Saturday night’s match up between the Northeastern Huskies Men’s Ice Hockey team and the Michigan State Spartans was the third game in the Winter Showdown that saw the Spartans’ men’s and women’s basketball teams along with the men’s hockey team, travel to Boston for three games. The Huskies will return the favor next season by traveling to Michigan for a similar trifecta.
For the Huskies, Saturday’s game began as the when they played host to the Boston College Eagles two weeks prior, which is to say that the team came out fast and hard. Unfortunately as that game against the Eagles progressed the team could not sustain the speed and pressure. The Huskies continue to battle injuries this season, and seeing one of their most important defensemen—Matt Benning—get injured early in the game against the Spartans had some wondering if there would be a repeat with the team falling to their opponent.
The similarities continued as the Huskies went up two goals before the end of the second period. It was the third period that had given them difficulty in the previous game, but instead on Saturday they came out and continued to skate hard and do their best to limit the chances the Spartans had on their goal. For freshman goaltender Ryan Rusk, it was his first collegiate win, something he will undoubtedly remember for a while, and a nice way to enter the winter break.
Scoring for the Huskies were Michael McMurtry—his second of the season—and Zach Aston-Reese on the power play. For Reese this extended his point streak to a career-long five games (4 goals, 3 assists), which is definitely a positive for him to take into the break.
Northeastern is now 3-4-0 all-time against the Spartans, though it has been quite some time since they last played Michigan State. That game took place in 1996.
After the winter break, Northeastern will welcome Quinnipiac to historic Matthews Arena on Saturday January 2.
Postgame Northeastern interviews with head coach Jim Madigan and goaltender Ryan Ruck: