by Joe Barbitoi
BOSTON, MA – It was a dramatic conclusion to one of the best season’s in program history. Cornell freshman forward Gillis Frechette scored an overtime breakaway goal to end Northeastern’s bid for an NCAA title.
In the Husky’s first ever home NCAA tournament game, the Cornell Big Red came down from Ithaca with heavy skating and stalwart defensive play. Neither team eclipsed 30 shots on goal, and both defenses registered double digit blocks.
Scoring would open up at 13:28 into the first when junior froward Amy Curlew got the beat on sophomore goaltender Aerin Frankel from right in front of the crease. The Big Red had been buzzing all period and ended up leading the shot on goal advantage 11 to 5 when the period ended. Before the Huskies were free for the intermission, sophomore defender Skylar Fontaine committed a late body-checking penalty which put Cornell on the power play.
Excellent puck movement and a perfectly placed tip from junior forward Grace Graham sent the Huskies to the break with a 2-0 deficit. Sophomore defender Devon Facchinato fired a wrist shot from the blue line, and Graham – who was all alone in front of Frankel – earned her 11th goal of the season.
The second period would come and go without a goal, but the Huskies did fight back a bit and win the shot battle 9-5. Northeastern went on the power play twice, registering seven shots between the two advantages.
The Huskies would finally break through in the third. Junior forward Andrea Renner and sophomore forward Veronika Pettey broke into the zone in an odd-skater rush, and Renner ripped a shot high glove side that rolled off of senior goaltender Marlene Boissonnault’s shoulder. Pettey showed no quit on the play and went diving after the loose change to deposit it in the back of the net for Northeastern’s first goal at 9:32 of the period.
With just about 5 minutes left in the game, Fontaine was able to skate unimpeded into the Big Red zone. From high in the slot she ripped a wrist shot that cleanly beat Boissonnault, and the score evened at 2.
Just over five minutes into the extra frame, Frechette took a pass from senior forward Diana Buckley to the house and gave Cornell their fourth ever win in the NCAA opening round.
The Big Red will play the winner of the Minnesota Princeton game.