Senior Mike Ryan scored a goal and added an assist while sophomore netminder Keni Gibson made 32 saves as Northeastern beat Massachusetts-Lowell 4-1 in the battle of the cellar-dwellers in Hockey East Friday at the Tsongas Arena in front of 2,208 fans.
“Keni Gibson played great tonight, he did what he does when he’s really on, he makes it look almost effortless,” said Northeastern head coach Bruce Crowder. “If he can continue to play for us like he did tonight, it will be a good rest of the season.”
Northeastern dominated a light shot chart in the early going, scoring the game’s first marker midway through the first frame.
Junior Brian Tudrick skated into the River Hawk zone on the left side with classmate Trevor Reschny on the right. Tudrick sent the puck across the slot for Reschny, and although Reschny was unable to get any lumber on the puck, he deflected it in off his skate as he fell feet-first into the net at 13:20 to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
All scoring in the second period came in just under a minute’s span. The Huskies increased their lead to 2-0 when freshman Joe Santilli put home a power-play marker by stuffing the puck under the leg pads of UML freshman netminder Dominic Smart at 6:15.
The River Hawks broke onto the scoresheet just nine seconds later. Freshman Elias Godoy collected a turnover on the left side of the Northeastern zone and fed the puck to classmate Bobby Robins in the slot. Robins made the opportunity count, putting the puck five-hole on Gibson, cutting the Husky lead to 2-1 at 6:44.
The Huskies built their lead back to two goals within 30 seconds of the UML tally. A shot by freshman Steve Sanders from the right side faceoff dot seemed to find the back of the net, but the puck bounced back out before the goal judge could react. Before the referee was finished waving his hands to signal no goal, sophomore Jared Mudryk cleaned up the mess and put the puck past Smart at 7:10 for a 3-1 Northeastern lead.
Northeastern scored the game’s final goal at 18:06, as Ryan tallied his fifteenth goal of the season on an empty net.
Gibson made 32 saves, stopping double-figure shots in each period for the Huskies, while Smart turned aside 16 attempts. Northeastern went 1-for-4 on the power-play, while the River Hawks, who have not scored a man-advantage goal in 10 games, were 0-for-3.
“Northeastern does all the things that we would like to do,” said UML head coach Blaise MacDonald. “They score ugly goals, they work hard going to the net, they capitalize on opportunities. Those are all things that we are trying to be good at, but we’re not.”
“Overall this puts us in a bad position, a position that we created for ourselves. We failed to capitalize on key opportunities, we failed to prepare ourselves individually, and once again some of our teammates that we count on to make plays aren’t making them.”