huskies got the two-goal lead back when Joe Vitale and McNeely came in two-on-one and Vitale fired a shot from the hash marks past Rank blocker side.
Vitale was helped by an equipment change.
“My parents brought up my old shoulder pads and shin guards this weekend,” he said. “I had been kind of struggling so I got an emergency call to my Mom a couple days ago I said ‘You need to come up this weekend and give me my old shoulder pads and shin pads,’ and sure enough she was on the first flight. So I got my old shouldies, old shinnies back and felt like myself for once so hopefully I’ll keep it rolling.”
Late in the game Bentley pulled Rank but Wade MacLeod got an empty-net goal to seal the win.
Northeastern travels to Vermont next Friday while Bentley is at Mercyhurst for a pair of games.