EAST LANSING, MI — On the back of a Zach Aston-Reese hat trick, the Northeastern Huskies went into Munn Ice Arena on Sunday afternoon and defeated Michigan State by a score of 6-2. The win is NU’s first victory of the year away from the friendly confines of Matthews Arena and comes in the final game of the first half, as the Huskies now have 12 days off before they suit up for a December 30th home game against Clarkson to start the second half.
— Northeastern MHKY (@GoNUmhockey) December 18, 2016
Aston-Reese opened the scoring just 3:29 into the game, continuing NU’s trend of fast starts this year, when he took a John Stevens pass and beat a slow Ed Minney around the net on a wraparound for an easy goal. The score would say the same until midway through the second as the teams traded power play opportunities but were unable to find the back of the net. At 12:10 in the 2nd, Aston-Reese struck again, this time on the power play, as he ripped a feed from Adam Gaudette top shelf past Minney to put the Huskies up 2-0. MSU’s Mason Appleton answered with a power play goal of his own just 1:58 later to draw within 1, then 2:02 after that, Patrick Khodorenko sniped a puck over Ruck from the slot to the tie the game. The tie was short lived though, as on the ensuing draw Matt Filipe burned the MSU defense and put the puck in front of the net where Brendan Collier gave the Huskies the lead again just 10 seconds after the game was tied. The goal was Collier’s second of the year, and first since playing Providence on November 19th.
The Huskies would cruise to victory in the third, as Gaudette and ZAR both scored on the power play to put the game out of reach, on Aston-Reese’s third and fourth points of the night to go along with the hat trick, and Patrick Schule scored with just 1:20 left to for the final dagger in a 6-2 win. There were some scrums in the final minute which led to Tanner Pond and Biagio Lerario penalties and a Sam Kurker misconduct, but nothing that will affect the Huskies in the future. Stick tap to Coach Madigan for having the grind line out in the final minute to protect his top six from any shenanigans and let the team’s scrappers have some fun.
Overall, this game wasn’t very close thanks to three power play goals by NU, but it was basically the same game we’ve seen from the forward corps all year. The top six dominated scoring 5 of the 6 NU goals (4 from the first line, 3 on the PP) while the third line contributed one on Filipe’s individual effort and Collier’s finish. The back end did alright, allowing just 2 goals on 26 shots, including Ruck making what was likely his best save of the season on a 2-on-0 opportunity in the first. The Huskies were outshot 26-21 on the night, but largely controlled the pace of the game other than the brief MSU comeback in the second period. You can listen to Coach Madigan’s comments below.
— Northeastern MHKY (@GoNUmhockey) December 19, 2016
Whether or not the Huskies can keep playing well defensively will remain a question going forward, although they’ve now played well in 2 of the last 3 contests. Their next game against Clarkson will prove to be a tougher matchup than what MSU presented, followed by another out-of-conference bout with Yale. Look for that soon, and as always, Go Huskies!