Northeastern downs No. 2 Minnesota
Huskies Vermeersch’ scores game-winner early in third period
MINNEAPOLIS -- Northeastern skated into the New Year as Mariucci Classic Tournament champions after a 3-2 win against No. 2 Minnesota.
Minnesota committed 12 penalties and gave the Huskies three two-man advantages. NU cashed in on two of them. Steve Quailer, Garrett Vermeersch and Vinny Saponari scored the goals with Vermeersch's counting as the game winner.
Saponari and Vermeersch attacked with the two-man advantage. Quailer stretched out his point streak to a whopping nine games (6-8-14) with the even strength goal.
Despite a scoreless first period, it looked to be all Minnesota with the shot total favoring the Golden Gophers, 12-4. The Huskies came back and outshot UM, 26-21 in the remaining to frames.
Chris Rawlings has been Northeastern's rock in net, stopping 31 of 33 shots in his seventh victory in eight games. Minnesota goalie Kent Patterson turned away 27 shots in the loss.
The first scoring opportunity for Minnesota came at the 1:48 mark of the first period when Northeastern was whistled for too many men, but was negated when Tyler Matson took a tripping call at 3:14.
The Golden Gophers were the only team to get a shot off during the respective extra-man opportunities early on.
Both teams traded near misses as Anthony Bitetto crafted some fancy stick work through Minnesota's zone and nearly connected with Quailer on the far post, but it sailed just wide.
The Gophers responded with three solid chances on the ensuing exchange, but UM was denied on a couple wide-open looks.
Mike McLaughlin was called for interference in the offensive zone at 12:15 but did not inflict any damage as the Huskies' penalty kill did a sound job of protecting around the net.
Minnesota gained a faceoff in Northeastern territory after the penalty expired and Joe Miller nearly tallied even strength after ringing a wraparound shot off the left pipe.
Northeastern closed out the first with a couple strong opportunities after a Mark Alt high-sticking call at 17:10, but both teams skated into the locker rooms after the first period scoreless.
Scoring erupted in special teams' fashion to begin the second period with Minnesota striking first on a short-handed scored from Nate Condon at 00:55. Seth Helgeson was assessed a cross-checking call at 00:27, but Condon's pressure at the blue line gave way to the short-handed strike.
Condon stripped Ludwig Karlsson and charged on Rawlings alone, beating him with the sharp wrister and a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies were still on the power play and Erik Haula helped NU even more with a hooking call at 1:57 to give Northeastern 30 seconds of 5 on 3. Northeastern wasted no time taking advantage after Justin Daniels cleanly won a draw out to Saponari waiting in the seam.
Saponari blasted the one-timer through traffic and tied the game at the 2:00 mark with the power play tally, 1-1.
Quailer gave the Huskies their first lead of the game at 5:38 of the second after Braden Pimm forced a turnover in Minnesota's zone and zipped it behind to Quailer in front.
Quailer corralled the loose puck carted it out in front of Patterson, threw a quick head fake and slipped the backhand through the five-hole for the 2-1 NU advantage.
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Haula took another interference call to give the Huskies a chance to break it open, but the Gophers' persistent kill managed to rattle off more shots than the Huskies in the two-minute window.
Josh Manson's hold at 14:03 of the second session returned the favor and gave UM its third power play of the evening, but Minnesota could not capitalize.
The Huskies took their lead into the second intermission thanks to Karlsson sweeping away a puck that was centimeters from crossing the goal line with 30 seconds remaining.
A one-timer squirted through Rawlings' pads, but Karlsson crashed the net and paddled the disc away to maintain the 2-1 lead.
The Huskies power play unit hit the ice early once again to start the third period after a Larson trip at 1:25. Northeastern sent a flurry of one-timers Patterson's way, but it was Rawlings who stole the show on the power play after making an amazing acrobatic save after a Taylor Matson breakaway at 2:00.
After an Adam Reid kneeing penalty subsided, Hegelson and Ben Marshall both took holding calls at 7:38 and 9:04, respectively, to put Northeastern back on the 5-on-3 for 34 seconds.
Unfortunately, the Huskies could not reciprocate their last two-man advantage and the opportunity waned away.
Minnesota continued to play undisciplined and gave the Huskies their third 5-on-3 opportunity of the night at 12:53 of the third period, this time for 1:31.
Northeastern cashed in on its second power play goal of the night after working the puck around meticulously. Karlsson started it up by punching it out to Drew Daniels up top.
Daniels connected with Vermeersch for the one-timer and sent a missile past Patterson for the 3-1 cushion at 14:23.
The Gophers added an extra attacker goal (short-handed) after Tyler Matson crashed the far post and snuck the puck by Rawlings at 19:42 to keep the game close, but the Huskies played keep away and ran out the game.