At 6-feet-2, 205 pounds, charging up and down the wing, delivering checks, and finishing off his chances, Matt Filipe continues to be an impact player for the Northeastern men’s hockey team (13-5-2), ranked 11th in this week’s Division 1 poll.
In Monday’s 4-2 win over Bentley, the senior from Lynnfield netted the pivotal third goal, raising his season total to five goals and 11 assists.
Professional hockey is likely a part of his future — he was drafted in the third round of the 2016 draft (the 67th overall selection) by the Carolina Hurricanes — but his focus is on closing out his college career with a bang for the Huskies. It the latest stop after a stellar three-year run at Malden Catholic, featuring two Super 8 titles, and a season in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in the United States Hockey League.
“Matt has been a huge piece to our program the last three-and-a-half years,” Northeastern associate head coach Jerry Keefe said. “Right now he is playing his best hockey and might be the top power forward in college hockey. He can dominate games from a physical standpoint and with his speed. He continues to keep getting better and is playing with a lot of confidence.”
What are your goals for this season?
First and foremost, I want to win another Beanpot and Hockey East championship. For me personally, I just want to do whatever I can to help the team get to those goals. I try to do that every night, put the team first. The goals are to win another Hockey East Championship, repeat and win a third straight Beanpot.
Your father, Paul, played at Northeastern [115 games, from 1978-1982]. How much did that play into your decision to be a Husky?
That was a huge part. I grew up going to the games. In the early 2000s, around 2010 it was probably crazy to hear of a kid from Massachusetts who was rooting for Northeastern and not BC or BU. It played a huge role for me. My dad is in the Hall of Fame here. Northeastern always felt like home for me growing up, going to the games, and stealing sticks from some of the players.
You are a business major, so what does a career after hockey look like?
I mean, to be honest now, I’m not sure. I just want to hopefully play hockey as long as I can. I think I’ve put myself in the place where I’ll have the opportunity to play professional hockey. Obviously Northeastern is a great school academically. I’ve learned a lot here, and when the time comes I’ll be able to apply what I’ve learned here to whatever I do.
Who is your favorite character on Game of Thrones? What was your go-to Ireland experience [NU played in Belfast Nov. 29-30]?
I love Tyrion Lannister . How can you not love that guy? I feel like every Tyrion scene . . . We actually went to where they filmed some of the scenes. The base of it, like the castles, that was out in Ireland so we went out there. We stood in some of the spots that the actual characters were in. We did an axe-throwing contest and a bow-and-arrow thing.
How much do you follow the Carolina Hurricanes during the season?
I follow them a lot. I’m a big hockey fan, so obviously I watch a lot of the Bruins games because they’re on TV here. I keep tabs on Carolina and talk with people in their organization.
What did you get out of the experience when you left Malden Catholic to play juniors?
That was a big step for me. Not only in my career, but personally. I developed a lot of relationships at MC and I still talk to a lot of those kids to this day. For me to get up and leave what we had going there was tough. To leave that was a tough decision, but going out to Cedar Rapids was just going to be the best for my career. You see it with guys on pretty much every team in the country. Guys move away from home and they make a sacrifice. I learned a lot, just moving into a host family who was unbelievable for me.
What makes playing in a historic barn like Matthews Arena special?
One thing that’s unique about it is the upper bowl, and how we have the students looking down on us. It’s something I never get tired of, and I don’t take it for granted at all. No one really comes close to the fan support that we get from the students. It just never gets old. I’ve had people from other teams tell me it’s the best rink they’ve played in.
Who was your favorite hockey player growing up?
This a little bit of a throwback, but my favorite player was Brian Rolston on the Bruins. He’s the reason I wore No. 12 until I got to college. My cousin worked for the Bruins and he got me a Brian Rolston stick, so that played into it.
Best venue that you have played at?
I love playing at Maine. When it is packed, [Alfond Arena] reminds me of Matthews. They have a lot of student support like we do, and the locals love it up there. From an atmosphere standpoint, I would say Maine. Playing at the TD Garden is obviously unbelievable whether it’s the Beanpot or the [NCAA Tournament].
Greg Levinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.