The Huskies garnered their first Hockey East win of the season in a 5-4 victory over Providence College at Matthews Arena on Friday November 18. Northeastern sped out to a 3-0 lead with 3 goals in the second period, and at one point led 5-1, before allowing 3 goals in the third period to bring the Friars on the cusp of an incredible comeback. Huskies goals were scored by Jeremy Davies, Patrick Schule, Zach Aston-Reese (2), and Dylan Sikura.
Aston-Reese’s first goal, which gave the Huskies a 3-0 lead, was his 100th career point in a Northeastern uniform, making him the 48th player to reach that milestone. ZAR has been an outstanding 4 year player at Northeastern, and is on pace to have his best season while on Huntington Avenue.
The victory was followed by its mirror image on Saturday, with the Friars winning 5-4 and holding off a late comeback bid by the Huskies. Goals were scored by Brendan Collier (SH), Aston-Reese, Adam Gaudette (PP), and Sikura (PP). Collier’s goal was his first of the year.
Goaltending was again the Achilles’ heel for the Huskies. In Game 1, Ryan Ruck saved 26 of 30 shots, in line with his season average of 87%, and had several instances of poor rebound control and poor puck tracking. Game 2 featured multiple goaltender changes; Ruck saved 12 of 15 shots in the first period, then Jake Theut replaced him after the 2nd period started and saved 6 of 8 shots. Ruck came back for the third and saved all 4 shots he faced.
Once again, poor goaltending proved to be the undoing of the Huskies. Scoring 9 goals in a weekend should essentially guarantee a win, but the Huskies found a way to lose a game where they scored 4 goals. Ruck looked to be fighting the puck all weekend, and all season quite frankly. He kicked multiple rebounds into the slot that were cashed in on, and was beat clean on a slap shot that he was not screened on. Theut came in cold and was beat by a snipe to the corner and then let in a powerplay goal that got through under his arm. In roughly 3 periods of hockey, Theut is sitting on a .935 SV%, and Ruck to this day has a .884 SV%, and .866 SV% in Hockey East play. That is
atrocious awful bad.
The offense came alive. The goaltender let them down. Start Jake Theut, Coach Madigan. Please. He cannot be worse than saving 86.6%. Derick Roy was barred from the crease after saving 84% overall last year, but 89.7% in Hockey East play. Ruck is doing worse when points are on the line, and if this performance persists Madigan and the staff will have to cave and make the switch at some point.