The Northeastern men's hockey team passed its first non-conference test of the season with a 4-1 trouncing of No. 11 Michigan on Friday evening at Yost Ice Arena in Ann Arbor. The Huskies pieced together their first three-game winning since the 2009-10 season and have now won their last two outings at Michigan. Northeastern downed U of M, 3-2, on Oct. 28, 2006 in its last trip to Michigan.
Sophomore Cody Ferriero led the offensive charge with a two-goal performance while junior Steve Quailer's hot streak continued. Quailer scored a goal in his third-consecutive outing and added two assists for his first-career three-point game. Second-year centerman Braden Pimm also registered a goal and two helpers for his first three-point performance on Friday evening.
Junior backstopper Chris Rawlings continued his astute play between the pipes with 33 saves in his third-consecutive victory. Opposing goaltender Shawn Hunwick turned away 18-of-22 shots.
The Huskies were outshot, 34-22, but the penalty-killing unit helped Rawlings all evening by thwarting the Wolverines on all three power play opportunities. The Huskies went 1-for-3 with the extra skater thanks to Quailer's tally at 5:04 of the second stanza.
The puck was predominantly possessed in Northeastern territory during the first stages of the initial period. Travis Lynch attempted the first grade-A chance of the game on a one-time pass from the right dot, but Rawlings hugged the post to turn the puck aside.
On Lynch's next attempt, he beat Rawlings with a change-up through the five-hole at 7:58 to draw first blood. Mac Bennett connected with Lynch on the home run pass from deep within Michigan's territory. Lynch just tried to get the puck on net from the right dot, but the speed of the shot duped Rawlings and gave Michigan the early 1-0 advantage.
Following the Wolverines' tally, Northeastern settled down and possessed more in Michigan's end. Junior Vinny Saponari nearly put away a loose puck from his knees on the far post at the 9:00-minute mark of the first period. Saponari almost scored on a loose puck out in front of Hunwick two minutes later, but the U of M netminder denied him.
The Huskies went on the power play at 13:34 and 18:33 for boarding and checking from behind calls to David Wohlberg and Lynch, respectively, to close out the first period.
As Hunwick was trying to poke check the puck away, Northeastern nearly buried the puck through traffic, but Kevin Clare filled the void in net and blocked the puck with his chest to keep Michigan ahead. During NU's second power play, mere inches separated the Huskies from tying it once again after junior Steve Quailer centered a puck behind Hunwick and the disc nearly caromed into the back of the net. The tandem of Chris Brown and Mike Chiasson backed up Hunwick once again to keep it a 1-0 affair after the first 20 minutes.
Northeastern capitalized on its fourth power play after David Wohlberg took a seat for hooking at 3:33 of the second stanza. Rawlings made a precise pass out to Vermeersch on the near boards in the neutral zone and turned it up ice. Vermeersch made one move around his pursuer and connected with Quailer flanking to his left. Quailer's quick release beat Hunwick blocker side at 5:04 to tie to game up, 1-1.
Freshman Adam Reid took a slashing call at 7:58 to give Michigan its man-advantage of the evening. Northeastern's penalty kill did a great job and as Reid exited the box, sophomore Braden Pimm connected with him on the deep pass on the blue line. Reid was alone on Hunwick, but Reid's deke to the right was gloved by Hunwick at 7:58 to keep the game deadlocked.
The Wolverines turned up the pressure in Northeastern's zone in the latter part of the second period, gaining momentum on a too many men infraction to the Huskies at 12:41. Rawlings kept the Huskies alive with some big stops through traffic and Northeastern deflated U of M's tempo with just a few seconds left in the middle session.
Quailer broke up a play in the neutral zone and the puck ended up on Pimm's lumber. Pimm raced down the right side with a Wolverine in his face the entire way, but Pimm managed to get a shot on net from the near post. The puck caromed off of Hunwick out to the goalmouth and Ferriero swooped in after bucking his defender and dunked it in the wide-open cage for the 2-1 advantage at 19:48.
Northeastern kept up the tempo and a big save by Rawlings at 4:30 of the third frame was the catalyst for another Ferriero tally at moments later. Quailer made a soft backhand pass out to Pimm in the neutral zone and charged into Michigan's end. Pimm split two defensemen and connected with Ferriero on the far post. Ferriero's quick release from 10 feet out made it a 3-1 affair at 4:39.
Michigan nearly cut the deficit in half after sophomore Zak Stone took an elbow at 8:06. Chris Brown redirected a shot from the point in mid air, but the puck clanked off the post as the Huskies penalty-killing unit closed out U of M's third power play of the night.
The Huskies added one more on broken play created by sophomore Anthony Bitetto and rookie Joseph Manno. Manno gathered the loose disc at the red line and created a two-on-one with Pimm. Manno held the puck and then fired on Hunwick, forcing the rubber to trickle out to his right. Pimm was there to pounce on the near post for his third goal of the season to solidify the 4-1 score at 17:49 of the third period.
Northeastern continues its out-of-conference Midwest swing next weekend with a pair of contests against No. 2/3 Notre Dame on Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3. The Huskies will be just the fourth opposing team to skate at the Fighting Irish's brand new complex, the Compton Family Ice Arena, which opened on Nov. 11 against Alaska. Notre Dame is 4-0-0 in its new facility. Game times are set for 7 p.m.