Huskies 4, University of Massachusetts, Lowell 3
NU picked up a surprising 4 points this weekend, two of them during a game I attended at Matthews Arena. After the last NU-UNH game, Wildcat and NHL draft pick James van Riemsdyk earned the ire of the Doghouse with a post-game cross-check to the helmet of Greg Costa. THe fans would not forget.
From the outset, the game was physical, with both teams earning some post-whistle penalties. Under two minutes into the first, though, as Alex Tuckerman smacked a rebound off a Steve Silva shot from a Steve Qualier feed into the net past a sprawling New Hampshire goalie. Two Steves, one Alex, 1-0 Huskies.
The second period seemed to take at least an hour, with both teams getting called for a collective 14 penalties amounting to 44 minutes, with van Riemsdyk and Randy Guzior receiving 10 minute majors for their parts in a post-whistle scrum. Despite the myriad power plays, though, neither team was able to find the back of the net, with Brad Thiessen making 30 saves through the first two periods.
The third, however, was classic college hockey. Van Riemdsdyk, who had been hearing boos from the 4788 red-clad fans every time he touched the puck, managed to knock in an easy rebound to know the score at one. After his goal, he put his hand to his ear and skated around center ice, proving that class can, indeed, be spelled without "JVR."
About 7 minutes later, though, Ryan Ginand ($$$) scored an impossible goal, somehow wedging the puck between UNH goalie Brian Foster and the post, off the goalie's back, and into the net. I had no idea how it went in until I found an image here that shows the absolute nastiness that was Ginand's shot:
Yes, that's the pick about to sneak into a hole which no puck has any business getting through. That is fundamentally sound goaltending getting beaten on a split-second decision by a rapidly improving center. Foster has his skate against the pipe, after sliding across the crease, has his glove where it needs to be, sees the puck, and is pinching up to the post. Just an unbelievable goal. Former NU blogger and current NU student Steven Roth may have said it best:
"Ryan Ginand is disgusting. How he ever put that one past Foster is beyond me."
Wade MacLeod would score a crucial insurance goal with under three minutes left, an absolute beauty of a wrist shot that beat Foster top shelf stick-side. UNH pulled their goalie with about 1:30 left and got van Riemsdyk his second goal of the night, but it was too little, too late, even for a two-goal performance.
Northeastern-New Hampshire is quickly blossoming into Hockey East's best rivalry.
Saturday night against Lowell featured another defensive battle through two periods, but a Greg Costa hat-trick (!) along with a Ginand goal and pair of assists ($$) led to a hard-fought victory over much-improved UML. It's hard to say too much about Thiessen...his season has been absolutely incredible thus far.
Northeastern 61, Holy Cross 49
It seems pretty clear, at this point, that Jesus does not love Worcester. The Huskies opened up a quick 14-0 lead over the first seven minutes of play and rode 27 points from Matt Janning for a solid out-of-conference victory in their home-opener at the Arena Saturday Night. On a night where temperatures dipped into the 20's, Husky shooters stayed hot, with Janning hitting four of his five three pointers and Nkem Ojougboh shooting 5 of 6 from the field to go along with his three blocks.
This team is beginning to look an awful lot like a contender. The key is probably a combination of Manny Adako and Eugene Spates. Since the departure of Bobby Kelly, the Huskies haven't had a particularly reliable outside shooter, but if Spates can fill that void, it will lead to better penetration by Adako and more points in the paint.
High percentage shots. They're a good thing.
Patriots 48, Miami 28
Surprise. For the Patriots against Miami earlier this season, the surprise was the "Wildcat" offense. For the Dolphins against the Patriots today, the surprise was Matt Cassel. Matty C threw for over 400 yards for the second consecutive game, including three touchdowns to Randy "81" Moss. He also rushed for the first Pats touchdown, something to consider when Tom Brady returns next season. Tom Brady is not a mobile quarterback. Cassel is. It's fun to watch.
Miami had temporarily forgotten it was rebuilding and sat in a second place tie with the Patriots for the AFC East at 6-4. With this loss, their playoff picture looks far more muddled, although their improvement from last season's 1-15 squad is remarkable.
Speaking of the AFC East, the Jets beat the formerly unbeaten Titans today, which is bad for the Patriots, but good for the world if it means Mercury Morris can crawl back into his hole for another year. I've discussed how horrendously overrated the 1972 Dolphins were/are, and the fact that this asshole still gets national TV time is downright criminal.
Anyways, Cassel's good season means he's probably a Lion next year, as the Patriots don't have the cap space to pay him what he deserves. From a small weightlifting plaque in Heritage Hall to a starting roster in the NFL, you've gotta respect the kid.
Wildabeasts 1, Other Team 2
And so my broomball season comes to a close, but not without another injury. My ankle got screwed up while trying to make an acrobatic save to keep the score 1-1. I had a two-on-none, made an initial save, then tried to dive across the crease to block the rebound shot. I managed to get the stick against the pipe and create a wall, but I was a couple inches too short as the shot sailed over the stick and into the net. Meanwhile, both players and one of my defensewomen plowed into me, an experience for which I now infinitely respect real goalies.
The first goal scored was much uglier, with a nice glove save turning into a stupid glove mistake, with the ball glancing off the top of the glove and rolling lazily into the net. It happens. Jeff had a nice goal at the other end, but without more offense our season was doomed to end anyways.
With about 45 seconds left, I was glove-less and at about half-ice trying to help out on offense when an opposing player got the ball and raced down the ice. I managed to get my body on the ball for a neat-looking but mostly lucky save while moving backwards towards the net.
I suspect next season will lead to the playoffs, as this team has the talent it needs to succeed. Three goals per game will probably leave us undefeated heading into the playoffs, and that seems like a distinct possibility considering our recent offensive prowess. For now, I'll ice my ankle.