SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The amount of goals may have been different, but the result was the same as Northeastern swept #2/3 Notre Dame in a 2-1 contest on Saturday night at Compton Family Ice Arena.
The last time Northeastern has won three straight road contest (not including neutral contests in tournaments) was under Don McKenney during the 1989-90 season when the Huskies swept Denver, 7-3 and 6-4, before beating New Hampshire in overtime from Jan. 19-23, 1990.
Junior Chris Rawlings earns a brunt of the credit, matching a career-best five-game winning streak by steering aside 22 Irish shots in Saturday night's triumph. The North Delta, B.C. native has surrender just eight goals throughout the stretch.
Third-year forward Steve Quailer and Braden Pimm continue to dictate the offense. Quailer netted his first-career game-winning tally in power play fashion to extend his career-best six-game point streak while Pim tied the game up on a nifty backhand midway through the second period.
Northeastern mimicked Friday night's start against the Fighting Irish, zipping the puck across the goalmouth, forcing Johnson to swat the puck away just inches from another early Huskies' tally.
Both teams earned some extra real estate after sophomore Like Eibler (checking from behind) and Austin Wuthrich (slashing) created a 4-on-4 situation at 4:12. The Huskies offered up a couple more grade-A chances, most notably off the forecheck from sophomore Braden Pimm. Pimm stripped the puck from a unit of Irish in Notre Dame's end and wheeled it up top between the circles. Pimm connected with classmate Cody Ferriero in between the circles and Ferriero crafted a 360 backhand move that sailed just wide of the net two minutes into the contest.
Billy Maday was whistled for interference at 8:20 to put Northeastern on the power play. The Huskies threw pucks at Johnson in throngs, but the Fighting Irish were able to clear it down the sheet a couple times to let Maday's call go unscathed.
Sean Lorenz tried to give Notre Dame's defense a break and threw a nifty backhand maneuver in front of Rawlings at 12:30 of the first, but the Huskies' swarming defense shifted play back into the Irish's end.
The Huskies relayed that into another power play after a Peter Schneider boarding call (13:55) gave the Huskies the extra skater. Notre Dame's penalty killing unit was much more lively and did not allow much penetration towards the net throughout the duration.
Notre Dame closed out the first frame on a bid by Bryan Rust with a minute remaining, but Rawlings followed his every move and cut off the angle on the near post.
Northeastern put itself at a two-man disadvantage to initiate the second period after junior Drew Ellement and sophomore Anthony Bitetto followed each other to the box, respectively, at 1:34 and 2:23. The Fighting Irish had 1:12 of 5-on-3 and cashed in to draw first blood at the 3:05 mark.
The Irish took a bit to get their power play in motion, but after a few passes up top, ND crashed the net and Riley Sheahan came away with the goal off a scrum in front of Rawlings for the 1-0 advantage.
First-year defenseman Dan Cornell brought the Huskies' penalty kill team right back out after a hold at 4:57. Notre Dame did not counter despite a great opportunity for Anders Lee just to the left of Rawlings.
At 7:23 of the second stanza, Northeastern gained its third power play try of the evening on a Jeff Costello hooking infraction, but the Fighting Irish did a good job of keeping the puck in the corners away from dangerous angles.
Junior Garrett Vermeersch and Kevin Lind caused another 4-on-4 scenario at 12:39 and Pimm was able to cinch the game up at 13:02 with the extra room on a great dish from Bitetto through the netural zone. Pimm corralled the disc and went off to the races, dekeing Johnson between the circles and slipping the puck through his five-hole with the backhand to make it 1-1.
With just about 20 ticks left in the second session, the Bietto-Pimm connection nearly took the 2-1 lead. Bitetto made a solo defensive stop and turned it up towards the Fighting Irish's net. Bitetto carried into the far corner and scouted out Pimm streaking in from the top. Pimm had a lot of time alone and tried to pick the right corner, but Johnson got about 90 percent of the puck. The rubber trickled past Johnson and Ferriero was half a second too late to bury the loose shot, forcing both teams into the locker room deadlocked, 1-1, through two periods.
Notre Dame gained the man advantage at 2:34 to start off the third period on a junior Justin Daniels' slash. The Huskies executed the penalty kill perfectly and parlayed it into a power play goal by Quailer at 5:19 of the third period.
Kevin Lind dragged down a Northeastern forward and immediately off the draw, Quailer sniped the bottom portion of the net on one-timer to take control with the 2-1 advantage. Vermeersch was credited with the assist on the play.
Both squads tried to hand momentum to the other with Pimm and Maday taking penalties at 5:43 and 8:15, respectively, of the third period. Notre Dame nearly put away a loose carom while the Huskies had several good looks from up top, but neither team could take care of the extra-man opportunity.
Lee nearly sewed it up at the 10:30 mark on a rip from the right circle, but the disc clanked off the right pipe. Shortly after, junior Drew Ellement committed the Huskies' eighth penalty of the night at 10:50, but NU limited Notre Dame's chances to keep it a 2-1 game.
Notre Dame head coach Jeff Jackson pulled Johnson just under a minute left in the final stanza, but Northeastern was able to fend off the extra attacker to earn the sweep over Notre Dame with the 2-1 triumph.
Northeastern returns home to Matthews Arena for the last contest in Boston of 2011, taking on UMass Lowell on Saturday, Jan. 10 at 7:00 p.m. A battle of winning streaks will be on the line as the River Hawks carry a four-game winning spell to Matthews Arena.
- Northeastern has assembled its first five-game winning streak after downing Providence (Nov. 18, 5-2), Vermont (Nov. 19, 4-1), Michigan (Nov. 25, 4-1) and Notre Dame (Dec. 2-3, 9-2 and 2-1) since the 2009-10 season when the Huskies rattled off five-straight victories from Feb. 5 to Feb. 19, 2010. Northeastern also won five straight games in 2008-09 from Oct. 11 to Oct. 25, 2008. The last two five-game stretches were under Greg Cronin. The last time NU won more than five straight was in 1997-98 when the Huskies rattled off six in a row from Dec. 6, 1997 to Jan. 3, 1998.
- Steve Quailer has assembled a career-best and team high six-game point streak and has logged 11 points along the way (4-7-11). The only other skater on NU's roster with a six-game point streak is Alex Tuckerman (2008-09 season). Quailer's power play goal also marked his first-career game-winning tally.
- Braden Pimm is in the midst of a career best three-game goal-scoring streak. Pimm's three-game point streak also matches a career high. The Fort St. John, B.C. native has accounted for four goals and two assists within that stretch.
- Anthony Bitetto tied a career best three-game assist and point streak. The Island Park, N.Y. native has registered four helpers in his last three games.
- Northeastern's 45th goal of the season was the Huskies' first of the 4-on-4 variety. Braden Pimm tied the game up in the second period in a 4-on-4 situation.
- Chris Rawlings matched a career-best five-game winning streak. Rawlings backstopped the Huskies' five-game winning stretch in February during the 2009-10 season.