PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island—The Northeastern men’s hockey team fell to Cornell University 5-1 on Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, concluding a memorable season for the Huskies that saw a second-straight Beanpot title and a Hockey East championship.
Northeastern earned an NCAA Tournament berth for the third time in the past four seasons, and the team’s 27 wins were the most in a single season in its history.
Northeastern entered the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 5 in the nation, and the No. 2 seed in the East Regional. The Huskies had hoped to advance beyond the opening round for the first time since 1982, but couldn’t muster enough offense against the Big Red’s stout defense.
Jim Madigan, the Fernie Flaman Men’s Hockey Coach at Northeastern, said after the game that he was proud of his players and what they accomplished this year.
“They were champions,” Madigan said. “They were Beanpot and Hockey East champions as a group, and then as a senior group, they leave with a lot of accomplishments. We’re all proud of them, and it’s just unfortunate that we didn’t have it today.”
After the final horn sounded, the Huskies skated over to goaltender Cayden Primeau and embraced as a team. They raised their sticks in the air as they left the ice to the cheers of Northeastern fans at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Sophomore forward Zach Solow praised the seniors for their leadership this season, and reflected on the team’s accomplishments.
“We did have a great year,” Solow said. “It hasn’t really sunk in yet, but looking back on it, we’re the greatest team to ever wear the Husky logo, and that’s going to be a feeling that’s going to last a lifetime. And hopefully it’s broken pretty soon.”
Cornell opened the scoring early in the first period, added another goal early in the second, and took a 4-0 lead midway through the game. Northeastern forward Liam Pecararo scored a power-play goal with four minutes remaining in the second period to bring the score to 4-1, but Cornell added another goal early in the third period to close out the scoring.
Northeastern entered this season having lost three prolific scorers from last year’s team, including Adam Gaudette, winner of the Hobey Baker award as the nation’s best player. But rather than take a step back, they built on a strong foundation that featured outstanding goaltending and defense, and balanced scoring, which keeps the future looking bright.
“Resilience” and “resolve,” according to Madigan, were the team’s two defining characteristics. The Huskies were 14-3-0 in one-goal games, and developed a knack for finishing games in dramatic fashion. They had six overtime wins, the most of any team in the nation.
Primeau was named the most valuable player of the Hockey East tournament, and is a finalist for the 2019 Mike Richter Award, which recognizes the most outstanding goaltender in NCAA Division 1 men’s hockey. Madigan hailed Primeau’s performance this season.
“Cayden Primeau got us here,” he said. “We’re sitting here in Providence, Rhode Island, because of Cayden Primeau.”