The Takeaway: NU and Dartmouth Tie in Shootout at the OK Corral

Posted by: Josh Seguin

Hanover, NH. - Northeastern and Dartmouth decided to play a shootout on Monday night, as the teams combined for a remarkable 16 goals on the evening. Dartmouth came out flying early in the first period against the Huskies, as it took an early lead when Jesse Beamish found a loose puck in front of Northeastern goaltender, Derick Roy and bat it five-hole scoring his first of the season. NU would respond just two minutes later when Mike Szmatula scored on the power-play to tie the game. Northeastern would follow that up with another when Colton Saucerman went in on a rush, sent the puck towards the net and it went in off a Dartmouth defender to give the Huskies its first lead. Dartmouth responded moments later, as Geoff Ferguson sent a backhander towards the net that went in off a Husky defender. Northeastern scored a late short-handed goal off the stick of John Stevens on a 2 on 0 rush. NU went into the first intermission leading 3-2.

The second period was much of the same as the first period, as it seemed defense was again optional. The Huskies scored the first in the period, as Josh Manson received a gift from a Dartmouth defender to beat Charles Grant, giving the Huskies the 4-2 lead.  But the wheels fell off, as Dartmouth scored the final four goals of the period in a span of six minutes. Charley Mosey and Eric Neiley scored even-strength goals, while Neiley and Hartley found the back of the net on the power-play. Dartmouth entered the third period leading 6-4.

Dartmouth scored the first two goals of the third period to take an 8-4 lead. Everyone thought the game was long over, but Northeastern came roaring back in the waning minutes of the third period. The Huskies scored two with an extra attacker, including the  game tying goal off the stick of Mike Szmatula which he scored off a rebound to tie the game at eight. The game went to overtime and neither team scored, as Northeastern and Dartmouth settled for an eight all tie. Northeastern’s record now sits at 10-6-3 and Dartmouth sits at a paltry 2-11-1 on their respective seasons.

What I Saw

  • Defense was optional for both teams throughout the game, as the teams combined for 16 goals. If it wasn’t a missed assignment or a blown coverage, it was a missed pass that led to an odd-man rush. This was the story of the night for both teams. Both teams played terrible in the defensive zone and the neutral zone. The score was very indicative of the game that played out on the ice.
  • Credit Dartmouth but then again don’t because it blew a four goal lead, as when it was down 4-2 early in the second period it could have just folded. Early in the season, that would have been the case but the Big Green have come back to look like a much better team in recent games. It made a run at top ranked Pairwise teams, Union and Providence in recent games. They have just looked much better, but it still has ton of work to do. Blowing a four goal lead, just looks bad and shows something is amiss. The issue of finishing games is something that has haunted the Green and tonight was just another example.

What I Thought

  • This weekend was a complete disaster for Northeastern. On Sunday night, the Huskies were dominated by Air Force and tonight it again played a lackluster game. The beginning of the semester can always produce wacky results, it always happens, but this weekend was just a head scratcher for a team that had a great first half. There is no question about whether it will be able to score goals, but the questions linger defensively. Giving up five against the Falcons and eight tonight will continue the uncertainties.
  • As good as Dartmouth looked offensively, its defense continues to be a work in progress. It has improved over time, but tonight was another step back. Like Northeastern, it has the ability to score a ton of goals but keeping the puck out of its own net continues to be a challenge. Its defense is paltry and just problematic, as tonight was the fourth time that Dartmouth has given up seven or more goals in a game. Tyler Sikura continues his struggle but Eric Neiley has stepped up in recent games. Dartmouth needs to improve on the other end and it needs to happen quick.

What They Said 

Northeastern coach Jim Madigan said,

“It was a shootout at the OK Corral. I like the way we came out and started out, until about six minutes left in the second period. We played hard, we pursued pucks, we went on the attack, and I felt we had them pinned in their own zone for a while. Then we took a few penalties and our defensive zone coverage was very lax. Unfortunately our goaltender had to bear the brunt of it.”

“Coming back from down four showed great character but we also had a two goal lead earlier in the game. The message we delivered in the room, is that it is hard to come back in college hockey from a four goal deficit when the clock is running down. I liked the fact that we were able to do it, but I don’t like the fact that we put ourselves in that situation.”

Dartmouth coach Bob Gaudet said,

“It was an interesting game, unless you were on the bench. For the fans it was just a crazy game. We scored goals and they scored a ton. We couldn’t close it out, but  we scored a lot of goals. We need to defend better but it was an entertaining game.”

Dartmouth forward Eric Neiley

“Scoring eight goals is what we wanted, as we have been trying to score and it was a good for us because it builds a lot of confidence. But eight on the other side is not what we were looking for. We have been playing great defensively but struggling offensively. It was just a complete opposite, both ways, of what we have been doing recently.”

What They Didn’t Say

Tyler Sikura was visibly limping and Bob Gaudet said he was injured early in the game, but no update was available at writing. But An update could be available by the end of the night. If it is a prolonged absence Dartmouth is losing one of its better players, one that was expected to a top player in the ECAC this season.

What Else You Should Know

Three players scored two or more goals, as Eric Neiley and Josh Hartley both found the back of the net for Dartmouth. Not to be outdone, though, Mike Szmatula for NU also scored twice in the game. 13 player scored in the game and 25 registered points, not sure many of us can say we have seen that before but on this night that was case.

Northeastern gets back to action on Saturday in a non-league game against Massachusetts. The Minutemen lost to UConn on Monday evening by a score of 2-1.

Dartmouth gets back to action against Hockey East rival, Vermont, on Friday night. The two teams are separated by about 90 miles on I-89.Vermont is on fire of late and it will be a great test for the Big Green, as Vermont has looked great in recent weeks. For Dartmouth, it will be an opportunity to recover from a porous at best defensive effort on this night.

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