For Northeastern, it was a poor effort for the first two periods, and they will most likely hear about it before their next conference game on Saturday at UMass-Lowell. The Huskies will need to have short memories and get back to what was successful for them in their wins over Colorado College and Bentley, which was their power play. If NU can find their rhythm on the power play against UMass-Lowell on Saturday, expect a much different result.
These two teams won't meet again until February when the Hockey East playoffs will be just around the corner. It wasn't the greatest of games, but it was a good start to NESN's 2009-10 Hockey East season.
Thanks for following all the action with the live blog, and make sure to come back every Friday night for NESN's Hockey Easy Fridays.
Third period, 2:05, UNH 4-2: Another penalty for UNH with a hit from behind. As well as they have played offensively, they have showed no discipline at all. Had Northeastern not played the first 40 minutes so sluggishly, UNH could be tied or trailing in this game.
Third period, 5:11, UNH 4-2: Stevie Moses went against the cardinal rule: Don't ever take the puck in front of your own net. Moses gets knocked down, the pucks squirts right to Wade MacLeod and he knows what to do with it for his second goal of the game. That fourth goal from UNH looms large now.
Third period, 8:05, UNH 4-1: Mike Sislo gets a one-timer from Blake Kessel and he puts it home to give UNH another three-goal lead. That will just about do it for the Huskies with just over eight minutes left. Not to mention the Huskies just got yet another penalty.
Third period, 8:55, UNH 3-1: Northeastern gets called for too many men on the ice, and it couldn't have come at a worse time. Except UNH can't stay disciplined and they take one of their own. Now it's 4-on-4 with a lot of open ice. Another chance for the Huskies to inch closer.
Third period, 11:26, UNH 3-1: Northeastern certainly looks better after controlling the play in the third. UNH has gotten back to what got them a 3-0 lead, and the Wildcats are keeping the Huskies from getting any more legitimate scoring chances.
Third period, 15:22, UNH 3-1: A bad break for the Huskies as the ref blows the whistle early on a loose puck in front of the net that came right across the crease and was just sitting there. But the Huskies get on the board anyways with a blast from Wade MacCleod at the top of the left circle. Here is that two-goal lead…
Third period, 15:37, UNH 3-0: And now things get interesting: A 5-on-3 on this ice surface for Northeastern. A timeout for the Huskies, and their best chance by far to get back in the game.
Third period, 16:12 UNH 3-0: Another penalty for UNH. Will this finally be the time Northeastern converts. They are 0-for-4 so far on the PP.
Third period, 17:56, UNH 3-0: A new sheet of ice and a new look for the Huskies. Northeastern is playing with some urgency finally and they look the best they have looked all night. Now it's time for them to turn their effort into a goal.
Second intermission, UNH 3-0: The Huskies are going to need to get a lucky bounce early in the third to have a chance because right now they look like they haven't played a game in months rather than a week.
After two periods of play, here are some observations from 40 minutes of hockey and what to look for and expect in the third.
1. Kill the clock
There is no reason UNH shouldn't win this game. They are outplaying NU in every facet of the game, and it would take a serious reversal of roles to change the pace of the game. But after UNH took a 3-0 lead, they took penalty after penalty after penalty and were lucky enough to kill them off. If the Wildcats play with discipline and just get the puck high off the glass and out of their zone, they will have their first win of the season.
2. Put on the pressure
The Wildcats do need to put on the pressure and eat the last 20 minutes of clock, but they also need to play with a purpose. Too many times after taking a 3-0 lead UNH players coasting in the defensive zone. The Huskies might look like they have already packed it in, but there is no need for UNH to play the same way. Why wake up a sleeping team with lazy play in your own zone?
2. Helpless Huskies
I am not sure how Northeastern can get back in the game. Their power play has been atrocious and on even strength they look like they are in the middle of a morning skate. The Huskies are going to need to capitalize on an early turnover in the third to get on the board and hope the infamous two-goal lead can play into their hands. It might be time for the Huskies to take some chances and get the wings fleeing the zone early to see if they can catch the UNH defensemen sleeping. If not, if will be a long bus ride back to Boston.
Second period, 0:00, UNH 3-0: Northeastern failed to make the necessary adjustments in the second, and UNH is only growing stronger as the game wears on. A two-goal period has UNH just 20 minutes away from their first win of the season.
Second period, 3:23, UNH 3-0: UNH's Mike Sislo did his best Bobby Orr impression on the penalty kill, skating around the NU power play as if they were pylons.
Another sloppy PP leaves NU empty handed once again, and the clock is quickly becoming their enemy with what looks to be an insurmountable lead.
Second period, 5:59, UNH 3-0: Another penalty called against UNH, and the Wildcats are trying to let NU back into the game. The TV timeout should give the Huskies' first unit a chance to catch a breather before attempting to finally convert on the power play.
Heading into the locker room down 3-0 after two won't be promising for the Huskies, and this looks like the right time to try and put a dent into the three-goal deficit.
Second period, 6:18, UNH 3-0: Not even a 4-on-3 on Olympic ice can get the Huskies back into the game, as their PP continues to look lost at the Whitt. All the momentum is on the Wildcats' side, and the game is certainly theirs' to lose now.
Second period, 8:32, UNH 3-0: Saying that this game has been all UNH wouldn't even do the Wildcats' effort or the Huskies' poor effort justice. Northeastern fell to 0-for-3 on the power play after failing to convert on their last chance, and I am not even sure if they have a shot with the man-advantage yet.
Northeastern has tried to start banging some bodies around to gain momentum, but UNH's passes have been that much quicker and all of the hits are just taking the Huskies out of position.
Second period, 13:45, UNH 3-0: NU's Chris Rawlings doesn't get his right pad against the post, and Bobby Butler makes him pay with a no-angle shot from the goal line that somehow finds the back of the net. A power-play goal and a 3-0 lead puts UNH in the driver's seat for the rest of the game. And over six minutes into the second, the NU forecheck is non-existent.
Second period, 15:59, UNH 2-0: NU's Alex Tuckerman got burned down the boards and used a hook to make up for his mistake to prevent a potential 2-on-1. Instead of the 2-on-1, UNH gets their second power play of the game and a chance to possibly put the game away.
Second period, 18:21, UNH 2-0: The goal has gone to Speelman, his second rebound of the game. Not the prettiest of goals, but they look the same in the box score, and he can tell his kids someday that he went top corner from the top of the circle.
Second period, 19:36, UNH 2-0: That didn't take long. Just 24 seconds into the second and UNH has a 2-0 lead.
Northeastern got caught with Jake Newton, David Strathman and Kyle Kraemer all around the crease, and the puck came out from behind the night and right past all three. UNH's Peter LeBlanc tried to quickly shoot it in with NU goalie Chris Rawlings turned around, and the shot looks like it went off Dalton Speelman's skate. The goal has not been confirmed, but replays show it looks like it was redirected off Speelman's skate with him facing the net. If so, nice night for the freshman in his first Hockey East action.
First intermission, UNH 1-0: Northeastern controlled the puck for the first two minutes of the game, but after an unsuccessful power play, the ice shifted in favor of UNH and hasn't shifted back.
After 20 minutes of play in Durham, here are three observations of the game.
1. Wide Whitt
It's evident that the Huskies aren't comfortable with the Olympic-sized surface at UNH. Even though Northeastern played two games at Colorado College, which also has an enormous ice surface, their game is drastically different than the game they display at home in the compact Matthews Arena. Northeastern looks lost on odd-man rushes and even though they are taking the puck wide on their limited chances, the passing lane just isn't there in front with the UNH defense playing the situations perfectly. After 20 minutes, Northeastern should be able to adjust to the extra space.
2. Home-ice advantage
And what is the problem for the Huskies is the obvious advantage for the Wildcats. UNH is showing no problems with taking the puck wide and creating offense of neutral-zone turnovers. It took UNH a while to capitalize and get a good shot on net off a 3-on-2, but at the end of the first they started to show their offensive creativity with a few drop passes, and the third man going to the far post. The Huskies should be lucky that it's only 1-0 at this point.
3. Problems on special teams
The Huskies have used their power play to get on the board in the young season, and so far they are 0-for-1 on Friday. But at the same time, UNH is also 0-for-1. If the game stays within a goal or two, special teams will likely play a key role in the second and third periods, and for Northeastern, the power play might be the only chance they have of getting back in the game.
First period, 0:00, UNH 1-0: If the Wildcats can keep the tempo they showed over the final half of the first period they will be on their way to erasing the goose egg in the win column.
The first period First period, 1:50: The refs are loving the ability to kick the centers out of the face-off. There have been at least three instances already, and those are just the ones I have noticed. Chances are there have been many more.
First period, 5:19, UNH 1-0: Dalton Speelman gives UNH a 1-0 lead with the first goal of his collegiate career. UNH's Blake Kessel let a shot go from the left point and the rebound popped out right to Speelman on the top of the crease. Guzior was the only defenseman in front for the Huskies and with two Wildcats in front, there wasn't much Guzior could do as Speelman banged home the rebound uncontested.
First period, 6:07: Stevie Moses had the best scoring chance for UNH in the game so far after he got a pass in the slot before fanning on a wrister with NU's Chris Rawlings already committed to the shot and on the ice.
First period, 8:52: UNH fails to put together a quality scoring chance on the power play, and NU comes back with a lengthy shift in the UNH zone. But a lot of cycling leads to nothing, and neither team has really been able to get anything going offensively.
First period, 12:13: A defensive breakdown in front of the Northeastern net leads to the Huskies' first penalty. Randy Guzior goes to the box, and a chance for UNH to get on the board first.
First period, 13:32: The Whittemore Center shows its first sign of life with "U-N-H" chants, leading to Bobby Butler finding an open lane across the NU blue. So far the best scoring chance for either team early on.
First period, 16:25: The wide sheet is giving NU some problems on their power play, as they are unable to set it up or even get it over the blue and into the UNH zone.
UNH had little trouble sending the puck the length of the ice to kill off their first penalty with the Huskies' positioning looking off on the big surface.
First period, 18:29: UNH is having problems getting the puck out of the zone in the early going, as the Huskies were able to keep a solid forecheck going for the first minute. Fatigue caught up with UNH, and the Wildcats took a penalty in the neutral zone.
First period, 19:59: We are under way on the 2009 Hockey East season.
5:00 p.m.: Northeastern and New Hampshire meet on Friday night for the first time this season, as both schools prepare for their first conference game.
The Whittemore Center in Durham should be full for the Wildcats' Hockey East home opener with UNH (1-2-0) looking to get into the win column for the first time this season.
Here is a look at the top performers on both teams through three games this season:
Chris Donovan, F: 1-3-4
Garrett Vermeersch, F: 2-1-3
Five others tied with three points
Chris Rawlings, G: 2-1-0, 3.01 GAA, .913 SV%
Bobby Butler, F: 3-2-5
Blake Kessel, D: 2-3-5
Peter LeBlanc, F: 0-4-4
Brian Foster, G: 0-2-1, 5.13 GAA, .831 SV%
Photo: Mike Ralph – UNH Media Relations
Powered by WordPress.com VIP