BOSTON — Northeastern entered Friday night’s game 0-3 for the first time since the 1990-1991 season.
Unfortunately for the Huskies, it only got worse.
Despite controlling the game for much of the action, Massachusetts escaped Matthews Arena with a 3-2 win.
At 8:51 of the period UMass defenseman Emerson Auvenshine gave his team the go-ahead and winning goal on a one-timer from Zack LaRue to send his team home happy heading into their matchup with Boston College Saturday night.
“Obviously, it’s nice to get a win in league,” said Minutemen coach John Micheletto, “to get a win in a tough building against a talented team.”
The big news for Huskies’ fans coming into the game was goaltender Clay Witt being left off the line chart with an upper-body injury.
“That will be day-to-day,” said Northeastern coach Jim Madigan after the game. “And we’ll continue to monitor his progress and hopefully, have a little bit more info early to mid next week.”
UMass started freshman goalie Henry Dill Friday, who improved to 2-0 on the season after stopping 42 of the 44 Northeastern shots fired his way.
Northeastern scored first Friday night after Zach Aston-Reese slid the puck through the legs of a Minutemen defender, which found its way to senior Torin Snydeman, who was able to knock it home past Dill.
The Minutemen answered just 2:23 later when a Jake Horton shot was redirected by Zack LaRue over the blocker of Huskies’ goalie Derick Roy.
Ray Pigozzi gave Massachusetts the lead at 13:44 of the first on a power-play goal that hit the skate of a Northeastern defenseman and slid into the back of the net.
Northeastern, who is used to playing from behind, which they have virtually all year, showed some fight in scoring the equalizer less than two minutes later when Dalen Hedges scored his first of the year after getting a pass off the skate of Adam Reid via Garret Cockerill.
A penalty-ridden second period, which featured 14 minutes of time in the sin bin between the two teams, ended scoreless, and the team’s headed to the third tied at two, setting the stage for Auvenshine’s heroics.
“I’m glad Henry Dill had the night he had,” Micheletto said. “I also know we weren’t at our best tonight and when we weren’t, our goaltending certainly saved our bacon. It’s good to win ugly every once in a while, I guess. I don’t know that we’ll feel as good about the win tonight just based on the process, but we’ll certainly feel good about the win, getting points in the league.”
Madigan was pleased with his team’s effort, despite not getting the result they hoped for.
“I like the way our guys played,” Madigan said, “They played hard. We had 44 shots on goal, we had a lot of quality looks. We just didn’t get much puck luck. If we get effort and that focus that I thought we had tonight. then we’ll get the monkey off our back quickly.
“I thought we deserved quite frankly, a better fate, a better outcome tonight.”