AMHERST, Mass. - Junior John Leonard scored his second highlight reel goal of the evening to break a 2-2 deadlock early in the third period, helping lift No. 3 University of Massachusetts hockey to a 4-2 victory over No. 10 Northeastern on Saturday night at the Mullins Center. With their fifth straight win, the Minutemen improve to 6-1-0 overall, 2-1-0 in Hockey East, while the Huskies fall to 4-3-1 and 1-2-0 in league play.
"This was going to be a great weekend to show what we this year's version of this team actually is," said UMass head coach Greg Carvel. "I thought we played really well at times, but we showed some real high character. Tonight, we came out and I thought we were dominant in the first, we wilted in the second, got a little lackadaisical, lost some battles, took some bad penalties. But to lose a two-goal lead and come out in the third, I thought we were dominant again. Some good signs, we had to really show our character."
With 9.6 seconds to go in what looked like would be a scoreless opening period, Leonard used a burst of speed to get in behind the Northeastern defense for a breakaway and pocketed his sixth of the season, giving UMass a 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Freshman Jeremy Davidson made it a 2-0 advantage for the Minutemen midway through the second period as he crashed the net to pick up his first collegiate tally from junior Philip Lagunov and freshman Matthew Kessel at the 8:09 mark.
The Huskies managed to halve their deficit 14:12 into the second with Adain McDonough burying a one-timer from point-blank range off a feed from Tyler Madden and Zach Solow on the power play.
Northeastern then tied the score at 2-2 with a short-handed goal from John Picking, set up by Matt Filipe and Ryan Shea on the rush with 6.7 seconds remaining in the frame.
Leonard put the Minutemen back on top with his second of the night at the 1:54 mark of the third period after collecting the puck from senior Jack Suter along the wall in the Huskies' zone.
Junior Mitchell Chaffee later added an empty net goal at 19:24 to complete the scoring with goaltender Matt Murray collecting an assist to go along with his 16 saves on the night.
UMass out-shot Northeastern, 34-18 and went 0-for-4 on the power play, while the Huskies were 1-for-4. Netminder Craig Pantano had 30 stops for Northeastern.
The Minutemen will be back in action next Sunday, Nov. 10, when the squad will travel to Durham, New Hampshire to face New Hampshire in an afternoon contest at 1 p.m.