Women’s Hockey Clinches Second Straight Regular Season Championship

By Catherine Morrison

BOSTON — Every major women’s hockey poll places Boston University as the eighth-best team in the nation. Although those polls place Northeastern third, the Huskies would be forgiven for taking every last game to edge BU out for the Hockey East crown.

The Huskies didn’t need that many. They clinched on Friday. On the last day of January. With three weeks to go.

Friday afternoon’s bout against the UConn Huskies started in Northeastern’s usual style: a first-period goal. Chloe Aurard passed to Alina Mueller dead in front of the goal for an easy score, Northeastern 43rd opening-period goal this season.

Katy Knoll looked to add her own goal but was blocked by UConn forward Catherine Crawley. At the fifteen minute mark, Matti Hartman went into the penalty box for hooking, giving UConn a chance to even the score. But twenty five seconds later, a UConn tripping penalty evened the numbers. Neither team capitalized, and the four-on-four ended without incident.

Five minutes later, Northeastern’s Aerin Frankel made a great glove save, snatching Brianna Colangelo’s shot out of the air. Shortly after, Mueller would-be second goal clanged off the pipe. With two minutes left in the period, UConn’s Danielle Fox found some empty net and shot the puck in, tying the score. UConn nearly took the lead, but Frankel turned away Viki Harkness and Camryn Wong.

The second period began with a bang when, after just twenty-four seconds, Mueller snapped a shot off from the left circle for her second goal of the game and her eighteenth of the year.

Crawley looked to even the score but Frankel, determined not to cede the lead again, dove in front of the goal, practically belly flopping on the ice to block the shot.

After the early action, the second period became a fast-paced puck battle, with 21 combined shots on goal. Midway through, Northeastern’s Katie Cipra broke away and streaked towards the goal, but was blocked by UConn goalie Morgan Fisher. UConn got their own chance to score during a power play, but Colangelo’s shot deflected off the outstretched arm of Frankel and over the net.

Five minutes into the third period, Northeastern came at Fisher with a flurry of shots, first by Veronika Pettey, then by Knoll; both were dismissed. Lauren MacInnis then got control of the puck and tried for a goal but was wide. Katie Holmes put her foot in the ring, but was again blocked by Fisher. One minutes, five shots, nothing to show.

With seven minutes left in the game, Aurard tried from the left pipe, but Fisher snagged the puck in midair. Mueller tried for a hat trick with a missile from center ice but was stymied again by Fisher.

After a Megan Carter holding penalty, UConn pull Fisher to create a six-on-four. It looked like Frankel would handle it until Jessie Aney’s first collegiate goal tied the score. Northeastern tried to get back on top with shots by Matti Hartman, Mia Brown, and Holmes in the last seconds of the game, but the game went to overtime.

Both teams were desperate to end the game. Despite some great saves from Frankel, it appeared as though UConn would control the puck throughout the extra period.

But then the Huskies broke away. Codie Cross went for the game-winning goal, but was blocked by Wong. Aurard and Mueller tried, but were blocked by Fisher. It seemed like all hope was lost until Cross grabbed onto the puck and fired it in, sealing Northeastern’s eighth straight win. Mueller’s assist on the play marked her 100th collegiate point in just sixty games.

Northeastern (23–3–1, 20–2–0 HEAW) will take on No. 8 BU in the first round of the Beanpot on Tuesday. Dale Desantis, Alex Bensley, and Catherine Morrison will call that one, with coverage beginning at 4:45 PM EST.

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