Friday started off well. The Huskies gave up one goal, but that top line managed to come back, tie it up in the third, and shelled Merrimack all period, really taking it to them and showing us that that had improved as a team after that 4-1 loss to them earlier. I was excited, I thought, “hey maybe this is the week they turn it around”.
Then Saturday, no such luck. We went up early, scored two goals, and looked good while doing it. We did well. But then we were never able to score that 3rd goal, that likely would have put a nail in Merrimack’s coffin that game, deflated them a bit. We let Merrimack score a pair of power play goals to tie, and then gave them a shorthanded breakway to win in overtime. This had a similar feel to the BC game: we can go up and score fast, but we can’t hang in there when the other team pressures, and as a result we lose.
Some might say this is a result of playing a better team, and is thus not entirely Northeastern’s fault, and there’s a measure of truth to that. But I’m sorry, when you’re given a 5 minute-major for the last 5 and a half minutes of the game, and then a 2 minute power play for the OT period, if you don’t score, there’s something wrong with you.
Which brings us to the power play. Oh the power play. You cause me pain, at this point, when I see we have a power play, I take that as an opportunity to visit concessions, because I won’t be missing anything. We have scored 2 PP goals this season. We have scored one Short-handed goal this season. We have let in one short-handed goal this season. I think that speaks for itself.
Rounding out the power play, the penalty kill. You were just as worse. Seeing Merrimack’s PK and Northeastern’s PK makes me wish we could hire Merrimack’s defensive coordinator. We don’t pressure, in fact we hardly move on the PK. The Huskies watched their players walk in and score those two goals without really trying to block or poke at the puck. Merrimack’s goals could have been avoided, they could have been stopped, and that’s the most frustrating part.
At this point, we can only hope for what happened last year, to start surging now, end up in 5th or 6th place and upset one of the home ice teams, because I honestly don’t see anyway for us to get home ice, unless we catch some breaks. It’s mildly comforting to know that by Saturday of next weekend we’ll have played Merrimack three times, UNH twice, BC twice, and Maine once, and have let to play Providence, UMass Lowell, or Vermont. But this isn’t some league where you can get easy points playing the bad teams. Those teams will fight just as hard for points. Just look at UML’s beatdown of BU, Providence’s 4-2 Hockey East record, or UMass’ defeat of BC last night.
Northeastern didn’t really play all that terribly this weekend. But they robbed themselves of important wins by not being able to hold onto leads, or score when they have a man advantage.