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The Northeastern men's hockey team battled its way back to .500 with a sound 4-1 triumph against Providence on Friday night at Matthews Arena. With the victory, the Huskies match their longest winning streak against the Friars (four games) since Northeastern accomplished the same feat from Nov. 12, 1985 - Oct. 24, 1986.
The Huskies netted two more powerplay goals to extend their streak to four games with an extra-man tally. Northeastern has lit the lamp five times in its last two outings on the man-advantage and has scored a powerplay marker in every contest this season except the Boston College tilt (Nov. 7).
Senior Kyle Kraemer and sophomore Alex Tuckerman became the first skaters to record a goal in consecutive outings since rookie Garrett Vermeersch turned the trick in the opening weekend series at Colorado College (10/9/09- 10/10/09). Juniors Tyler McNeely and Wade MacLeod capitalized on their chances as well on Friday evening.
Kraemer and McNeely logged their first multiple-point performances of the season while MacLeod turned in his third of the season, 17th overall. Kraemer has not scored two points in one game since a two-assist showing against Brown on Nov. 30, 2007.
The Huskies full-strength unit played well defensively, surrendering only 29 shots and was only sent to the box four times for eight minutes. NU's time in the box was its lowest output since getting sent off twice at Colorado College in the season opener (Oct. 9).
"I thought our team did a really good job of not surrendering too may odd-man rushes," head coach Greg Cronin said.
The first period did not bear a score, but a holding penalty charged to Eric Baier at the 20:00 triggered NU's first powerplay blast of the game at 1:01 of the second. Vermeersch set Kraemer up with a slapshot at the top right circle, but McNeely was able to zero in on the puck and bat it out of thin air with a deflection past PC's Justin Gates to take charge, 1-0.
Seconds later, senior Chris Donovan get mashed into the near boards by Ben Farrer, but the veteran kept sophomore Drew Muench in sight and saucered the puck to the right defensman in the slot. MacLeod saw an open lane, charged the net and was awarded with a great feed from Muench at 1:48 to double up, 2-0. Muench missed the last six games while Donovan registered his first helper since Colorado College (Oct. 10).
A faceoff win by Steve Silva in Providence territory proved to be the catalyst for a 3-0 Huskies' advantage. McNeely corralled Silva's win and delivered the disc to freshman Drew Ellement at the slot. Ellement kicked the puck forward to Kraemer who unleashed a snapshot to the top left shelf at 4:02 of the third for the 3-0 buffer.
Tim Schaller spoiled NU netminder Chris Rawlings' bid for a second shutout at 13:23 after sophomore Matt Lipinski was whistled off for contact to the head at 11:58. Schaller tossed the puck on net from a distance but was fortunate enough for a scrum in front of the net to carry it across the goal line to cut the deficit, 3-1. Matt Germain made the pass from the neutral zone to set up Schaller with the marker.
Tuckerman reassured the win with NU's second poweplay goal of the night at 17:41. Daniel New was called for boarding at 16:26, allowing the red-hot Huskies' powerplay unit another chance. A perfect cycle from freshman Jake Newton to MacLeod enabled Tuckerman a perfect look at the net on the near post for the 4-1 win.
Rawlings finished the game with 28 saves on 29 shots while Gates turned in a 30-stop outing on 34 attempts. It was the first time Northeastern outshot its opponent since the home opener against Bentley (Oct. 16).
Five Huskies skate into tomorrow night's rematch riding a pointstreak directed by Kraemer's four-game jaunt. Ellement was chimed in with a helper in each of his last three contests while Vermeersch has done the same. McNeely and Tuckerman look to broaden their streaks to three games on Saturday.
Northeastern plays a game outside the Commonwealth for the first time since traveling to New Hampshire on Oct. 23 in a rematch against Providence at Schneider Arena. Game time is set for 7 p.m.