BOSTON, Mass. - Despite aggressive play and sound goaltending, Northeastern lost its exhibition match, 3-2, to Acadia University on Saturday evening at Matthews Arena. Third-year forward Mike McLaughlin along with newcomer Zak Stone etched their names in the scoresheet for goals while sophomore goaltender Chris Rawlings and rookie backstopper Clay Witt combined for 29 saves on the night.
Six different Huskies tallied a point in the exhibition affair as sophomores Steve Quailer, Garrett Vermeersch and Drew Ellement and senior Randy Guzior assisted on NU's two goals. Quailer's return for missing all of 2009-10 yielded three shots and a helper on McLaughlin's marker.
The Huskies' freshmen crop showed signs of promise and physicality. Along with notching the Huskies' second lamplighter, Stone doled out ruthless body checks all evening. Classmate Cody Ferriero flashed the lumber and demonstrated his laser of a slapshot. Ferriero and sophomore Justin Daniels directed the Huskies in shots with four apiece.
Rawlings made 21 saves and yielded two goals in two periods of play while Witt stopped eight pucks and surrendered one tally.
Overall, Northeastern outshot Acadia, 36-32.
A physical exchange was present from the initial puck drop, but it was the Huskies who were able to draw first blood on the scoreboard.
Quailer cleared the puck out of Northeastern's zone along the far boards to a flanking Vermeersch down the center of the sheet. Vermeersch carved out a move in front of AU's netminder Kristofer Westblom and bounced a wrister off his chest but McLaughlin was able to cash in after trailing his linemate's first attempt. Westblom was not able to corral the shot and McLaughlin lifted the rebound past Westblom on the backhand at the 8:59 mark for the 1-0 lead.
Newcomer Jamie Oleksiak was flagged for hooking at 11:35, giving way to the Axemen's first marker of the night. Michael Ward was able to muster a powerplay goal out of a pile in front of Rawlings. Phillippe Bertrand gathered Cristopher Bruton's attempt from behind the net and Bertrand flung the disc towards the goalmouth. Ward threw his stick in at the right angle and duped Rawlings to knot the game up, 1-1, at 11:56.
Northeastern owned the middle portion of the second period as senior captain Tyler McNeely had the Huskies' best chance at the eight-minute mark with an open backhand. McNeely's rip hit Westblom's blocker to keep the score even.
Acadia claimed back the momentum on a shorthanded tally at 17:21 from Bruton, 2-1. Ryan Graham was whistled for interference at 16:08, but a broken Huskies powerplay resulted in a breakaway goal. Nick Emanuele tipped the puck out to Bruton who went off to the races to claim the Axemen's first lead of the contest.
Stone quickly negated the short-handed blast with a powerplay tip-in 37 seconds later to cinch the game back up, 2-2, at 17:58. Northeastern was able to exploit Graham's absence on a nice cycle starting with Ellement from the left point. Ellement shifted the puck to Guzior on the far boards as he was able to get off a clean shot on Westblom. Stone quickly followed up on Guzior's carom and lifted it over Westblom's glove for his first collegiate marker.
The early exchanges of the third period gave way to good chances for both teams, but Bruton found the back of the net for his second of the night at 10:48 to break the stalemate. Andrew Clark won a faceoff in Northeastern's end directly out to Bruton's stick. The left winger beat Witt on a quick snap shot from just outside the left dot for the 3-2 edge.
A Jonathan Laberge slashing infraction at 19:17 of the final stanza gave the Huskies hope to extend the game into overtime, but the Axemen defense stood tall to seal victory.
Northeastern lifts the lid on the 2010-11 regular season campaign with a trip to Schneider Arena to combat Providence on Friday, Oct. 8 at 7 p.m. The Huskies welcome in defending national champion Boston College the following night at Matthews Arena on Saturday, Oct. 9 for a 7 p.m. puck drop.
To watch a replay of tonight's exhibition, please visit GoNU.TV for a video archive of all Northeastern athletic home events.