Primeau, Solow Lead Huskies To Shutout Win Over Vermont

With only one game on the docket this weekend, the Northeastern Huskies had a chance to pour all their effort into one 60-minute effort against the Vermont Catamounts at Gutterson Fieldhouse ahead of their Thanksgiving break. Backed by 26 saves by Cayden Primeau and a timely rebound goal by Zach Solow in the third period, the Huskies left The Green Mountain State with the shutout victory and two big Hockey East points.

The teams traded chances for the first two periods with each goalie standing tall and making some truly highlight-reel saves. UVM goaltender Stefanos Lekkas made a cross crease flying save on a Patrick Schule shot after Liam Pecararo made a beautiful pass to the backdoor in the first period, probably the best chance the Huskies had the first half of the game. Cayden Primeau came up big to stop multiple good looks on UVM’s many powerplays, which included three in the first period; it did not appear the penalty bug had left Huntington Avenue just yet after the first period after NU took two hooking penalties and a too many men on the ice penalty. In total UVM had four powerplays but only got three shots on net, none of which went in, a testament to the work of the penalty killers.

I want to highlight John Picking as an unsung hero on the team. He’s so good at what he does as a defensive menace, faceoff winner (won 6 of 11 draws), and outstanding penalty killer. Multiple times he disrupted the UVM breakout with a strong forecheck, as he has all year, he definitely prevented a goal by getting his stick in front of Derek Lodermeier who had an open net to shoot at, and he does a great job collecting the puck and getting it out of the defensive zone, while also being extremely hard to check off the puck when cycling in the offensive one. By my eye, he has done everything and more to earn the “A” on his jersey.

The lone goal of the night was an excellent play by Hawkins and Solow in transition, where Hawkins shot from near the right boards, quite possibly intending for a rebound to occur, and Lekkas put the puck right in the slot on the far side for Solow to swoop in and bury the biscuit. Not a good rebound for Lekkas to give up, but excellent crashing the net by Solow and a good finish in close.

Other takeaways from the game: Northeastern’s forecheck was once again dominant, disrupting the UVM breakout and causing tons of turnovers, many of which led to at least a chance on net or a good cycle in the offensive zone. The forecheck has been borderline-elite this year…UVM’s Derek Lodermeier dominated faceoffs, winning 14 of 17 draws. Overall UVM won 30 of the 52 draws, which isn’t the norm for NU, usually they are the team with the edge on faceoffs; in fact 5 Huskies won 50% of their draws or better, Lodermier just carried the UVM percentage…Matt Filipe led the team with six shots on goalie but continues to be snakebitten, with only one goal on 31 shots (3.2%). The Huskies won the shot differential 28-26 overall.

Featured image via @GoNUmHockey