NORTHEASTERN EDGES PAST MASSACHUSETTS, 4-3
Senior forward Cody Ferriero scores game-winner for Huskies
BOSTON, Mass. - Trailing 3-2 entering the third period, the No. 17 Northeastern men's ice hockey team (11-6-3) scored twice in a span of three minutes in the final period to skate to a 4-3 victory against Massachusetts (6-14-2) on Saturday night at Matthews Arena.
Cody Ferriero scored the game-winner on the power play with 14:35 left in regulation, while Kevin Roy, Mike Szmatula and Mike McMurtry also scored for the Huskies. Clay Witt made 26 saves in goal for Northeastern, which is 5-1-3 in their last nine games. Braden Gracel (two goals, one assist) and Conor Sheary (three assists) led the way for the Minutemen, while Steve Mastalerz had 30 stops in goal.
NU outshot Massachusetts 34-29 in the game and won 38-of-66 face-offs. The Huskies went 1-of-6 on the man advantage, scoring a power play goal for the third straight game, while UMass was 1-of-3 on the power play.
NU wasted no time in bolting out to an early lead as Roy netted his team-leading 14th goal of the season just 2:06 into the contest. After John Stevens picked up a loose puck in the defensive zone and forwarded it up to Roy, Roy sent the puck across to Braden Pimm entering the offensive zone. Pimm fired a low shot on goal that Mastalerz steered aside, but Roy quickly pounced on the rebound and buried it on a wraparound inside the right post.
Zach Aston-Reese had a chance to extend the Husky lead to two midway through the frame when he intercepted a clearing bid from the Minutemen in the slot, but his wrister went off the chest of Mastalerz. Minutes later, Tanner Pond broke up a pass in the neutral zone and dished to Ryan Belonger, creating a two-on-one with Adam Reid. Belonger dished across the slot to Reid, but Mastalerz went post-to-post to deny the bid.
Massachusetts built on the momentum gained from the Mastalerz save to knot the score at one with 5:24 left in the period when Branden Gracel notched his eighth of the season when he tapped home a centering pass from Conor Sheary at the left side.
Mike McMurtry took a big hit atop the crease, drawing a penalty on Mike Busillo for elbowing with 3:11 left in the first, and was nearly rewarded with his fourth goal of the year when he one-timed a pass from Dalen Hedges, but once again Mastalerz took away the lower part of the net to make the save.
At the other end, Sheary almost put the Minutemen up 2-1 in the final seconds of the NU power play when he went in alone on Witt, but Witt was able to poke the puck off Sheary's stick before he could make a move.
UMass capitalized on a Northeastern turnover in its own zone to go up 2-1 less than two minutes into the second period when Sheary picked off a pass and rifled a shot on goal that Witt stopped. Steven Iacobellis, however, crashed the net and roofed the rebound under the crossbar for his ninth of the season.
During four-on-four play with five minutes to go in the stanza, NU created a turnover to send Roy and Pimm in on a two-on-one, but Mastalerz stood tall to knock down Pimm's shot as the UMass defenseman blocked the passing lane to Roy.
Northeastern leveled the score at two with 3:22 left in the second when Aston-Reese fought his way through traffic in the neutral zone before dishing to Szmatula. Szmatula then took a few strides towards goal before firing a shot over the glove of Mastalerz for his ninth goal of the season.
UMass would retake the lead 59 seconds later on Gracel's second of the night with the Minutemen on the power play. After Sheary fed the puck up to Colin Shea at the point, Shea sent a low shot in on goal that Gracel redirected off the left post and over the goal line for a 3-2 Massachusetts lead.
Northeastern tied it up again 2:30 into the third period seconds after its fourth power play of the evening expired when McMurtry pounded home a loose puck in the crease. Josh Manson began the play for the Huskies when he sent a shot toward the cage that was blocked by Shea. After Aston-Reese got a stick on the rebound, McMurtry finished off the play for his fourth of the year.
NU continued to pressure the Massachusetts net following the goal as Stevens and Roy went in two-on-one, resulting in a hooking minor to Brandon Wahlin when he hauled down Roy as he was receiving a pass in the slot. On the ensuing power play, Ferriero put the Huskies on top when his blast from the point hit a Minuteman on its way towards goal and snuck under Mastalerz for Ferriero's third of the year.
The Minutemen would pull Mastalerz in favor of the extra skater with 33 seconds left in regulation, but Torin Snydeman blocked the lone UMass shot attempt in the waning seconds.
The Huskies will be back in action on Tuesday when Northeastern travels to No. 5 Providence for a 7 p.m. matchup at Schneider Arena.