Boston- After winning their third consecutive Beanpot Championship, the rest of February felt like a nightmare. Tyler Madden, Jayden Struble, Matt Filipe, and Grant Jozefek all missed various amounts of time ranging from a few games to the rest of the season with injuries. The Huskies lost five consecutive games, including a 10-1 demolition at Conte Forum, a sweep to last placed Vermont, and a home loss to rival BU. Entering Saturday afternoon at Agganis, Northeastern needed a win to make the playoffs and prevent one of the worst collapses in program history. Against rival BU, Northeastern got what they needed.
BU actually started the game with a power play after back up goaltender Curtis Frye shot a puck at Patrick Curry in warmups, but failed to make anything from it. In fact, Northeastern got the benefit of an early power play goal. 7:25 in, Logan Cockerill sat for slashing. Forty-three seconds into the ensuing power play, Aidan McDonough punched home his 11th goal of the season. NU controlled the pace for the rest of the frame while Sam Tucker kept the game at 1-0 into the intermission.
BU offered push back in the second, but could not beat Craig Pantano in the Northeastern net. The graduate student from Bridgewater recorded 12 saves. He got some help from video replay. BU got a puck through but the refs reversed their call for a “distinct kicking motion” and the game stayed 1-0 into the second intermission.
Northeastern landed the killing strike early in the third. Matt Filipe scored 43 seconds into the final stanza to make the score 2-0. BU offered push back. Patrick Harper got the Terriers on the board with 16:54 of the period yet to play. The Terriers mounted attack after attack, but could not get one more through to tie. Northeastern escaped Agganis with a well-earned 2-1 victory.
BU drops to 13-13-8 (10-9-5 HEA).
“I liked the way we played all weekend,” said BU Head Coach Albie O’Connell. “I liked the growth from where we started the season t where we ended it. We’re excited to get into the postseason.”
Sam Tucker stopped 24 of 26 shots on net.
BU is the 6th seed in the Hockey East playoffs and will travel to 3rd seeded UMass Lowell.
Northeastern improves to 18-13-3 (11-12-1 HEA).
“Pleased with how we responded tonight,” said NU Head Coach Jim Madigan. “This is a building we haven’t had a lot of success in over the many years. I thought our kids played a tough, gutty game. We wanted to make sure we earned our way into the playoffs. We’ll get ready now to face a very good UMass team.”
Craig Pantano stopped 29 of 30 shots faced.
The Huskies avert a late season collapse and clinch Hockey East’s 7th seed. Northeastern will face 2nd seeded Massachusetts for best two out of three Quarterfinal Series at Mullins Center.