Northeastern Faces Vermont in Critical Weekend Series
Northeastern (8-14-3, 4-11-3) takes on the Vermont Catamounts (8-14-4, 5-10-4) in an important President’s Day Weekend series that will have a major impact on the Huskies chances of qualifying for the Hockey East playoffs.
The Catamounts are currently clinging onto the eighth and final playoff spot in Hockey East, up three conference points on Northeastern (11 to 8). With four points at stake the Huskies have a huge opportunity to get back a playoff spot and control their own destiny down the stretch.
At this point in the season, to fall behind by more than a weekend’s worth of points would be perilous for NU. With both games being played at Matthews Arena, the Huskies cannot let this weekend slip away due to lack of discipline. The Northeastern team that defeated BU in the Beanpot semifinals is certainly capable of taking four points from Vermont this weekend.
Freshman Kevin Roy has scored seven goals in NU’s last five games and the Huskies will continue to rely on the rookie star who became the first player in 40 years to score five goals in a single Beanpot. With 32 points in 25 games, Roy leads all freshman in the nation in scoring, goals and is second in Hockey East, scoring at a 1.28 points per game clip, trailing only BC’s John Gaudreau.
There are lineup questions heading into this weekend series. Josh Manson was injured during the Beanpot Championship and Garrett Vermeesch was reportedly seen on crutches as recently as Tuesday. Their status as well as that of Ludwig Karlsson who re-aggravated his injury two weeks ago against New Hampshire is in jeopardy for this slate. Defenseman Drew Ellement will not dress tonight, dealing with a lower body injury.
Northeastern will not be able to sustain another injury, offensively or defensively if nobody comes back. The Huskies’ best chance to win will be to continue to play with the same motivation they had for the Beanpot. Forecheck Vermont and don’t be afraid to be creative offensively. Getting the puck to Roy in space will also be critical as the Catamounts will have their eye on him both games.
While Vermont is dangerous, they are not the BC Eagles and if Northeastern plays with the focus they had for BC, they should fare well, not having to deal with the excessive talent of a Jerry York-developed quad.
Game time Friday and Saturday night is 7 p.m. at Matthews Arena in Boston.