LOWELL, Mass. - Northeastern defenseman Jamie Oleksiak (Toronto, Ont.) scored with 14 seconds remaining in overtime to outduel UMass Lowell hockey, 3-2, on Friday night in front 4,809 fans in the Tsongas Center. Junior Michael Budd (Burlington, Ont.) scored both River Hawk goals, the first multi-goal game of his career.
The loss marked the 18th consecutive game in which UMass Lowell has allowed three or more goals. The River Hawks drop to 4-22-2 overall and 3-18-0 in Hockey East play. The Huskies get a jolt in between Beanpot games, improving to 10-11-6 and 8-8-5 in conference action.
After a scoreless first frame, Northeastern kicked off the festivities at 9:40 into the second period. Wade MacLeod (Coquitlam, B.C.) put a shot on Marc Boulanger's (Olds, Alta.) leg pad that was kicked to the side. Tyler McNeely (Burnaby, B.C.) collected the loose rebound and put it over the goaltender's shoulder for his 10th tally of the season.
UMass Lowell didn't wait long to respond, scoring twice over the periods' 10 remaining minutes. Budd started by pulling the puck out of the corner with help from Michael Scheu (Buffalo, N.Y.) and ripping an odd angled shot between Chris Rawlings' (North Delta, B.C.) legs at 15:58. The goal was Budd's third of the season and tied the game at 1-1.
Budd kept his own momentum going, trailing hard after a rush attempt by teammate Shayne Thompson (Stittsville, Ont.). Thompson turned the defenseman and put a shot low on Rawlings, but the goalie kicked the puck out. Budd capitalized on the prone Rawlings and netted the rebound before he could reposition at 19:36. Budd's fourth goal of the season marked the first multi-point and multi-goal game of his career.
On a power play early in the third period while leading 2-1, the River Hawks couldn't bottle up the Huskies' short handed attack. A turnover in neutral ice allowed Rob Dongara (Scituate, Mass.) fire the puck on net for Mike McLaughlin (Seaforth, Ont.) to tip by Boulanger at 2:44 into the third.
The teams stayed scoreless through the remainder of regulation and seemed destined for a tie as the five minutes of bonus hockey ticked away. UMass Lowell nearly killed off a two-minute penalty before Oleksiak shocked the crowd with the game-winning goal with only 14 seconds remaining. Justin Daniels (Suffern, N.Y.) crossed the puck to Oleksiak at the base of the far circle for the quick wrist shot high and into the mesh at 4:46.
Both goaltenders were terrific in the overtime battle. UMass Lowell's Boulanger stopped 31-of-34 shots, falling to 0-10-1 on the season. The Huskies' goalie, Rawlings, allowed just two scores while stopping 37 shots for his ninth victory of the year.
The River Hawks finished the night 0-for-5 on the power play. Northeastern was 1-for-3 with the man advantage and scored one short handed goal.
Friday marked the lone contest of the weekend for UMass Lowell, who will rest up for a two-game set with Maine next weekend in the Tsongas Center. The Huskies jump right back into the Beanpot, facing Boston College on Monday for the coveted crown.