BOSTON, Mass. - Northeastern shutout its third opponent in four games thanks to a 26-save performance by sophomore goaltender Chris Rawlings in a 3-0 victory over Massachusetts on Friday night at Matthews Arena. Friday's contest was broadcast on the New England Sports Network (NESN).
Rawlings' three shutouts in four games marks the first time in Northeastern history the Huskies have turned that trick.
The Huskies received goals from three different skaters in rookies Braden Pimm and Rob Dongara while senior Tyler McNeely added his third empty-net goal of the season.
NU outshot the Minutemen, 28-26, in a game that displayed a fair number of penalties for both sides. Northeastern took nine calls for 26 minutes while Massachusetts was called for 10 infractions on 20 minutes. Neither team converted on the power play.
The first wave of the first period belonged to the Huskies. Northeastern's first opportunity came when freshman Jamie Oleksiak ripped a snap shot from between the circles and senior Steve Silva nearly swatted in the carom, but Silva couldn't get enough lumber on it.
NU then went on the power play after Danny Hobbs was whistled for cross-checking at 4:05. The Huskies' offense came in waves, but UMass was able to fend off the attack and keep the early pressure at bay.
The Minutemen's offense took over and controlled the flow for the next five minutes, but McNeely broke their pace with a break away around the 13:30 mark. Dainton stood his ground and made the glove save on McNeely's low wrister.
At 17:30 of the first, Oleksiak gathered a rebound a top the right circle and caught Dainton out of position, but the defenseman rang it off the corner post to put another jolt into the Massachusetts defense. NU got one more chance to take the early edge after Eric Filiou was hauled off for slashing at 17:59, but the UMass penalty kill canvassed its ice and pushed into the second stanza with no score.
Northeastern's first-period pressure finally broke down UMass' defense at 1:48 of the second after Pimm deked Dainton to draw first blood. Oleksiak clogged up the Minutemen attack and fired the puck off the boards. Sophomore Steve Quailer batted it down to a pursuing Pimm and the rookie wheeled it to Dainton's left, crossed him up and tucked a backhander in for the first tally.
Massachusetts had the man-advantage to open the third after Pimm took a seat for a late hook at 19:16, but Northeastern was able to stave off the Minutemen's second power play of the night.
The Huskies offense picked up the tempo again around the 6:00 mark when senior Wade MacLeod gloved a pass down on the near post and nearly slammed it in off the left post. The puck sailed inches wide but the play triggered NU's next goal moments later.
Oleksiak broke up another play in the UMass zone and zipped the puck out to freshman Brodie Reid on the blue line. Reid relayed the puck up to Dongara who skated it a third of the ice, stopped at the right dot and lasered a wrist shot over Dainton's glove to extend the lead, 2-0, at 6:25.
McNeely put the game out of reach after UMass skipper Don Cahoon pulled Dainton early at 2:48. MacLeod applied the forecheck and connected with his linemate out at center ice. McNeely broke away from one Minuteman and wristed in the lay-up to seal the deal at 17:57.
Quailer almost added a fourth at 18:24, but the goal was disallowed due to a high-stick.
Northeastern concludes its six-game home stand and will make its way back to Amherst to close out the regular-season series with the Minutemen tomorrow, Jan. 29, at 7 p.m.
- Sophomore goaltender Chris Rawlings has shutout three of his last four opponents, marking the first time in Northeastern history that feat has happened. Rawlings has stopped 108-of-111 shots in his last four outings. The North Delta, B.C. native shutout Vermont (Jan. 15, 2-0), Harvard (Jan. 19, 3-0) and Massachusetts (Jan. 28, 3-0) in those episodes.
- Chris Rawlings is now tied for second all-time in career shutouts in Northeastern history. The 6'5 backstopper earned his fourth shutout of the season to nudge his two-year total to seven blankings. That mark ties Keni Gibson's (2001-05) mark and Rawlings is now two behind Brad Thiessen (2006-09) with nine.
- Boston College is the only other team in Hockey East with four shutouts.
- The last time a Northeastern netminder recorded four shutouts was in 2003-04 when Keni Gibson blanked five opponents in one season.
- The last time Northeastern shutout UMass was at the Mullins Center last season on Feb. 12, 2010 (2-0) and the seventh shutout in series history.
- Wade MacLeod registered his 115th-career point on Tyler McNeely's empty-net goal. MacLeod (50-65-115) is now tied for 30th all-time in the Northeastern scoring annals. The Coquitlam, B.C. native is now tied with Stewart Emerson (1982-86 - 48-67-115)
- The last time Northeastern had a six-game home stand at Matthews Arena was in the first half of the 2002-03 season. The Huskies welcomed seven-consecutive opponents.
- Braden Pimm's fourth-career goal came while skating with Northeastern's second line. It was the first time Pimm skated with the second line this season.
- Jamie Oleksiak recorded his first-career multi-point game with a pair of assists. Oleksiak now has eight points from the blue line (2-6-8).
- Northeastern is now 5-1-0 when leading after two periods.