The Northeastern hockey team welcomed the new decade with open arms as seven different Huskies attacked the net in a 7-0 trouncing of host-Dartmouth in the first round of the Ledyard National Bank Classic. With the win, the Huskies earned a spot in the championship showdown with Hockey East counterpart, #14/12 UMass Lowell. Northeastern's seven-goal triumph marks the largest margin of victory under head coach Greg Cronin's tenure.
Freshman Chris Rawlings earned his second-career shutout, turning away 32 Big Green attempts in the effort. Rawlings' first blanking came at home against Boston University on Nov. 6, 1-0.
Four different icers notched a two-point performance as sophomore Alex Tuckerman recorded the first of his career. Junior Wade MacLeod (fourth of the season), senior Kyle Kraemer (second of the season) and rookie Jake Newton (second of the season) also joined in with Tuckerman.
The last time NU hit the seven-goal plateau was a 7-3 win at Maine on Jan. 4, 2008. The first time NU touched upon seven tallies under Cronin was a 7-2 victory over Holy Cross on Dec. 30, 2006. The Huskies' seven-goal crushing is the largest margin of victory since Northeastern flattened Connecticut, 10-1, on Oct. 11, 2002.
Northeastern wasted no time setting the precedent as Kraemer dialed up the initial tally at 1:38 of the first frame. The Huskies controlled the tempo immediately off the faceoff and after a couple cycles, freshman Chris Student redirected the puck to Kraemer who pursued the developing play. Kraemer collected the puck in the slot and whistled a wrister past DC netminder Jody OíNeill for the 1-0 lead. Studentís helper marked his second of the season while second-year blue liner Drew Muench chalked up his fifth of the year.
As the majority of action continued on in Dartmouth's zone, the Huskies drew a 5-on-3 opportunity after Connor Goggin and Jim Gaudet were sent off for tripping and contact to the head, respectively, at 10:52 and 11:11. Tuckerman won the faceoff, streaked to the far post and blasted a one-timer from junior Wade MacLeod at 11:30 of the first for the 2-0 margin, marking NU's fourth 5-on-3 lamplighter of the season.
Senior Chris Donovan took a slashing call at 5:41 of the second period, but the Huskies' penalty kill unit created an opportunity as junior Steve Silva broke up Dartmouth's powerplay. Silva wheeled the puck down the right side and tossed it on O'Neill, but MacLeod's coiled stick roofed NU's third goal at 6:06.
Two minutes later, freshman Garrett Vermeersch padded the advantage by backhanding Donovan's rebound at 8:08 of the second. Senior David Strathman set up the play with a precise clear, as Vermeersch was able to paddle Donovan's carom out of mid -air for the 4-0 lead. Vermeersch now has five goals on the season, 11 points in all. Donovan logged his first point since an assist at Providence on Nov. 20.
NU's fourth goal forced Bob Gaudet to take a timeout as Dartmouth's skipper opted for untested backstopper, Charles Corsi.
Newcomers Drew Daniels and Robbie Vrolyk hooked up for the fifth goal as Vrolyk sailed a cross-ice pass to Daniels at 17:13. Daniels crafted a nifty deke in front of Corsi and flipped a backhand shot to the back of the net for the 5-0 buffer. Daniels netted his first-career goal on the play, second point in all.
Junior Tyler McNeely and rookie Jake Newton added a pair in the third to seal the 7-0 flogging. Dartmouth's Evan Stephens was carted off for tripping at 10:20 of the third, setting up NU's second powerplay goal of the game. Newton unleashed a blast five feet within the blueline as McNeely got a stick on it in the slot and redirected it for his team-best fourth-powerplay goal of the season at 11:00.
Newton iced the game after senior Greg Costa provided a great pass in the seam at 16:56, allowing the freshman to net his third goal of the year. Costa registered his first assist of the season on the play while sophomore Mike McLaughlin received his second helper of the year.
Northeastern went 2-for-7 on the powerplay and served only three penalties throughout 60 minutes.
The Huskies tabulated 42 shots in the contest, marking a season-best. NU tried 35 shots in a 5-2 win over Maine on Nov. 14 and hit the same figure in a 3-3 tie at Providence on Nov. 21.
Strathman carries a three-game pointstreak into Sunday night's contest while Kraemer and McNeely have notched a point in their last two. Kraemer leads the team with 12 points (6-6-12).
Northeastern continues its quest for the Ledyard National Bank Classic crown when the Huskies tangle with #14/12 UMass Lowell in the championship showdown on Sunday, Jan. 3 at Thompson Arena. The last time Northeastern and UMass Lowell came to blows, the River Hawks topped NU, 3-1, at Tsongas Arena. UMass Lowell entered the final matchup with a 3-0 shutout of Holy Cross prior to Northeastern's game. Sunday nightís championship contest will not count towards Hockey East standings.