Despite four different goal scorers, the Northeastern men's hockey team could not handle the fire power of the U-18 U.S. National Team Development Program, dropping a 7-4 decision in an exhibition bout on Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
Junior Garrett Vermeersch registered a three-point game with a goal and two assists while rookie Adam Reid tallied a power play goal for the first marker of the game. Reid also added an assist against his old squad while sophomore Anthony Bitetto tallied the Huskies' second power play goal of the game. Third-year forward Robbie Vrolyk scored midway through the third period as Northeastern's fourth goal scorer.
Junior Chris Rawlings started the first 31:55 of the contest, stopping 15-of-18 shots while sophomore Clay Witt was assessed the loss with the same statitics as Rawlings. Team USA's Collin Olson picked up the victory, stopping 20-of-24 shots.
Team USA outshot Northeastern, 37-24, and converted three of its seven power play opportunities. The Huskies attacked on two of their six chances.
The first chance of the contest came off the lumber of rookie Ludwig Karlsson at the 3:10 mark of the first period. Karlsson dug the puck off the wall, wheeled through the zone and bounced the disc off of Olson. Olson coughed it back up in the slot and Karlsson rang it off the left post for the near score.
The Huskies gained the first power play of the game and made Niklos Olsson pay for his high-sticking call with a Reid tally at 9:14 of the first stanza. Junior Drew Daniels generated the scoring play by passing the puck off to junior Garrett Vermeersch from the blue line. Vermeersch slid the disc down to Reid on the near post and Reid was able to bang the puck past Olson's pad for the 1-0 advantage.
Team USA atoned for Olsson's penalty with a power play strike of its own at 11:29 of the first. Sophomore Anthony Bitetto went off at 10:44 for cross-checking and Frankie Vatrano split Northeastern's penalty kill to tie it up. Quentin Shore sent the puck around behind Rawlings out to Ryan Hartman on the far post. Shore linked up with a streaking Vatrano between the circles for the one-timer power play blast.
Just 47 seconds later, Team USA grabbed a 2-1 advantage at 12:16 after Thomas Di Pauli and Stefan Matteau connected on the doorstep. Andrew Copp won a battle along the corner boards and chipped it around to Matteau in the low post. Matteau zipped the puck through the zone where Di Pauli was alone on the near post to poke it past Rawlings' right side.
Northeastern had a chance to tie it in the first frame after Tom Parisi was dealt an interference call at 16:08, but a Bitetto slap shot sailed just wide as the two-minute window expired.
Team USA extended its lead to two goals with a short-handed marker at 5:19. Stefan Matteau was whistled for interference at 4:27, but Patrick Sieloff won a battle in the corner early in the power play and sent it up to Shore at the half boards. Shore broke away for a two-on-one against Bitetto and instead of connecting with his flanker to the right side, he opted for the high wrist shot that found the top shelf for the 3-1 advantage.
The Huskies put themselves in a 5-on-3 hole for 1:14 after rookies Ben Oskroba and Dan Cornell took respective seats at 7:44 and 9:31, but NU's penalty kill kept Team USA off the board with advantage.
Northeastern built momentum off the big penalty kill and on the ensuing possession, Vermeersch closed the gap with a blistering wrister at 11:55 of the second period. Sophomore Steve Morra moved the puck out of the neutral zone and handed it off to junior Alex Tuckerman in between the circles. Tuckerman shifted over to Vermeersch on the right dot and he drove it past Olson to make it 3-2.
Following Vermeersch's tally, head coach Jim Madigan opted to test Witt's hand in net at the 11:55 mark.
After a junior Vinny Saponari penalty (11:55) ended, the Huskies gained their own 5-on-3 advantage at 15:49 of the second session for 1:50. NU blasted Olson from all angles and Bitetto's wrister tied it up, 3-3, with 10 seconds remaining in the window at 17:40. Vermeersch started the play with a pass down to Saponari on the near post. Saponari sent the disc through the zone diagonally over to Bitetto on the right circle. Bitetto took his time and precisely wristed the puck past Olson for Northeastern's second power play goal of the night.
Team USA earned an opportunity to break the tie after a Bitetto high-stick at 3:18 and Kyle Osterberg cashed in 22 seconds later for Team USA's second power play strike. Witt made a great kick save on Hartman during Team USA's first attempt, but on the next drive, Osterberg hammered home Matt Grezelcyk's rebound on the near post at 3:40 to regain the edge, 4-3.
Under a minute later, Team USA regained its two-goal pad on a Hartman tally at 4:15. Osterberg whistled the puck along the boards to Nicolas Kerdiles where he found Hartman on the doorstep. Hartman tried the backhand once and buried his own rebound to the far post for the 5-3 lead.
Vrolyk made it a one-goal contest after burying senior Mike McLaughlin's rebound in front of Olson. Reid scraped the puck off the boards out to McLaughlin in the corner. McLaughlin raced in off of Olson and bounced it off his chest protector where the puck landed in perfect position for Vrolyk in between the circles. Vrolyk lifted the puck past Olson's blocker at 10:39 to inch within a goal, 5-4.
A third power play goal for Team USA doomed the Huskies at 11:48. Sophomore Jake Hoefler was cited for hooking at 11:48 and Kerdiles found the back of the net at 12:31 to make it a 6-4 affair. The puck descended down into the goalmouth and Kerdiles' stick work pulled the disc out of the scrum for the goal.
A couple power play opportunities passed for both squads before Shore put away an empty netter 19:38 to seal the contest, 7-4.
Hockey East play resumes next Friday night when the Huskies welcome in Boston University for the first time this season. The Friday the 13th affair will be broadcast on the New England Sports Network (NESN). Following the BU game, the Huskies will skate next door to play Boston College at Fenway Park on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 4 p.m. (Game time was moved from its original time of 6 p.m.)
- Adam Reid made his old team remember him, scoring the first goal of the game against the U-18 U.S. National Team Development Program. Reid skated with the U-18 U.S. squad last season before coming to Northeastern.
- Garrett Vermeersch registered his first three-point outing of the season.
- Robbie Vrolyk netted his first goal of the season.
- Adam Reid attained his first two-point outing of the season.