Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Across the sheet: Neutralizing Northeastern no small task

Huskies have firepower all throughout their lineup
Northeastern Men’s Ice Hockey Facebook

It’s no secret to what has been the driving force behind the Northeastern hockey’s team’s magical 2017-18 season.

Offense, offense, and even more offense.

Boasting the top goal scorer in the nation in junior Adam Gaudette (56 points in 34 games played), the fifth-best goals-per-game output in the country averaging 3.59 a game, plus the fourth-best power play percentage in Division I hockey at 26.49 percent, and these Huskies (21-8-5) don’t have much trouble putting the biscuit in the basket.

Their top line of Gaudette, senior Dylan Sikura, and senior Nolan Stevens are No. 1, 2, and 3 in scoring in Hockey East with a combined 142 points between them and are a constant threat whenever they step onto the ice for the Red and Black.

Mix in sophomore defenseman Jeremy Davies who tops the charts for scoring among blueliners in Hockey East with 29 points and Northeastern doesn’t seem to have a shortage of goal scorers anywhere throughout its lineup.

The Massachusetts hockey team will be tasked in trying to slow down the dynamic Huskies offense this weekend in the Hockey East quarterfinal series at Matthews Arena and that starts with limiting their first line as much as possible.

“That’s the top of the game plan for sure, for sure,” UMass (17-18-2) coach Greg Carvel said. “I’m sure their game plan is for those guys to be really good to beat us.”

Zack Solow will be another Northeastern skater to keep an eye on as the freshman holds the seventh-most points among first-years in Hockey East with 23 points. Minutemen freshman John Leonard is second with 27.

While the Huskies are making life miserable for most opposing goalies, Northeastern netminder Cayden Primeau—son of longtime NHL player Keith Primeau—has quietly put together a masterful season.

Top five in both save percentage (.933) and goals-against average (1.85) in the nation, Primeau has been riding the wave particularly recently as the Voorhees, New Jersey native hasn’t surrendered a loss in five contests.

“He does have excellent numbers,” Carvel said. “He’s a big kid, he’s a pro style goalie but he’s not infallible.”

The Huskies have been playing some sound hockey seemingly for the entire season with their highlight being winning the annual Beanpot Tournament, a 5-2 win over Boston University, for the first time in 30 years this past February.

Earning a bye into the quarterfinal round as the second-place team in Hockey East, Northeastern hasn’t played in two weeks when it swept New Hampshire by a combined score of 12-0.

Now hosting UMass, the Huskies will hope to use their 12-4-2 home record to their advantage this weekend. Northeastern is also 12-2-0 when scoring first and 12-0-0 when leading after the first period in conference games.

Defenseman Ryan Shea is third in plus/minus in Hockey East with a plus-17—four behind Sikura’s plus-21—and junior Eric Williams is second in the conference in blocked shots with 69.

“We’re excited about this opportunity, we know we’re playing a real good UMass team,” Huskies coach Jim Madigan said in a teleconference earlier this week. “A team that is young but plays fast. They’ve got a high-powered offense and a group of defensemen that jump into the play and they’ve got a group of defensemen there that are as good as anybody in the league.”


Ryan Ames can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @_RyanAmes.

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