BOSTON — Making up for last night’s crushing defeat, the Northeastern Huskies bounced back to defeat the Maine Black Bears, 5-2, in a in front of 4,323 at Matthews Arena, splitting the weekend series 1-1.
With their leading scorer Wade McLeod out on injury, 11 Huskies played a part in the victory over the Black Bears, bringing Maine’s three-game winning streak to an end.
“It was a gutsy win,” said Northeastern coach Greg Cronin. “I’m happy for our guys. We played with a lot more focus tonight. I could tell we were in a rhythm right away. We were jumping on pucks, getting shots. There was a lot of stress and pressure trying to generate offense the last few games and tonight they just let it all out.”
Things got off to a slow start in the first period. Neither team was able to put points on the board, despite several close calls for the Black Bears.
The Huskies had four minutes of power play, but were unable to capitalize on their opportunities.
The beginning of the second period was even more uneventful than the first, but with a little less than five minutes left, the pace of the game shifted.
At 15:34, Maine’s Mike Banwell shot a rocket from the blue line past Chris Rawlings for the first point of the game with the help of teammates Adam Shemansky and Kyle Beattie.
Not wanting to repeat last night’s performance, the Huskies quickly responded less than two minutes later. Just 14 seconds after Will O’Neill took a seat in the Black Bears’ penalty box, Robbie Vrolyk sneaked around the right corner of the net and put one in for the Huskies.
Short-handed by one man at the beginning of the third as Vrolyk served the remainder of his hooking penalty from the previous period, the Huskies took advantage of their opponents’ power play too. A little over a minute into the third, Huskies’ captain Tyler McNeely sent a fast pass to David Strathman, who flipped a short-handed goal past Darling to put the Huskies up 2-1.
“We were in our zone just playing the kill, there was an opportunity and we got the puck,” said Strathman. “They had too many men trapped down low and I saw an opportunity to jump in front of their forward and Tyler made a nice pass.”
At 6:49, Chris Student took an interference penalty and Bryan Flynn tied the game with an assist from Shemansky.
However, the Black Bears’ celebration was short-lived.
Less than a minute later, Alex Tuckerman lined up between the circles and fired an unassisted shot past Darling to put the Huskies up 3-2, changing the momentum of the game.
“The big difference was when they got that boost from that short-handed goal,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “The game was on (the) line going into the third, and I think that really lifted them up. After each of our goals, they struck right back and the momentum deflates. The momentum we grabbed from our goals, they snatched it right back.”
A little over 13 minutes into the period, Kyle Solomon and O’Neill were charged with minors for elbowing and roughing respectively , giving the Huskies the only five-on-three advantage of the game.
Kyle Kraemer’s shooting finally paid off as he rebounded a missed shot from Garrett Vermeersch to put it in the net for the fourth goal of night.
Two minutes later, Matt Lipinski scored his first collegiate goal with a little help from Mike McLaughlin and Steve Silva.
“Discipline was all we talked about after last night’s game,” said Cronin. “Last night, we didn’t play that bad. I didn’t dislike the way we played; I just hated our discipline. I think tonight they were more determined and focused.”
Next Friday, Maine will look to turn their luck around on their home turf against Boston College while the Huskies will try and keep their momentum going at home against Providence. Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m.