Northeastern coach Jim Madigan was left talking about the “ebbs and flows” of hockey after Friday night’s wild game against No. 10 UMass-Lowell.
It was fitting. At one point, the Huskies were the dominant team at Matthews Arena. The next moment, the River Hawks regained the momentum and clawed their way back into the game.
Northeastern blew a 3-1 lead in the second, and eventually fell to the visiting River Hawks, 6-4, in a precursor to Monday’s return to the TD Garden for the 65th playing of the Beanpot.
Despite Lowell’s two-point advantage in the Hockey East standings that indicated otherwise, the Huskies opened Friday night’s game looking like the better team. The Huskies generated difficult scoring chances, challenging Tyler Wall, while holding the River Hawks to zero recorded shots on goal through most of the first.
Ultimately, the squeaky wheel got the grease. Adam Gaudette completed a half a period’s worth of efforts for the Huskies by scoring at the 9:27 mark of the first, on a shot that rocketed past Wall. Moments later, Matt Filipe netted his sixth of the season, cleaning up a rebound off Wall.
It seemed, at the time, that Northeastern had UMass-Lowell where it needed it to be.
But, as Madigan pointed out, hockey is a game of ebbs and flows.
The tide of the game shifted back to the River Hawks, who tied the score in the waning minutes of the second period on a Jake Kamrass goal. All of the momentum was gone for the Huskies.
“Obviously there’s a feeling-out process in the first,” UMass-Lowell coach Norm Bazin said. “I didn’t think we played that poorly in the first, we just didn’t get anything to the net. We had the puck, but we had to somehow get it to the net. In the second it started developing where the guys suddenly had puck possession, and kept it, and in the third it obviously continued.”
Northeastern let in five or more goals for the eighth time this season, and the league’s best scoring offense couldn’t keep up.
It is a difficult harbinger for the Huskies’ next game, a Beanpot semifinal against Harvard. With a black banner hanging right in front of the student section indicating the last Huskies’ Beanpot championship 29 years ago, Monday’s game looms as large as the banner, and Friday’s result might be cause for concern.
“Most asked question since ‘Who Shot JR,” is ‘How are you going to do in the Beanpot?’ ” Madigan said. “Now we’re going to answer the question, because it’s around the corner, it’s Monday, and we’ll start getting prepared tomorrow for Harvard, and get focused on them now.”
Hockey East roundup:
No. 3 Boston University 3 Massachusetts 1
After being named the National Rookie of the Month of January by the Hockey Commissioners’ Association, Clayton Keller registered a goal and two assists in the Terriers’ win over the Minutemen. Ryan Wischow turned aside 42 shots in the loss.
No. 15 Providence 3, Maine 2
Erik Foley’s three-point night allowed the Friars to come back after going down 2-1 early in the third period. Hayden Hawkey had 29 saves in the win.
No. 8 Boston College 6, New Hampshire 4
After taking a 5-2 lead in the third, the Eagles were able to bat off a pesky New Hampshire team’s comeback effort. Austin Cangelosi and New Hampshire native J.D. Dudek both had a goal and an assist in the victory.
Merrimack 2, Connecticut 2
After the Warriors took a 2-0 lead in the second, the Huskies scored the next two, including a last-minute goal by Joseph Masonius with goaltender Rob Nichols pulled.
No. 12 Vermont 4, No. 17 Notre Dame 4
Sixty-five minutes weren’t enough to come up with a winner between two ranked programs, as the Catamounts and Fighting Irish ended in a draw. Notre Dame’s Cal Petersen turned aside 43 shots.