BOSTON — In a sloppy, error-filled game, Northeastern and Massachusetts-Lowell tied 4-4 at Matthews Arena on Friday night, snapping UML’s nine-game winning streak, just one game shy of a program record.
Neither coach was particularly impressed or pleased with his team’s performance. Lack of execution, especially on the defensive end, seemed to be the theme of the night, as the Riverhawks battled back from a two-goal deficit in the third period to salvage the tie.
“Disappointed that we gave up a two-goal lead,” Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said. “The effort was there, [but] we can’t have lapses for a few minutes and we have to find a way to close out a game.”
While the end of the game featured plenty of chances and big hits, both teams slogged through the early going without generating much in the way of offense, each opting to wait things out and grind in the corners.
In the final minutes of the first period, however, the game came to life.
Joseph Pendenza missed a wide-open net after Huskies’ goalie Bryan Mountain (41 saves) left a juicy rebound in the middle of the slot.
Mountain struggled with rebounds throughout and eventually, they would come back to haunt him.
At 4:30 into the second period and with NU up 1-0, freshman AJ White stuffed the puck over the goal line after Mountain spilled a rebound right onto the doorstep. It was White’s first career goal, tying the game 1-1.
Another lapse, this one far more glaring, gave Lowell the lead at 6:48. Chad Ruhwedel rifled a shot from center ice past Mountain, who never saw the puck coming.
It was not a pretty night for the Riverhawks’ Doug Carr, either. Rookie Kevin Roy ripped two wristers (both assisted by Vinny Saponari) past Carr to give the Huskies a 3-2 lead, but the second goal triggered UML coach Norm Bazin to pull Carr from the game.
“Doug’s been stellar for us for a year-and-a-half and today, he was off,” Bazin explained. “Everybody has a bad day and his was possibly today.”
Replacing Carr (14 saves) was Brian Robbins, seeing his first game action of the season – Connor Hellebuyck was injured and unavailable.
Robbins performed admirably, making 14 saves of his own in 28 minutes.
The lone goal on Robbins came 1:31 into the third period. A Cody Ferriero shot dribbled through Robbins’ pads, allowing Huskies’ senior Steve Morra to swat it into the net and extend the lead to 4-2. It was Morra’s first career goal, one that came after years of cycling in and out of the lineup.
“It’s good to get the monkey off my back, but it would have been better if we won,” Morra acknowledged, as the feel-good story ended for the Huskies after his goal.
The Riverhawks chipped into and eventually erased the deficit in a spirited third-period effort.
At 4:38, Daniel Furlong found the back of the net with a wrister through a screen. Then on the power play at 15:18, Derek Arnold found himself wide open on the back door to redirect a Riley Wetmore shot into the back of the net, tying the score 4-4.
“We found a way to manufacture some offense and work a little harder, quite frankly,” Bazin said. “I don’t think it was a work of art tonight, as you could tell.”
The Riverhawks posted 19 shots in the frame, as the teams traded thundering hits in the corners. That chippiness carried into overtime, with the two sides exchanging facewashes and shoves aplenty, no doubt leaving a reminder for tomorrow night’s series finale in Lowell.