ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Northeastern’s top line of Braden Pimm, Steve Quailer, and Cody Ferriero dominated the score sheet, accounting for all the team’s scoring in their 4-1 win over Michigan Friday night at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor.
Ferriero scored a pair of goals. Quailer added a goal and two assists, and Pimm chipped in a goal and an two assists of his own.
“Cody’s a goal scorer,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan. “Goal scorers, you don’t want them touching the puck through the first two zones. Once they enter the offensive zone, that’s where you want goal scorers touching the puck and going to the net. If you look at the great scorers, you didn’t see them touching pucks much in the neutral ice area. They just attack the net, and I thought that’s what Cody did on both goals.”
“Obviously, they were both assisted by Pimmer,” pointed out Ferriero. “He set me up on both of them. First one, he found me with a wide-open net. It was a pretty easy one. I’ve got two good linemates, and they’re finding me. I just stick the puck in the back of the net when it’s open. I can’t say enough about Pimmer and Quails.”
Northeastern did much of its scoring damage on odd-man rushes, a circumstance created frequently throughout the game.
“The coaches told us they were good in the neutral zone,” Ferriero commented on the odd-man chances. “They (Michigan) transition really well, but we also can transition really well, and we could catch them because they stay up (in the offensive zone). We made some opportunities out of it.”
After allowing the soft initial goal, Northeastern junior goaltender Chris Rawlings shut the door on the Wolverines the rest of the way, turning aside 33 Michigan shots.
“It was a goal I wanted to have back,” Rawlings said of the only Michigan tally. “I just kind of put it behind me and focused on what was ahead of me. Once it was in, you can’t have it back, right? Whenever I get scored on, I give it until the puck’s dropped at center ice. Once the puck’s dropped, then that’s it. It’s time to think about the next one. My job never changes. It’s to stop the puck every night. I’m just doing my job, giving my team a chance to win.”
By all rights, the evenly-played first period should have ended in a scoreless tie. Michigan scored the opening period’s only goal on a play that Rawlings would have loved to have back.
At 7:58, Travis Lynch took a blue line to blue line pass from Mac Bennett and skated two strides in from the right point. Lynch released a very pedestrian wrist shot that hit Rawlings’ stick and somehow slithered between the Huskies’ netminder’s pads and crept across the goal line.
“I think we started off strong,” said Michigan coach Red Berenson. “We were excited. We got the first goal. I thought they were older, stronger than we were, and that showed in most of the game.”
Northeastern was full value for their two-goal advantage over Michigan in the second period, taking a 2-1 lead after 40 minutes.
Quailer and Ferriero tallied the Huskies’ two goals in the middle period, which featured repeated three-on-two and two-on-one rushes for Northeastern.
After two failed power play attempts in the first period, the Huskies converted on their third try at 5:04 of the second period on one of those two-on-one breaks.
A sloppy line change by the Wolverines allowed Garrett Vermeesch a free passing lane to Quailer in front of the net, with Michigan netminder Shawn Hunwick pulled out of position. Quailer easily deposited his fourth goal of the season past Hunwick to knot the score, 1-1.
With only 12 seconds remaining in the second period, Pimm carried the puck deep into the right corner and bounced a backhand shot off Hunwick that caromed straight to Ferriero charging the net. Ferriero gave the Huskies their first lead, 2-1, swiping the puck into the Wolverine cage.
Northeastern continued its second period momentum, putting the game out of reach with a strong two-goal performance in the third period.
Ferriero reprised his first goal in similar fashion, banging in another fine set-up from Pimm at 4:39.
Pimm pounced on a loose puck in the crease at 17:49 of the third period to close out the scoring.
“I think we need to play…I would say grittier,” Berenson said of the Wolverines’ fifth loss in their last seven games. “We need to play better defensively, and we need to play better offensively. You can’t win games when you score one goal, but you can’t win games when you give up six. There is a fine line between offense and defense.”
Madigan saw the victory as a culmination of a process that had started one week previously.
Said Madigan, “I thought we kind of jump-started ourselves last week in the two games against Providence and Vermont. Certainly, this is an emotional win. It’s a win on the road. It’s a win in a tough venue to play in. We’ll keep building week-to-week, and we’ll use it as a positive momentum builder.”
Michigan (7-6-2, 3-5-2-1 CCHA) takes a break from action Saturday in a nod to the traditional Michigan-Ohio State football game played that day at Michigan Stadium, then hosts Union College Sunday afternoon to complete their weekend’s work.
Northeastern (4-7-2, 3-7-2 HEA) heads on to South Bend, Ind., next weekend for a two-game set with CCHA power Notre Dame.