Photo via Boston College Athletics
In the second game of a two week split-series, the Northeastern Huskies fell to the Boston College Eagles by a score of 5-3, extending their losing streak at Conte Forum for another season and falling to 1-6-2 in Hockey East play. JD Dudek was the star of the game, scoring two goals for the Eagles, both on shots that he absolutely sniped over Ryan Ruck. Zach Walker, David Cotton, and Scott Savage added the remaining goals for the Eagles and Dylan Sikura, Jeremy Davies, and John Stevens lit the lamp for the Huskies.
— Northeastern MHKY (@GoNUmhockey) December 7, 2016
From the moment the news came out pregame that Adam Gaudette was going to miss the game for the Huskies due to the concussion he suffered in the first game of the BC series, the Huskies were facing a gigantic uphill battle. The problems only got worse from there, as Dudek scored his first goal just 1:17 into the game and Zach Walker doubled the lead before the midway mark of the first. The Eagles weren’t just getting lucky either, they were dominating play at even strength and even when they took penalties, they were springing constant breakaways and odd-man rushes against the Huskies’ power play unit. Frankly, the fact that Dylan Sikura scored a goal from right in front (off a beautiful ZAR feed) and the Huskies only trailed 2-1 after the first period was a victory in and of itself.
The Huskies didn’t fare much better in the second, going down 4-1 after Dudek’s second snipe and a goal where David Cotton shot on Ruck, collected his own rebound, waited approximately one revolution of the Earth, and stuffed the rebound home as no defender was able to pressure him and Ruck didn’t get back to his post in time. The Huskies fought back from there, with a second period goal on the powerplay by Davies and a third period John Stevens goal. Stevens’ goal, created by ZAR’s second perfect feed to the front of the net, helped NU draw within one goal late, but the comeback ended there, as Scott Savage scored the insurance goal for the final tally in the 5-3 final. The Huskies had a few chances with the extra attacker and probably should have scored a goal on it, but the final was ultimately reflective of the game that was played.
Ruck, while left out to dry at points, allowed 5 goals on 35 shots which is right in line with his (terrible) season save percentage. The Huskies allowed 4+ goals for the 5th time in his last 6 starts and allowed at least 3 for the 8th time in his last 9 starts. It isn’t the 1980’s anymore, and even if Ryan Ruck is the best of the Huskies’ three goaltenders, it’s time to put one of the other options in the net. The book is out on Ruck, teams wait for him to go down and snipe the puck high, or draw him out of position easily by breaking his line of sight on the puck or by shooting intentionally wide of the net. A BC forward even stated in his post-game interview that Ruck wasn’t playing his angles correctly and BC took advantage of it. When the other team knows how to score 5 on you every game, the jig is up. It’s time to make a goaltending change until Ruck’s head is back where it belongs.
The offense wasn’t great either, only the newly consolidated first line of Sikura-Stevens-ZAR scored (as usual), but ultimately, they put up three goals and the back end let them down again. The Huskies’ have 3 20+ point scorers already and one of the most dynamic top sixes in the country, plus both Stevens brothers, and their talents are being wasted by the inability to prevent goals. There are very few chances left to turn it around and right the ship before this becomes one of the most disappointing seasons in NU history.
The Huskies have this weekend off before returning to the ice on Sunday, 12/18, as part of the Huskies’ three-sport tripleheader at Michigan State. This writer will be in attendance and is still questioning what possessed him to plan a trip to Michigan in the winter.