The long road of the 2018-19 regular season is drawing to a close, with one more matchup left separating the Huskies and the Hockey East playoffs. Fresh off a split against rival Boston College, the Huskies will welcome the New Hampshire Wildcats to Matthews Arena for the third game between the two in the last three weeks, but the first in Boston.
Wildcats Lately– Since getting swept by Northeastern, and allowing eleven straight goals to end the weekend, the Wildcats have found their way back into the positive results column, having taken three of four points from UMass-Lowell in a home-and-home setup. UNH shut out Lowell 1-0 on their Senior Night two Fridays ago, with the lone goal scored unassisted by Jackson Pierson. Goaltender Mike Robinson made all 29 saves for the shutout, his fifth of the season.
The following night the teams skated to a 2-2 tie, with UNH losing their 2-1 lead in the second period and neither team scoring in overtime. Goals from defensemen Max Gildon and William Mackinnon powered UNH, while Robinson saved 19 of 21 shots he faced. UNH also allowed a powerplay goal to Lowell in that game, and scored one of their own.
Key Players- As we mentioned the first time these two teams squared off, they match up pretty well when looking at scoring. UNH likely will not have a thirty point scorer this season, but come into the finale with five players with twenty points or more, with two others on the doorstep with 19 and 17. They are led by Liam Blackburn (10-14-24), who has been scoreless in his last eight games. Ara Nazarian is their leading goal scorer with 12 (to go with 11 assists), and Max Gildon continues to lead the charge from the blue line with 21 points (6 goals).
Interestingly, eleven players have scored a powerplay goal for the Wildcats, including seven who have multiple goals, so unlike some teams who may have one elite unit and one sub-par unit for their powerplays, or may have one or two main focuses for their powerplay to run through, UNH has spread their scoring out, making it a well-balanced, dangerous unit to go against.
Playoff Implications- Please follow us @NUHockeyBlog as we will be covering the changing standings as they happen in real time, starting with the Providence/Boston College game Thursday night, and continuing through Boston University/Maine on Saturday. Until then, this tweet has photographs that dictate every possible standing for NU after this weekend in Hockey East.
As for the NCAA Tournament, it’s quite simple- win and they are sitting in a good spot going into conference play. Lose, and they will be squarely on the bubble and will need both a run to TD Garden as well as outside help to make it into the tournament.
Senior Night- Friday night the Huskies will honor the seven seniors on their roster as they play their final regular season home game at Matthews Arena. This class is the winningest squad of teammates in Northeastern Men’s Hockey history, and has been front and center in Northeastern’s rebirth into prominence within the city of Boston, the Hockey East conference, and the national picture. Two Beanpot victories, including the 30-year drought breaker; one Hockey East Championship, the Huskies’ first in 28 years; two NCAA playoff appearances, the program’s first since 2009; participating in the first NCAA games played in Europe during the 2015 Friendship Four; and 85 wins in total, all accomplishments that will forever unite these seven men, and link them to Northeastern hockey forever.
They came from Canada, New York, California, Michigan, and Massachusetts, all walking different paths to Northeastern University, but they all arrived at the same location with the same goals- to bring Northeastern hockey to new heights and new levels of success. From the goaltender who assumed the starting position as a freshman and climbed his way to one of the winningest careers in program history; to the transfers who started elsewhere but found their eventual homes in Northeastern’s red and black colors; from the soft-spoken Canadian with a wicked slap shot who became the program’s all-time iron man; to the unsung heroes from Walpole and Queens who have contributed some of the biggest goals scored by the Huskies in the last decade- all of these men have made Northeastern hockey better since they arrived, and leave behind a legacy that will inspire Huskies teams for years to come.
To Eric Williams, Patrick Schule, Lincoln Griffin, Ryan Ruck, Liam Pecararo, Austin Plevy, and Brandon Hawkins, we at the Northeastern Hockey Blog salute your careers as Huskies. We are grateful that you chose Northeastern University to be the place where you chose to develop as players and as people. You have made the University and the program better places because you chose to be a part of them. It has been a privilege to watch you all don the Red and Black and play with the passion you show each night. Wherever your careers take you, on the ice and off, you will succeed in whatever endeavors you choose to aspire towards. Thank you gentlemen. Thank you.
Predictions (2 points for correct, -1 for incorrect, +1 for right score)
Fallon (34 points): NU 2-0
Davis (29 points): NU 3-1
Downie (28 points): NU 6-0
Gordon (26 points): NU 4-1