As the Huskies return from winter break to start the second half of the season, let’s give praise to the best of the first three months of the campaign.
Best game: NU 3 – 1 BC, 10/13/12
Huge surprise, right? Thus far the game against BC at Matthews was the most complete effort given by the Huskies this year. The team was consistent in all facets of play, against a quality (understatement) opponent. Oh, and beating a cross town rival who just happened to be the number one ranked team in the country and who was coming off a national title victory doesn’t hurt.
Best moment: The dueling “Milner” chants at the start of the 2nd period from 10/13/12
This represents the high point of pride for Northeastern fans this season to date. The team was looking good and there was a full house on hand to watch. I’m sure quite a few fans still had the bitter taste of last year’s Beanpot debacle in their mouths, so when the Huskies entered the 2nd frame with a lead, the DogHouse and the DongHouse let loose. The chants lasted a considerable amount of time and embodied just how good Northeastern fans are at their peak.
Most improved: Drew Ellement
Drew Ellement was never a bad player by any means. He was a solid role player who quietly did his job in the background, which is perfectly acceptable for a d-man. However, with the loss of three of Northeastern’s top six defensemen, Ellement has found himself in a new role as the lone upperclassman logging big minutes. Now the defense is by no means perfect, but Ellement has certainly been a pleasant surprise of consistency at the blue line.
Biggest surprise: Michael McMurtry
Michael McMurtry wasn’t in the Northeastern lineup for the first three games of the season. But when Stevie Morra went down with an injury, McMurtry was inserted. And since then, he’s been a mainstay in the lineup (though he did miss a non-conference game in November), playing top-six minutes for the majority of the time, as well. At this point, McMurtry has asserted himself as a must-start forward. His five points are good for sixth on the team, despite missing a fifth of the games. He’s also a .45 point per game player, which puts him right alongside Ludwig Karlsson and Braden Pimm in that statistic. Not bad production from a guy who began the season as a healthy scratch.
Best freshman: Kevin Roy
A no brainer. This has been the Kevin Roy show from day one of the season. Easily Northeastern’s biggest offensive threat, Roy leads the team in goals and points. He’s still got some rough edges, but he is a certified game changer.
Best offensive player: Kevin Roy
Best defensive player: Josh Manson
Manson came into the season with 33 games of experience but you’d never know he was a sophomore by his play. Like Drew Ellement he has stepped his game up considerably and played admirably. He’s made a few mistakes here and there, but there’s no d-man on the team who has dominated opposing offensive players the way he has at times this year.
2012 MVP: Kevin Roy
On a team that struggles to score, he’s like Northeastern’s Steve Carlton, putting up almost a fourth of the goals. He also has two of the team’s game winners this year – both of which came against ranked teams. Simply put, no one on the team has had a more positive impact than Kevin Roy. And he’s only had 15 games to acclimate himself to the college game. It’s only up from here.
Best personality: Derick Roy
The other Roy brother has not played a minute this year. Nevertheless, he’s made an impact through his snazzy threads, persistent cheering and dance moves. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a player at Northeastern more visibly excited by hockey games as Derick Roy. His passion, quite frankly, is refreshing on a team where commitment hasn’t always been 100 percent.
Best twitter account: Drew Ellement
Justin Daniels left big shoes to fill when he stopped tweeting on a frequent basis, coinciding with his departure from Northeastern. Like he has on the ice, Ellement has stepped in and done a tremendous job replacing the production. Whether it’s his enthusiasm for his homeland or timely references, Ellement is an entertainer. Where he’s really shined, though, has been live tweeting of wrestling, the occasional sporting event, and of course, the team’s pre-Thanksgiving game of Risk. It takes special talent to keep people interested in updates of a board game, so kudos to Drew on that.
On a side note, Torin Syndeman likewise deserves praise for his work on Twitter. While he’s not really tweeting with regularity, whatever he puts out there is generally high quality, leaving you wanting more. He’s basically the Kramer or Fonzy of the team in that regard.