Northeastern entered this weekend in one of its toughest stretches of this season having lost three of four. But the Huskies turned what at time was a weakness into a strength and got the train back on the tracks.
1) Defense, goaltending strong suit for Northeastern against Merrimack
There probably weren’t a lot of people who saw a 4-1 loss to Connecticut as a possibility last Tuesday night for Northeastern. But that’s exactly what happened. And it was the exclamation point to what probably was the most adversity the Huskies have faced.
If not for a late third period comeback against Vermont in a 2-1 win, the UConn loss would have been four in a row for Northeastern. But this team got back on track in what may have felt like a must-sweep series against Merrimack.
The Huskies answered the call and used good goaltending and special teams to post consecutive 3-1 victories. Northeastern improves to 7-3-0 in league play, sits in second place and is four points in back of first place Boston College with a game in hand.
2) 100 years after it started, BC-BU lives up to its billing
Sure neither game was an overtime nail bitter, but both games between Boston College and Boston University lived up to the entertaining spectacles you would expect from this now 100-year and 276-meeting rivalry.
Friday certainly was better for the fans, featuring run-and-gun offenses, lead changes, scoring explosions, and everything else that makes a fan cheer and a coach tear his hair out.
Saturday was a little tighter but BC, a night after scoring twice early in less than a minute only to lose, again popped the games first two goals in short order, this time in the middle stanza. Likely remembering the failures from a night earlier, the Eagles tightened things up and closed out the win.
3) Splits keep standings tight but Vermont, Merrimack need to be concerned
Northeastern was the only team to earn sweep this weekend, with BC-BU and Providence-New Hampshire splitting and Maine taking three-of-four from Vermont.
That leaves a sandwich from second place to eighth with five points separating the seven teams. The teams that suffered the most this weekend, though, Merrimack (swept) and Vermont (one point), are quickly moving to dangerous territory. Each have a decent number of games in hand on multiple schools, but Merrimack has just a win and tie while Vermont adds just an extra tie to sit a point ahead.
We all know that teams can go on streaks, but neither Merrimack or Vermont seem to have a lot of firepower which should concern each club as we move towards the halfway point in the season.