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Rookie Jake Newton's late third period goal propelled the Northeastern's hockey team to the National Ledyard Bank Classic title with a 2-1 victory over #14/12 UMass-Lowell on Sunday night at Thompson Arena in Hanover, N.H.
The Huskies' last tournament championship came at the Badger Showdown on Dec. 28-29 when NU defeated Bowling Green an Colgate in Madison, Wisc.
Freshman Chris Rawlings surrendered only one goal in both tournament games, bearing Tournament MVP honors. Rawlings earned his second-career shutout with a 7-0 victory over host-Dartmouth in the first round of the tournament. The North Delta, British Columbia made 60 combined saves over the weekend.
Sophomore Alex Tuckerman joined Newton as part of the Ledyard National Bank All-Tournament team. Tuckerman dialed up a powerplay goal in both outings while Newton's game-winner sent the Huskies to the championship. Both skaters had three-points over the course of the tournament with each registering a goal and an assist against Dartmouth.
UMass-Lowell controlled the early portion of the first period by maintaining an offensive presence, but an interference penalty to Michael Budd yielded a powerplay goal for the Huskies at 9:15 of the first period.
A textbook tic-tac-toe tally was engineered on Vermeersch's fake from the point. Vermeersch deked out his pursuer and sent the puck over to MacLeod on the low post. MacLeod offered a quick head fake and doled out the puck to a wide-open Tuckerman who sent it past Carter Hutton with ease for the quick 1-0 lead.
UMass-Lowell sewed it up at the 1:45 mark of the second period as Kory Falite was able to bat a loose rebound from David Vallorani's initial shot. Falite's stick may have crossed the plane above the shoulders on his attempt which would negate the tally, but the officials let the goal stand, sending both squads deadlocked, 1-1, heading into the third period.
Each team sent a couple jolts in the second stanza, starting with a UML breakaway. Rawlings snuffed out the River Hawks' charge as MacLeod broke up a play a couple moments later and honed on Hutton. MacLeod made two fakes before Hutton poke checked the puck away.
Neither team seemed to take control of the game at the turn of the third period until David Vallorani rang one off the crossbar near the 9:30 mark. Vallorani skated in unattested and sent it into the rafters after the puck sailed off the pipe.
Budd's boarding call 15:25 into the final frame acted as the catalyst for the Huskies' victory. Halfway into the powerplay, Kraemer snapped the puck out of NU's zone up to Strathman. Netwon accepted a pass along the near boards and motored down the left side, almost overshooting his target, but the rookie unleashed a shot parallel with the post and drew the lucky bounce off of Hutton's blocker for the game-winner, 2-1.
Northeastern outmuscled the River Hawks in shots, 8-3, in the opening stanza before getting outshot 16-7 in the second period. UML finished with a 29-25 advantage in shots.
Sunday night's win is the second win over a ranked opponent this year. A 1-0 shutout against #6 Boston University on Nov. 6 marked NU's other ranked win.
Northeastern reunites with UMass-Lowell on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Matthews Arena, marking the first game home game since a 2-1 win against Merrimack on Dec. 5. Saturday's Hockey East contest also marks the debut of the newly-refurbished Matthews Arena on television. The Northeastern - UMass-Lowell game will be broadcast on NESN at 7:30 p.m.