Huskies Flattened by Providence
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way.
In the first Rawlings vs Gillies matchup, the Huskies were put to the guillotine in what was truly A Tale of Two Goalies.
On one end of the ice, you had Providence’s Jon Gillies: a tall, imposing figure, who was consistently coming up with big plays to keep the Huskies off the scoreboard. By the time the Huskies did actually breakthrough, it was far too late to matter. Gillies had a great game, which seems to be what he does most nights. But on this night, the story was more about the decision Gillies made this summer. And that decision has never looked as good as it did on Friday.
In the other net was senior Chris Rawlings, who wasn’t supposed to even be here this year. But after a professional contract never materialized, he decided to stay, setting into motion the chain of events that led to Gillies ending up at PC instead of Northeastern. But instead of taking the chance to put in a convincing performance, Rawlings ended up playing the Sydney Carton to Gillies’ Charles Darnay. Just a week after setting the school shutout record and appearing to lock down the starting spot again, Rawlings struggled mightily as his foil Gillies shined. The two may look similar in pads, but Gillies was everything that Rawlings projected to be, yet has never consistently been.
The first goal Rawlings allowed could normally be dismissed as just unfortunate bounce, but when it happens with the regularity that it does, its hard to just blame it on luck. A PC shot missed the net badly, hitting the glass behind the net so hard that it bounced all the way back over the top of the net, towards Rawlings. Rawlings tried to catch it, far too casually, missed and stayed standing as Tim Schaller alertly pushed the loose puck into the net. It was fluky, but it was avoidable. Concentration has been Rawlings biggest problem since arriving at Northeastern and this goal was just another reminder that he just as not improved in that regard. The goal gave PC life and was a serious blow to confidence of both Rawlings and the Huskies skaters. The Huskies would somehow whether the storm from the confident Friars and they went into the first intermission trailing just 1-0.
But if concentration has been problem #1 for Rawlings, then lateral movement has been #1A. And PC goals 2 and 3 took advantage of Rawlings’ inability to get over quick enough. Both those goals were not solely on Rawlings though. The Josh Manson-less Northeastern defense struggled all night. The second goal was a careless giveaway deep in the defensive zone. The third goal was aided by the defense’s inability to clear out the front of the net and allow their goalie a clear look at the shot, a problem that hurt Rawlings and his replacement Clay Witt.
Those two goals, separated by a minute, came in the first 3 minutes of the second period and it was all downhill from there. Clay Witt replaced Rawlings, but he was only able to stop the bleeding momentarily. PC’s league worst power play even got into the action, scoring to make it 4-0 after 2. That goal came minutes after Northeastern put out on of the most bizarre power plays I have ever seen.
Our disappointment with the Umbrella has been well documented, but the Huskies managed to find an even worse power play set up. The Huskies had just hit the post on a good showing from the power play when PC picked up another penalty giving the Huskies a 5-on-3 chance. After winning the faceoff, the Huskies set up 2 players behind the net, effectively taking away their advantage. This set up was obviously unsuccessful and the Huskies spent about 30 seconds just skating holding the puck behind the net. A chance never materialized. I, for one, can’t wrap your head around a set up that puts 2 guys in a position where they can’t score during an opportunity where it should be the easiest to score at any time in the game.
The power play would recover a bit and grab 2 consolation goals late, but PC had already put the game well past out of reach and into an all around embarrassing category with 2 more goals, making it a 6-2 final.
The absence of Josh Manson hurt. So did the loss of Cam Darcy. And yet again, the offense just didn’t do enough. This team has proven that it can’t score enough goals to overcome bad defense or bad goaltending. It’s hard to say what the strength of this team is right now, because just about every part of the team is under performing. This loss hurts, and now the Huskies have put additional pressure on themselves in today’s game against Vermont because they really can’t afford another weekend with no Hockey East points.