BOSTON, Mass. - Northeastern and Providence locked up on Friday night at Matthews Arena, skating to a 1-1 draw in a low-shooting affair with 44 total shots registered. Junior Garrett Vermeersch, skating in his 100th career game, netted the game-tying goal at 6:23 in the first and the final 58:37 of the contest unfolded scoreless.
Rookies Adam Reid and Josh Manson picked up the helpers on Vermeersch's game-tying goal while senior captain Mike McLaughlin registered a team-best four shots.
The Friars edged Northeastern in shot totals, 23-21, as junior backstopper Chris Rawlings steered away 22 attempts for the Huskies to move his season record to 11-12-4. PC goalie Alex Beaudry made 20 saves in his third draw of the year.
Both power play units were held in check as the Huskies and Friars each went 0-for-4 with the man advantage on the night.
Providence earned an early break and scored from an odd angle just 29 seconds into the game. The Friars won the opening draw and forced it into Northeastern territory. Drew Brown nudged the puck out from behind the net to Tim Schaller on the goal line to Rawlings' right. Schaller's initial attempt was blocked, but he corralled his own rebound and bounced the puck off Rawlings' skate at 00:29 for the quick 1-0 strike.
The Huskies responded after the surprise tally and dominated the pace of play over the course of the next five minutes. Northeastern kept a heavy presence in front of Beaudry and knotted the game up, 1-1, on a redirect tally for Vermeersch. Alex Velischek endured heavy forechecking in the near corner and as he tried to clear it, rookie Josh Manson picked the puck off at the blue line. Manson saw his lane and went for the shot, but Vermeersch got his stick on the puck and nipped it through Beaudry's pads at the 6:23 mark.
Barrett Kaid took the first penalty of the game (hitting from behind) at 8:01. Providence's penalty kill took an offensive approach and kept the Huskies out the Friars' zone for a good portion of the window.
The second period opened with chances for both teams out of the gate, but neither team found the back of the net in those chances. Myles Harvey and Kaib enabled Northeastern with back-to-back power plays at 4:16 and 7:56 (both roughing calls) in the middle of the second frame, but the Huskies were shunned on both opportunities.
After the second power play subsided, PC's David Brown nearly slipped a shot past Rawlings off a faceoff at 11:30 of the second stanza. Rawlings stood tall and denied him on the doorstep, nearly leading to a sophomore Braden Pimm goal on the next exchange. Junior Steve Morra and Pimm worked together in front of Beaudry, but Pimm ran out of room on the wraparound attempt.
Sophomore Anthony Bitetto committed the Huskies' first penalty of the night at 13:33 of the second period. The Friars did not threaten as Northeastern blocked several shots on the penalty kill.
The special teams' units continued to dominate play after Matt Montesano's boarding call as Northeastern gained 1:34 of power play to start the third frame. Providence won the opening draw and kept the disc away from the Huskies to kill off Montesano's infraction.
Senior Mike McLaughlin returned the favor with the same boarding penalty 1:33 into the third period. Northeastern's PK unit stepped up to the challenge and allowed a couple PC attempts from outside the slot. Rookie Ben Oskroba put NU's penalty-killing unit back on the ice after a hitting from behind call at 5:11 and the Huskies had no issues dispatching PC's power play once again.
Sophomore Zak Stone and McLaughlin registered Northeastern's best chance of the third at the 11-minute mark. Stone induced a turnover on the half boards, turned it up towards Beaudry and crossed it over to McLaughlin on the goalmouth. Beaudry stepped up to make the stop just in the nick of time to keep it a 1-1 game.
The Huskies took their fourth penalty late in the third after Manson was whistled for a hooking call at 15:41. Providence did not threaten and with moments left in PC's power play, McLaughlin made an aggressive play at the blue line and charged in on Beaudry for the short-handed bid. Beaudry did not bite on the senior's deke and denied McLaughlin, eventually forcing overtime.
Matt Bergland's snap shot on the far post 12 feet from Rawlings was the first chance in the extra session. Reid followed suit on a nice feed from junior Drew Ellement, but his attempt sailed just high of the cage.
Bergland nearly ended the contest with just seconds remaining, capitalizing off a turnover from junior Alex Tuckerman. Bergland grabbed the rubber in between the circles and actually beat Rawlings five-hole, but Rawlings made the astute move to kick the puck just as it was about to cross the goal line, preventing the loss by mere inches and maintaining the 1-1 draw.
Northeastern and Providence will run it back tomorrow night at Matthews Arena for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop. Saturday's game marks the first time in series history that the Friars have skated in back-to-back nights against Northeastern at Matthews Arena.
- Tonight marked Garrett Vermeersch's 100th-career game at Northeastern University. Within that time, the Macomb, Mich. native has scored 17 goals and 36 assists (53 points). Vermeersch has scored at least one point in his last 14 of 18 games. His goal counted for Northeastern's third game-tying tally of the season
- The Huskies are now unbeaten in their last four games against Providence with a 2-0-2 mark. Northeastern has outscored the Friars within that span by a margin of 14-6. Northeastern's draw with PC brings them level with Vermont in regards to unbeaten streaks against Hockey East foes. The Huskies have won four-straight against the Catamounts.