Northeastern withstood #16 UMass Lowell's last-ditch effort to tie the game in the final two minutes and notched its second-straight home victory by a 2-1 final on Friday night at Matthews Arena. A pair of goals from twin brothers Drew and Justin Daniels was all the Huskies needed to boost their January record to 5-3-0.
Northeastern's fourth victory over a ranked opponent pushed the Huskies into sole possession of seventh place in the Hockey East with 15 points (7-10-1, 11-11-1).
Freshman Chris Rawlings turned away 23 River Hawks' shots to nudge his record over the .500 mark. The North Delta, British Columbia native is the owner of a 10-9-1 record in 20 starts.
J. Daniels' first-career game winner marked Northeastern's third unassisted tally in its last four scores. D. Daniels did his part by tallying his second-career lamplighter, as the phenomenon was first time the twin siblings from Suffern, N.Y. scored in the same game. J. Daniels is riding a two-game point streak heading into the Beanpot.
The first period staged fairly even play until junior Wade MacLeod ignited Northeastern's offense with a pair of attempts on UML's doorstep near the 15:00 mark. Despite a scoreless first frame, the Huskies' final five minutes of play in the first period yielded a 15-4 advantage in shots.
The Huskies' momentum spilled over into the second stanza as D. Daniels pumped in the first marker of the game at 5:12. Rookie Robbie Vrolyk and senior Greg Costa teamed up on the River Hawks' defense and were able to wrangle the puck free. Costa sped around the net and tried to finish the play with a wrap-around, but was stuffed by UML's Carter Hutton. D. Daniels streaked in and banged it home for the 1-0 lead.
Both Vrolyk and Costa earned credit for their fourth helpers of the season.
Senior Kyle Kraemer was sent away at 5:57 of the third for hooking and UMass Lowell made quick work of the powerplay 18 seconds later. Kory Falite teed up a blast from the slot but Rawlings was there to make the save. The puck caromed out to Maury Edwards on the opposite side and he took advantage of a gaping left side of the net to button the game up, 1-1, at 6:15.
"When Lowell scored, I wasn't worried," head coach Greg Cronin said. "I was confident our team would respond and we did."
Three minutes later, J. Daniels reaped the benefit of UMass Lowell's errant clearing pass at 9:16. UML tried to cross it from the low corner, but J. Daniels cut off the lane and ripped a slapshot from between the circles to regain the advantage, 2-1.
The River Hawks pulled Hutton with 1:45 reading on the clock and immediately, UML's offense went to work in Northeastern's zone. UMass Lowell efficiently created opportunities, but the Huskies' defense did a sound job of cutting of the angles. A Northeastern icing call gave the River Hawks' one last gasp with 3.2 seconds left, but NU won the faceoff to solidify the win.
Northeastern outshot UMass Lowell 35-24 while MacLeod skated in his 100th-career game on Friday evening.
Northeastern now switches it focus to Boston University in the first round of the 58th Annual Beanpot at the TD Garden. The Huskies look to end a 22-year drought by winning the next two games in one of Boston's most celebrated sporting events.