Northeastern dodged a bullet last night in earning its fourth straight victory, beating nonleague foe RIT, 4-3, before a Matthews Arena crowd of 1,661.
No. 13 NU (8-3-1) squandered an early two-goal lead and required a two-goal rally in the final period to eke out the narrow victory.
“You never apologize for a win at this level but we’ll look at this as a learning experience,’’ NU coach Jim Madigan said. “You can’t keep coming back the way that we’ve been doing. We didn’t have everyone going tonight and the guys know it. We didn’t stick to the game plan. RIT put us back on our heels in the second. We didn’t compete for pucks, down 3-2. Once we got it to 3-3 we played our best hockey so I like the way we found a way to win the game.”
RIT (6-4-1), which was off to its best 10-game start since moving to Division 1 in 2005-06, found playing in the country’s most venable college hockey rink (built 1910) was disconcerting after falling behind 2-0 in the game’s initial three minutes.
“We found ourselves down 2-0 real quick. Something like that affects the goalie, something like that affects the team, but I like how we responded,’’ RIT coach Wayne Wilson said.
Tigers goalie Logan Drackett, who entered the game boasting a 1.98 goals-against-average and .932 save percentage, let NU grab a 1-0 lead when Brett Hawkins centered the puck to the near post where sophomoe Zach Solow poked it under his skates at the 1:24 mark.
Drackett experienced how quirky the Matthews Arena boards can be when a crazy carom left him hopelessly out of position behind the net and NU senior Liam Pecararo had the gaping target to deposit his third goal of the season at 2:49.
The ice tilted in the middle period with the visiting Tigers connecting three times in a span of six minutes to take a 3-2 lead. Junior defenseman Brody Valette came late down the left side and fired a shot that caught NU’s Primeau down on his knees and leaning too late to block the near side at 2:41. Sophomore defenseman Adam Brubacher appeared as surprised as anyone when his shot from the blue line found the back of the net at 5:25.
The dagger was supplied by sophomore center Alden Dupuis on a goalmouth conversion at 8:07 as the Huskies suddenly lost their juice.
NU needed a break and received it at 10:44 when junior center John Picking hopped over the boards and worked the puck deep into the left corner. All-America defenseman Jermey Davies took possession, swung the net and fired a low shot that Grant Jozofek tipped home.
NU took the lead at 4:31 of the third period. Freshman defenseman Jordan Harris fired a shot along the ice from out at the middle of the blue line that changed direction on a tip by center Tyler Madden.
RIT pulled its goaltender for an extra skater and had the puck in the NU crease with 1:02 to go as a plthora of Huskies went down in an effort to prevent the puck from crossing the line. Primeau appeared to hurt his left leg and needed assistance from trainer Mark Mastone before remaining in the game.
Union 2, Boston University 1 — Despite a second-period goal from Ty Amonte, the Terriers dropped the championship game of the Friendship Four to the Dutchmen in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Jake Oettinger made 36 saves for BU (4-6-1), but Parker Foo’s goal early in the second period snapped a tie and Union (8-3-2) held on.
UMass 3, Princeton 2 — Oliver Chau scored at 3:04 of overtime and the Minutemen (11-1-0) ran their winning streak to eight, beating the Tigers (3-4-1) in Amherst.
Bobby Kaiser and Cale Makar also scored for UMass, and Matt Murray made 23 saves.
Bentley 4, Holy Cross 2 — Ryner Gorowsky had a goal and assist and the Falcons (5-7-1, 4-5-1 Atlantic) won for the second time in as many days, icing the Crusaders (1-8-2, 1-4-1) in Worcester.
In women’s action:
Boston College 5, Holy Cross 0 — Molly Barrow made 16 saves and the Eagles (12-3-0, 9-1-0 Hockey East) used a 50-shot barrage to overwhelm the Crusaders (0-14-2, 0-10-0) in Worcester.
Kelly Browne scored twice and Cayla Barnes added a goal and assist for BC. Julia Pelletier made 45 saves for Holy Cross.
Davidson 78, Northeastern 69 — Former Catholic Memorial star Kellan Grady scored 30 points, KiShawn Pritchett grabbed 10 rebounds and the Wildcats beat the Huskies in Davidson, N.C.
Jordan Roland scored 23 for Northeastern (2-3), Murphy 12, Donnell Gresham Jr. 11 and Bolden Brace 10. The Huskies have dropped three straight surrendering 79 points a game.
UConn 91, New Hampshire 66 — Josh Carlton and Jalen Adams each scored 17 points and the Huskies (5-1) routed the Wildcats (2-4) in Hartford.
Stony Brook 68, Rhode Island 58 — Akwasi Yeboah had 19 points and Andrew Garcia added 14 and the Seawolves (5-1) won their third straight game, beating the Rams (2-2) in Kingston, R.I.
In top 25 action:
Kansas State 77, Lehigh 58 — Dean Wade scored 14 of his 18 points in the second half, Barry Brown added 16 and the No. 12 Wildcats (6-0) beat the Engineers (4-2) in Manhattan, Kan.
Virginia Tech 75, St. Francis (Pa.) 37 — Ahmed Hill scored eight of his 19 points during a 24-6 run spanning halftime, and the No. 13 Hokies (5-0) routed the Red Flash (1-4) in Blacksburg, Va.
Buffalo 76, Marist 49 — CJ Massinburg scored 21 points, Jayvon Graves added 16 and the No. 22 Bulls (5-0) brushed off the Red Foxes (1-4) in Amherst, N.Y.
In women’s action:
Northeastern 54, Air Force 41 — Jess Genco had 16 points and the Huskies (5-0) remained unbeaten by sliding past the Falcons (3-3) at Cabot Gym.
Boston College 73, Loyola 47 — Emma Guy led a balanceed effort with 15 points for the Eagles (5-0), who ahd no trouble with the Greyhounds (0-5) in Philadelphia.
UMass 90, Brown 61 — Hailey Leidel and Bre Hampton-Bey had 18 points apiece and the Minutewomen (4-2) rolled over the Bears (4-3) in Providence.
— HERALD WIRE SERVICES