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BOSTON, Mass.- Northeastern earned its second-consecutive shutout, the first time since 2003, with a 3-0 blanking of cross-town rival Harvard to give head coach Greg Cronin his 100th career victory (80th at Northeastern University).
Sophomore netminder Chris Rawlings became the first goalie since Keni Gibson to record consecutive shutouts. Gibson blanked Vermont, 1-0, on Dec. 6 and Princeton, 4-0, on Dec. 13, 2003. Rawlings second-straight shutout came thanks to 34 stops. Harvard tested newcomer Raphael Girard in his first-career start. Girard made 34 saves, as well, surrendering three goals. Rawlings has notched three shutouts in consecutive seasons.
"I didn't even realize it was my 100th career win until Albie (O'Connell) gave me the puck," Cronin said. "It was a good win for our team, but we need to stay focused for Maine this Saturday."
The Huskies had three different goal scorers in sophomore Steve Quailer, rookie Braden Pimm and third-year forward Mike McLaughlin. Overall, eight different NU skaters registered a point in the winning effort.
Harvard controlled the early tempo, blistering Rawlings with a barrage of shots in the first portion of the initial period.
Momentum shifted towards Northeastern after Chris Huxley was issued off for an elbow at 8:46. The Huskies tested Girard throughout the duration, highlighted a by a missile from freshman Jamie Oleksiak in between the circle. Girard sniffed out the attempt and gloved it just inches before crossing the goal line.
The Crimson countered and nearly took advantage of an open net while Rawlings was scrounging for the puck, but senior forward MacLeod took over and made a stick save in the crease around the 12:30 mark to keep Harvard from striking first.
The Huskies lit the lamp first by generating the play from their own zone. Oleksiak applied a check on HU's forward, jarring the puck loose to Quailer on the far boards. Quailer wrapped it around the net to senior Mike Hewkin in the near corner who then fired back to Quailer in the same spot. Quailer took off down the left side of the sheet and took advantage of a clogged crease, cut across the goalmouth and stuffed in a backhander at 19:07 for the late first-period tally.
The second stanza started off askew after sophomore Garrett Vermeersch was whistled for hooking at the end of the first to give HU the two-minute window. Danny Biega negated the power play 55 seconds in, but neither team capitalized on the 1:05 of 4-on-4.
Moments later, sophomore Drew Daniels induced a turnover with a poke check in the neutral zone out to rookie Zak Stone on the far boards. Stone streaked down the boards and bounced a slap shot off of Girard's chest. The puck caromed out to Pimm on the left circle and the rookie hammered home his third goal of the season at 3:38 to double NU's advantage.
NU's penalty-killing unit staved off senior Tyler McNeely's hooking penalty at 15:04 to close out the second frame with a two-goal cushion.
Halfway through the third, the Huskies caused yet another turnover in the neutral zone and relayed that into their third tally of the night. Rookie Brodie Reid jostled the disc into mid-air near the red line and classmate Rob Dongara gloved the puck to the ice and kicked it up to McLaughlin a few strides ahead. McLaughlin lobbed the puck on net and despite Girard making the initial save, the puck bounced up and HU's netmimder swatted it accidentally to the back of the net at 9:55 to give NU a three-goal buffer.
Northeastern continued to keep the pace in its favor for the remainder of the period to fix the final score, 3-0. A slew of penalties closed out the remaining few seconds of the game, but did not affect the outcome.
Wednesday's shutout marks the third time Northeastern has shut out Harvard in the series history. It was the first time since Feb. 10, 1997 (2-0) in the Beanpot Tournament. It was also the Huskies first win over the Crimson at Matthews Arena since Dec. 18, 19997 (6-4).
The Huskies return to their Hockey East slate and welcome in Maine on Saturday, Jan. 22 for a 7 p.m. puck drop at Matthews Arena.
- Head coach Greg Cronin picked up his 100th-career victory and 80th win as the head coach at Northeastern. Overall, Cronin is 100-111-27 and 80-98-25 at Northeastern.
- Chris Rawlings picked up his sixth-career shut out in his 50th start for Northeastern. He is now one shutout behind Keni Gibson (7) to tie for second-place, allt-time, in career shutouts at Northeastern.
- Steve Quailer scored his first goal in three games while Braden Pimm broke a four-game goal-scoring draught. Mike McLaughlin overcame a seven-game dry spell.