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Northeastern avenges Beanpot loss with wild win over BU

Six goals from six different goal scorers helped Northeastern recover from a heartbreaking Beanpot finish for a 6-5 win at No. 4 Boston University at Agganis Arena on Friday night.

Dalen Hedges has a goal and an assist Friday night.
Dalen Hedges has a goal and an assist Friday night.
Matt Dewkett

BOSTON -- Weird, wild, wacky.

Just about any 'W' word would accurately describe Friday night's Beanpot rematch at Agganis Arena. Visiting Northeastern jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the first period and held off multiple Boston University rallies for a 6-5 win.

The Huskies used goals from six different skaters and senior Clay Witt made 24 stops in his 11th win of the season as NU remained unbeaten in 16 of its last 19 games.

"It was an unbelievable game," acting NU head coach Jerry Keefe said. "I was actually surprised we didn't have to get to seven to win the game. That's an unreal team we just played and I can't say enough about our guys sticking to it. It was a great win for us."

These two teams played to a classic on Monday night with BU coming away with a 4-3 overtime win. For BU head coach David Quinn, the game was about which team would be able to move forward from the result and it was evident his team did not.

"This game was going to be about which team handled Monday night better," Quinn said. "Were we going to handle the Beanpot better than they did having a tough loss? It was obvious they handled Monday night's game better than we did."

Just a bit after sustaining two-plus minutes of intense pressure in the offensive zone, the Huskies poured three goals into the back of the net to take command.

Junior Dustin Darou was in on the scoring for a third straight game to open that stretch at the 14:17 mark as sophomore Mike Szmatula was on the spot to tip the shot past BU junior goaltender Matt O'Connor.

At 15:40, junior Kevin Roy doubled the Northeastern lead off a beautiful wrist shot from the right circle for his team-best 18th goal of the season.

The Huskies used a fortunate bounce to take a 3-0 lead at 16:03 as freshman Nolan Stevens' shot from side boards dribbled through the slot and past O'Connor off an assist from freshman Garret Cockerill.

It was clear Monday night's tough loss did not deter the Huskies as they came out 20 of their 40 total shots on goal in the game. Keefe noted the team's mindset had nothing to do with what happened in the past.

"The next game (was most important)," Keefe said. "I know that sounds cliche, but that's kind of how we got ourselves out of the tough start we were in. We just focused on the next game. It didn't really have anything to do with Monday night. We just wanted to keep moving forward, as simple as that."

BU turned it on in the final 75 seconds of the first period to bring it within a goal entering the intermission as sophomore Nick Roberto and senior associate captain Evan Rodrigues found the back of the net.

Roberto tipped home sophomore defenseman Doyle Somerby's shot for his fourth goal of the season at 18:45, while freshman Jack Eichel fed a beautiful cross-ice pass to Rodrigues for a wrister that beat Witt high with 40 seconds to play.

A three-goal start to the second period lifted the Huskies to a 6-2 advantage which was cut to three goals on a late marker by Rodrigues.

At the 2:58 mark of the second, freshman Garret Cockerill put a shot towards goal that was blocked right back into the slot. Sophomore Zach Aston-Reese was in the slot waiting to throw it back on and past O'Connor.

O'Connor's night ended at 5:52 as Stevens wrapped the puck around the net and freshman Dylan Sikura was on the crease to backhand the rebound home for his fifth goal of the year. Sophomore Dalen Hedges greeted rookie Connor LaCouvee with a five-on-three goal at 12:04 as he fired home a one-timer from Roy.

"It's frustrating to play the way we did on senior night," Quinn said. "I want to be respectful to (Northeastern) and their effort, but that's about as bad as we've played all year. We showed some spurts; our power play (3-for-4) gave us a chance tonight."

Rodrigues made it a 6-3 game at the 19:06 mark of the third as he jammed one past Witt off junior Danny O'Regan's initial shot.

Although BU played its best hockey of the first two periods in the final minutes, Quinn was discouraged with his team's performance. "I thought they played better than we did," he said. "I thought there was an urgency to their game that we couldn't match."

BU did dominate the final period as they have so often done, with two goals and a 11-6 shots on goal advantage, but it was ultimately not enough after the Huskies' fast start.

O'Regan primarily assisted classmate Ahti Oksanen on a power play just 39 seconds into the third as the former jammed away for the goal on Witt's crease.

For the second time in February, Rodrigues finished off a hat trick as he tickled the twine in the top left corner on a rocket from inside the right circle at the 14:17 mark. He also lit the lamp three times in BU's Feb. 6 win at UMass Lowell.

"Obviously, it was nice. It's nice having them down here," Rodrigues said. "At the same time, a win and clinching Hockey East would have been a lot better than that and I have one more shot now. We have to start getting ready to get it done."

The teams finish off a stretch of three games in six days with Saturday night's season finale at Matthews Arena. Faceoff is set for 8 p.m.