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Bentley, Northeastern finish weekend opener locked, 1-1

Jayson Argue - Bentley (Jim Pierce)
Bentley’s Jayson Argue made 34 saves in Friday’s 1-1 tie with Northeastern.
Jim Pierce

WATERTOWN, Mass. -- Northeastern knows Jayson Argue quite well.

Bentley's junior goaltender came up big, at big times, once again as his Falcons and visiting Northeastern skated to a 1-1 tie Friday night at John A. Ryan Skating Arena in the seventh all-time meeting between the two programs.

An even game would have been highly unlikely if it weren't for Argue, but Bentley head coach Ryan Soderquist liked his team's effort from start to finish.

"For 65 minutes, I could not be more proud of the effort that we put forth ― goaltending, PK, blocked shots, you name it," said Soderquist, whose team earned a 5-1 win at New Hampshire last Saturday and sees its record move to 1-0-1. "Anything that is in the hard work department, I put a check off in that box."

The Huskies held a 35-23 shot advantage in the contest, including a decided 16-7 mark in a first period in which they earned five power-play opportunities.

It was not until NU's fourth try on the man advantage that it got on the board as junior Nolan Stevens scored his second goal of the season at the 13:56 mark. Argue's initial save on senior Zach Aston-Reese bounced right back to the net front, where Stevens finished an easy tap-in.

Stevens has points in each of his first three games this season, while junior Dylan Sikura’s secondary assist continued a three-game streak in that category.

The tide turned in the second period as the shot advantage favored Bentley by a 9-6 count, and it tied the game at a goal apiece in the third minute.

“For me, it wasn’t good enough,” Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan said. “We played in spurts and we were inconsistent with our intensity, winning puck battles. We knew it was going to be a tough game with the way they skate and apply pressure in the small building.”

Bentley leveled the score just 2:54 into the middle frame, just seconds after going shorthanded after a 4-on-4 sequence. Sophomore defenseman Alexey Solovyev netted his second goal in as many games, unleashing a shot from the point that eluded NU sophomore Ryan Ruck through traffic.

Ruck made eight of his 22 stops in the second, but it was the goaltender at the other end whose work proved more valuable down the stretch.

Argue stopped NU sophomore Adam Gaudette’s great chance from the slot at second period’s end before an 11-save third period kept the game tied through 60 minutes.

"He kept a great 1-1 game, making some big saves," Soderquist said. "He backboned our PK, and he had to because we got the raw end on a lot of calls tonight. I'm disappointed our guys had to withstand that, but I'm proud that they did."

NU is now winless against Bentley in this decade, a five-game span dating back to 2010. Argue backstopped the Falcons to a weekend sweep in last year’s home-and-home, stopping 86 NU shots.

The Huskies generated 17 power-play shots, but only managed one score on 12 opportunities for the second consecutive game. NU missed several chances at an open goal, but Argue’s defense helped out with key shot blocks when they were needed most.

“We got better as the first period went along, and then we had a couple bunnies that we couldn’t score, for whatever reason, but they just put pucks on the net and we couldn’t generate enough offense,” Madigan said. “They are running at you, which we knew. But, we didn’t show enough poise in making some plays.”

The third period saw chances at both ends, although the advantage favored NU, 11-7.

Ruck kept the game tied with one of his best saves of the night about midway through the final frame, tracking a point shot from Bentley’s Charlie Donners all the way through to goal. The sophomore made a kick save at the top of his crease, one of his seven in a clean frame.

The Huskies had two chances to win the game with an extra skater in overtime, but Argue saved the five-minute frame’s only two shots.

“I thought (Ruck) did a good job and played well, and their goalie has played well against us for the last three times,” Madigan said. “From my end, he kept them in the game with some big saves in the first period, and Ryan made some good saves for us.”