Inspired by a trip down memory lane where we were going through old photos from the time we were students at Northeastern, the three writers from the NU Hockey Blog (plus special guest and DogHouse alum Zach Gordon) will be partaking in a series where we write about the top NU games we attended.
DISCLAIMER- we all agreed to leave off games at TD Garden, meaning Beanpot and Hockey East Tournament games are excluded, mainly because all those games were epic experiences that would fill the lists themselves.
5) Huskies Sweep Notre Dame, Jan 23-24, 2015
– In the first rendition of White Out Weekend during my tenure as leader of the NU Doghouse, the Huskies welcomed Notre Dame to Historic Matthews Arena for the first time since 2001. In a packed barn all weekend with both ends of the student section filled, the Huskies dominated the Irish on the scoreboard, sweeping both games by the scores of 3-2 and 4-2. Dalen Hedges had three goals on the weekend, Zach Aston-Reese scored twice in less than ten seconds in Game 2, behind the goaltending duo of Derick Roy and Clay Witt the Huskies earned four huge Hockey East points. I can still see the Dalen Hedges cross-crease game winner in my mind’s eye, clear as day; have a watch for yourselves:
4) Kevin Roy Overtime Winner, Hockey East Octo-finals, Mar 5, 2016
The barn was not as full due to the game happening over spring break, but this game is a sentimental one given that it was the last game at Matthews Arena where I led the DogHouse as a student before graduating that May. It also proved to be won on the final shot Kevin Roy took at Matthews in his illustrious four-year career as a Husky.
In the strangest scheduling circumstance, the Huskies and the Maine Black Bears played each other four times in a row at the end of the season; twice in the final weekend of the regular season (swept by NU, including a 7-1 rout on Senior Night), and then twice in the Hockey East Octo-finals (both NU overtime victories). Having a team like Maine, with its classic pedigree and well-traveling fan base, come down to Boston two weekends in a row to get swept by a surging Huskies team, was a joy to watch, as the Huskies kept pouring in goal after goal against Maine goalie’s Matt Morris and Rob McGovern. As the team was paving its way towards the 2016 Hockey East Championship, being able to see the class of Mike McMurtry, Dustin Darou, Jarrett Fennell, Colton Saucerman, and Kevin and Derick Roy, the class that brought a trophy back to Huntington Avenue, erupt with emotion one last time as teammates at Matthews was a special moment to watch.
3) Northeastern Defeats Colgate 7-1 in Belfast, Northern Ireland, Nov 28. 2015
From a wholistic experience perspective, it would be tough to beat this trip. Going to Ireland for the inaugural Friendship Four in 2016 was the experience of a lifetime. My first time outside the continental United States, being able to experience a different culture and country, while also being able to support the Huskies and bring the DogHouse passion across the pond, is an experience unlike any I’ve had before or since. The fans in Belfast truly love the game of hockey and were incredibly hospitable and engaging, making the foreign arena feel like we were right back in Boston’s friendly quarters.
The trip itself started with a bummer of a loss to UMass-Lowell the first game, but the Huskies came back roaring against Colgate, letting out weeks of frustrations and winning a game for the first time since beating Colgate in the season opener. The game, and this trip, has been credited by coaches and players alike for turning the season around, and catapulting the team into the legendary second-half run they went on, going unbeaten in 22 of their next 23 games to capture their first Hockey East Championship since 1988.
From the slew of fans who made the trip from America, to the hoards of NUin students who traveled in from Dublin to create their own DogHouse in the stands, to the Subway Sandwich cannon launching food from the ice in intermission, to the fresh Guinness and Smithwick’s drank after the games, it was a one-of-a-kind trip. Seeing a Northeastern win to cap it off was the red-and-black cherry on top.
2) Tyler Madden Overtime Winner Against #1 UMass, Jan 19, 2019
The only entry on this list where I was not a student at Northeastern, I took this game in from the front row of The DongHouse above the NU goaltender, and it was a spectacle of two national powerhouses trading blows and waiting to see who would blink first. Northeastern was ranked #8 at the time, and UMass was enjoying their first week with the #1 ranking. In front of a full DogHouse and a sold out Matthews Arena, with plenty of UMass fans to counter the Huskies’ faithful, the barn was as energetic as I’ve ever seen it.
The final score was 2-1, but fans were on the edge of their seats all game. UMass defenseman Cale Makar was en route to winning the 2019 Hobey Baker Award, and was the best player on the ice as soon as he stepped onto it off the bench each shift. Makar, Mario Ferraro, and a potent Minuteman offense led by John Leonard, Mitchell Chaffee, and Bobby Trivigno threw 46 shots on net, but only had one make it past NU goalie Cayden Primeau. Northeastern peppered goalie Matt Murray with only 23 shots before the heroics, with Jeremy Davies’ backhander the only one to get through.
In overtime, Tyler Madden would skate into the UMass zone with a Minuteman in his wake, and lift a backhander over the blocker and under the crossbar, sending Matthews into a frenzy as he canoe-paddled his way past the UMass bench in celebration. The goal happened right under where I was watching breathlessly, and collectively it may have been the biggest goal celebration on the ice and in the stands I’ve ever seen at Matthews. That goal and celebration cemented Tyler Madden as the superstar we saw him develop into at Northeastern, and that hunger for the big stage and bright lights is a testament to how far Northeastern has come as a program since I arrived at the school in 2011.
1) Hot Sauce Is Born- Huskies Defeat Boston College 3-1, October 13, 2012
This is the game that turned me into a Northeastern hockey fanatic. This is the game that made me want to be a part of The DogHouse. This is the game that made me never want to miss another minute of Husky hockey action.
Boston College was playing their first game since winning the 2012 National Championship. Ranked #1 in the nation. The Huskies had just beaten Merrimack in their season opener. Spirits were high and the hype was off the charts. The Huskies raced out to a quick 1-0 lead after Eagles killer Ryan Belonger, who seemed to have a knack for scoring against BC while at NU, swatted a goal past Parker Milner. Kevin Roy doubled the lead soon after. 2-1 Huskies after period 1. Then it happened.
When the teams came out to start period 2, The DogHouse rained verbal hellfire onto Parker Milner, the BC goalie. Bouncing the “Mil-ner, Mil-ner, Mil-ner, YOU SUCK” chants between the DogHouse and DongHouse, the crowd was so loud that the buzzer for Period 2’s intermission wasn’t heard by the players. There was a bit of a delay between the clock hitting zeroes and the puck being dropped again. That’s the game I learned the power that a loud, raucous, passionate student section could have. To impact the actual timing and flow of the game, imagine what it was doing to the individual players, on both sides of the ice. I never wanted the chant to end, and I never wanted the magic of The DogHouse to end.
Then came Hot Sauce. Freshman defenseman Colton Saucerman corralled a puck near the boards at center ice and slapped a shot towards Milner, seemingly just to get the puck in deep. And it WENT IN. Milner didn’t react until the puck was behind him, and we had possibly the most improbable goal Matthews had seen in years. The arena erupted, and the Huskies had a 3-1 lead they would never relinquish. They sealed the game away behind 31 saves from senior goaltender Chris Rawlings, and a sold out Matthews Arena saw one of the greatest upsets in college hockey in the early part of the decade take place.
And more importantly, a fan for life was born. The game changed how I saw and felt about Northeastern hockey, and put me on a path that took me to Ireland, across New England, and onto this very website covering and rooting for my school’s hockey program. The saying goes you never forget your first, and while I can’t even remember my first game at Matthews, I remember the first one that made the lasting impression on me. From that game all the way through today….All Hail, Northeastern.