BOSTON, MA — The second half of the 2016-17 season kicks off as the Huskies return from an 11-day layoff to play the Clarkson Golden Knights of the ECAC on Friday, December 30. Clarkson is sitting at 9-7-3 overall (5-3-1 in conference), with victories over common foes Vermont, UMass-Lowell, and Notre Dame. Clarkson also was victorious in the 2016 Shillelagh Tournament hosted by Notre Dame over Thanksgiving break. This will be the first time Northeastern and Clarkson play since 2002, when Northeastern came out victorious on the road, 3-1.
Clarkson as a team averages almost 29 shots per game and allows over 32 per game. They have scored an average of 3.1 goals per game and allow 2.9 goals per game. Their powerplay has been middling with a 17.6% success rate, while their penalty kill sits at 84%, good for 20th in the nation. Clarkson takes an average of 17 penalty minutes per game, opening up potential opportunities for the Huskies’ potent powerplay to strike. As a team, Clarkson wins 49% of faceoffs, which could play well for the Huskies, who have had face-off struggles themselves.
Clarkson’s leading scorer is senior Jordan Boucher, with 7 goals and 10 assists. Senior Troy Josephs leads the team in goals scored with 8, and is third in points with 13. The man in the middle with 15 points is freshman Devin Brosseau, and another contributor is Sheldon Rempal (13 points), who has gained a reputation for scoring lacrosse- style goals in juniors. While unlikely, something the Huskies should be ready for.
They have one defenseman with 10 points in captain James de Haas, and another with 9 in Kelly Summers. Thirteen Clarkson players have scored multiple goals this season, and eight players average 2 shots per game or greater, meaning this is a team with a balanced offensive attack- quite different than the Huskies.
In net, Clarkson is anchored by Jake Kielly, a 6-foot-2 freshman with a 91.9 save percentage, which is better than all but three Hockey East goaltenders, and a 2.56 goals-against-average. He came to Clarkson via the USHL, sits 7th in the nation in minutes played, and was the November ECAC Rookie of the Month.
This is Northeastern’s first chance to apply adjustments made over the break by the coaching staff. The team should be inserting Liam Pecararo into the lineup for the first time, giving the offense a boost. Clarkson is the first of two ECAC foes that NU will play before heading into Hockey East play (Yale, January 3rd). This writer will be the only blogger at the game. Go Huskies!
Davis (8-5-2): Clarkson wins, 4-3. Pecararo gets first point if he plays.
Downie (9-4-2): NU wins 4-2
Fallon (8-5-2)* : NU wins 4-3
*Fallon missed his MSU prediction for the blog post but told Davis offline while watching the game together. He got the correct pick.