BOSTON -- After two periods of play on Friday night, the scoreboard showed that Northeastern had no business being in a contest with St. Lawrence.
The visitors had a 3-0 lead, but the Huskies turned on the gas when it mattered the most.
Northeastern held a 16-5 shots on goal advantage in the final frame, scoring three times en route to a 3-3 tie in the opener of a weekend series at Matthews Arena.
"Obviously, I'm pleased with just the third period and how we responded," NU head coach Jim Madigan said. "I just shared with the guys that I don't think we should be satisfied."
Despite a 9-7 shots advantage for Northeastern, the visiting Saints got the scoring going 12:50 into the first period and took the lead into the first intermission. Neither side got into much offensive flow but SLU was able to crack the board first, which it has done in 11 of its first 17 games.
Off a feed from rookie defenseman Nolan Gluchowski, junior center Brian Ward gave SLU a 1-0 lead as his wrister found its way through traffic and past NU senior Clay Witt. The goal was the second in three games for the Haverhill, Mass. native assistant captain.
Penalties were the story of the second period as the teams were whistled for eight combined. It was the Saints who took advantage of their opportunities en route to a 3-for-6 power play count as Northeastern was, conversely, 0-for-7 on its man-up.
After Witt made a great save to deny Patrick Doherty on a breakaway, NU sophomore Zach Aston-Reese finished his check on the Saints' senior assistant captain and received a five-minute major penalty for boarding. SLU connected twice on the ensuing major power play to take a commanding 3-0 lead into the second intermission.
"We've talked about it all year, we've gotten better at it over the last four or five games," Madigan said, "and it popped here tonight. We've got to be smarter. The enemy sometimes is us and it certainly was the case there going down 3-0 on all three power-play goals."
At 17:36, junior center Sean McGovern was credited with banging home a loose puck for his fifth goal of the season but the ultimate bounce came off the stick of NU junior defender Jarrett Fennell who tapped the puck square past Witt.
Westwood, Mass. native senior captain Gunnar Hughes made it a 3-0 game at 18:21 as he popped in a rebound off Doherty's shot on the right side of Witt's crease.
From there, the Huskies took over and salvaged their first point of the year after facing a deficit following the second period.
Facing the end of Aston-Reese's major penalty, NU scored its first goal shorthanded 1:37 into the third as freshman Nolan Stevens cut to the net to finish what sophomore brother John started. The younger potted a backhanded shot over SLU freshman Kyle Hayton's glove side.
Freshman Trevor Owens' first goal as a Husky made it a one-goal game at 10:28 as he picked the top corner on Hayton's blocker side, taking a pass from redshirt senior Torin Snydeman to finish off a 3-on-1 rush.
"Getting that first one is always nice," Owens said of his first-collegiate goal and point. "You get that monkey off your back and start playing with a little bit more confident. It's not in the back of your mind as much. Just going out there and playing hard is what my game is ... but getting the first one definitely felt great."
Senior captain Adam Reid sent Matthews into a frenzy with 23 seconds remaining as he cleaned up the mess from a mad scramble in front with an initial assist from sophomore Mike Szmatula.
With an extra attacker on, the Huskies pounded away in the crease and Reid's second goal of the season, and second in as many games, was the result of a hard effort in front.
"We had a lot of guys going hard on the forecheck there," the Chino Hills, Calif. native said. "I saw two guys going behind the net, so I figured we needed some net-front presence, camped out. I was lucky enough that (Szmatula and junior Mike McMurtry) worked hard down there and got to the middle for me."
St. Lawrence head coach Greg Carvel said his team "only played two periods of hockey" and expressed his overall disappointment in the team's lack of intensity in trying to snap a four-game losing streak, but Hayton's performance has kept the Saints in many games during his freshman campaign.
The Denver native has allowed three goals or less in 14 of his first 17 appearances and did his job against the Huskies, making 33 saves as his record moved to 8-7-2.
"He's been a pleasant surprise," Carvel said. "We knew we were going to be upgraded in the net (but) we didn't realize how much we were going to be upgraded. He's at a .935 save percentage, so that gives you a nice chance every night."
"Tonight, those breakdowns we had, he usually finds ways to stop a couple of them," Carvel noted. "But he'd probably admit his game was a little bit off."
Despite continuing a solid 5-2-1 stretch with the draw, Madigan is not satisfied heading into the second night of the series on Saturday. "I'm not satisfied with the tie at all because if we played 5-on-5, I like our chances against any team from any league," Madigan said. "We'll learn from it hopefully and move on."