On the surface, this was one of those games where you’d say, “Oh well, we competed hard.” That the boys worked hard is certainly true, but this is a night where you’d better not be saying it sarcastically or roll your eyes. This game came down to puck luck and two excellent Husky goals. Unfortunately, it was a one-goal game with an empty-netter tacked on at the end to seal off the doubt.
Even the Northeastern announcers noticed early on that the boys had jump. You never heard “our guys are playing down to their level” or “we’re just not playing that hard” or “we’re letting them stay in this one”. The boys really did make their marks all over this game. The finishes just weren’t there.
Kyle Lysaght scored the Chargers’ lone goal with just 7:01 gone in the first. Lysaght picked the puck up in the slot and pulled off a spin move to get the puck onto his forehand. His rip left Chris Rawlings (24 SV) guessing and gave the boys the lead that they’d hold for more than a period. Alex Allan and Lasse Uusivirta got the assists.
The penalty situation is something that many Charger fans have decried of late, but the ones taken tonight were “good penalties”. Graeme Strukoff took two penalties that likely saved Husky goals, while Uusivirta took a hooking penalty near the net that certainly slowed things a bit. Certainly Coach Kleninendorst would prefer that the guys not put themselves into the position of needing to cancel the advantage with two minutes in the penalty box, but at least the penalties were serviceable.
Gregg Gruehl was a revelation for the Chargers in net. After stopping 20-of-21 on Saturday night in St. Lawrence, he earned Kleinendorst’s confidence and showed up big, stopping 31-of-33—including all 14 in the third, when the Northeastern announcers kept praising his work. The two goals he allowed were difficult saves: a tip-in from his stick side that went between his mask and glove, and a point-blank shot through the five hole on the power play. A third marker on his card was disallowed when a Husky was found to be in his crease, impeding Gruehl’s progress going from right to left.
Gruehl now sports a .944 SV% and a 1.82 GAA. Will he start to eat into Johnny Griggs’s minutes?
The boys played with good pace and intensity for most of the game. Coach Kleinendorst talks about the process and how that will drive wins. If you watched both last night’s game and tonight’s, you’ll see how that process has driven progress, but at 0-9-1, the boys aren’t seeing the results they want.
The Chargers next travel to the Soo to play Lake State on Friday night and Saturday night. That’s a tough week on the boys, who will fly out of Boston on Monday morning, practice and go to classes on Tuesday and Wednesday, and then leave out that night for the long bus trip to the UP. The end of this road string is in sight! After a weekend series at Omaha right after Thanksgiving, the Chargers return to Huntsville for a couple of weekends.