After a season of hard work to put themselves in pole position heading into the postseason, the first-seeded Northeastern Huskies have the chance to defend their Hockey East crown for the second consecutive season. The women kicked off their playoff campaign with game one of a best-of-three Hockey East quarterfinal series against the eight-seeded Vermont Catamounts at Matthews Arena.
Despite being the
lowest-seeded team in the tournament, the Catamounts put up quite the fight
against the No. 4 nationally ranked Huskies. After two periods of deadlocked
action, the Huskies used an early third period haymaker to put Vermont on their
heels and followed up with a flurry of strikes to send the Catamounts crashing
to the mat, pulling away to a 5–1 victory.
showed no sign of postseason nerves. Senior assistant captain Matti Hartman netted
her eighth goal less than five minutes into the game, firing home a
close-range shot off of a feed from sophomore Mia Brown.
Many may have thought the Huskies would quickly pull away after a start like that. Credit Vermont (10–17–8) for keeping their heads held high and refusing to kneel. The Catamounts used an aggressive, effective forecheck to disrupt Northeastern’s offense and keep them from cleanly carrying the puck forward.
“On their forecheck they
were relentless; they were all over us. There were some things we talked about
on our breakout that we weren’t really executing, and then the times that we
did get out we were turning the puck over in the neutral zone,” said Husky head
coach Dave Flint. “And then, all of a sudden, things aren’t going your way,
everyone starts gripping their sticks a little tighter.”
Vermont capitalized on the
Huskies’ disarray in the second period, using a Kristina Shanahan goal to even
the game just over six minutes into the frame. The Catamounts pressed
throughout the second, outshooting Northeastern nine to five. But their failure
to tally a second score would soon come back to bite them.
Whatever Flint and his
staff said in the locker room before the third period, it worked like a charm.
After an early penalty, the
Huskies went on the power play for the third time on the afternoon. After a
beautiful passing sequence led to a saved shot from Jess Schryver, sophomore
Alina Mueller picked the puck up near the corner of the offensive zone. As she
does so often, the Patty Kazmaier candidate picked out the perfect pass to her
teammate, finding Brown in open space for a one-time rocket to give the Huskies
“We stress a lot dropping
into the house, and I noticed that Vermont had all their players packed in
almost below the hash marks,” said Brown. “So I just was coming right down the
middle, and I saw Alina so I slowed up a bit, saw her pass it, and just shot it.”
The floodgates opened after
that. Mueller converted a goal of her own just 32 seconds later, and junior
Tessa Ward and freshman Kate Holmes added scores over the next 15 minutes to
put the contest out of reach and secure game one for Northeastern.
“Credit to Vermont for a
hard-fought game,” Flint said. “They gave us all we could handle, especially in
the first two periods.”
Northeastern’s depth has
been a key factor for them this season — they’re one of just four Division I
teams with at least five double-digit scorers, along with Wisconsin, Franklin
Pierce, and Minnesota. That depth shone again on Thursday, with five goals by
five different Huskies.
“That’s the way it’s gone all year,” Flint remarked. “That’s what we need if we’re gonna be successful down the stretch. We need players to step up in certain times, and that’s what we had tonight.”
Game two of the best-of-three series will commence tomorrow night at 7 PM EST, as the Huskies look to sweep the Catamounts in the quarterfinals for the second-straight year. WRBB will have full coverage of the game starting at 6:45 PM, with Matt Neiser and Dale DeSantis on the call.
“We need to be ready, “Flint
said. “They’re gonna play desperate, because they have to win or their season’s
done . . . we need to be ready from the drop of the puck.”
BOSTON — Coming off of a 3–0 win
against the Merrimack Warriors Friday night, the Northeastern Huskies were
still feeding off of that energy.
Northeastern’s three seniors were honored before their last regular-season home game. Codie Cross, from Alberta, Canada, Paige Capistran, from Manchester, New Hampshire, and Matti Hartman, from Etna, New Hampshire, were all recognized for their contributions to the program.
Cross played a shift in the first period, but an ongoing lower-body injury kept her from playing heavy minutes. Capistran and Hartman both played their hearts out, as did many other Huskies.
great leaders on and off the ice and really nice people, and I think they’ve
done a lot for this program,” junior goaltender Aerin Frankel said. “Our
culture has grown a lot, and it started with them as freshman learning from
their seniors and they’ve done a really good job carrying that out to this
Even though the Huskies’ position in
Hockey East was determined more than three weeks ago, head coach Dave Flint
still wanted to finish the year strong.
get more passionate, I think, on senior weekend,” he said. “Even though it was
a long time ago for me, I remember what it was like . . . so I always want the
seniors to go out on a winning note.”
The energy that Flint
wanted was evident throughout the first period and most of the game. The Huskies
started strong, maintaining possession for most of the period.
With nine minutes
center Tessa Ward received a penalty for cross-checking. While most teams might
be nervous when down a player, the Huskies seem to gain confidence. Only eight
percent of the team’s penalty kills have ended in goals, compared with the
Huskies’ 15 percent success rate on the power play.
This penalty kill was no
different. Alina Mueller fired a shot into the back of the net for her
third shorthanded goal this season.
The Huskies notched a second goal when
Miceala Sindoris’ slick puck handling and blocked wrister led to a loose puck
in the slot. Brooke Hobson was trailing the play and positioned herself
perfectly to slap it home.
In the second period Merrimack increased their intensity and energy. They had many attempts on goal, but none passed through Frankel. The Husky goalie fired her team up near the end of the second period when she made an initial save, saw the puck was open and vulnerable behind her, dove backward to make a second save, and perfectly cleared the puck to Katy Knoll. Knoll found Tessa Ward, who carried the puck up the ice, wrapped around the net, and perfectly fed Mia Brown for the third and final goal of the game.
The third period was a slow
and scoreless one for the Huskies. While they maintained possession for most of
the period, they did not get as many shots on goal as they would have liked.
Near the end of the game, a
Tessa Ward checking penalty and a Chloe Aurard slashing call brought the fierce
penalty kill squad back out onto the ice. It was fitting that the successful penalty kills would seal
an illustrious defensive record — when the clock showed zeros, Aerin Frankel
had recorded her 10th shutout of the year, breaking Erika Silva’s
20-year-old school record. Frankel also equaled Chanda Gunn’s 19-year-old
record of 23 wins.
“It’s a cool thing to know, but it’s not super important to me personally,” Frankel said. “It’s more important to me that we keep winning.”
The Huskies (28–4–2, 24–3–0 WHEA) kick off the Hockey East Tournament this week with a best-of-three quarterfinal series against the Vermont Catamounts. Tune in for WRBB’s coverage from Matthews Arena, with the first game starting at 1 PM EST on Thursday.
need to be focused, we need to be ready,” Flint said. “It’s playoffs, anything
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. — It was one of the worst
performances in recent memory.
hard-fought Thursday game between the Northeastern Huskies and the Boston
College Eagles ended in a 3–2 BC victory, tonight’s matchup saw the Eagles
demolish the Huskies 10–1, the worst margin of loss for Northeastern since a
nine-goal loss to Maine . . . on December 5, 1992.
grabbed some early momentum, beginning the contest with two early power plays. But
despite some nice movement and a few chances, the momentum faded and the
Huskies had nothing to show for the man advantages.
McPhee got the scoring going for Boston College after finishing off a centering
feed from teammate Marc McLaughlin. When Husky goalie Craig Pantano lost his stick
behind the net, his defense momentarily fell asleep, leaving McPhee wide open
in front of the net.
a clear strategy to begin the game, as almost every offensive possession
started with a centering feed from behind the Northeastern net. Despite the
offensive onslaught, the Huskies found themselves down by only one heading into
the first break.
then BC decided to stop messing around.
defensive luck ran out quickly in the second frame, as BC doubled their lead
just one minute into the period off a breakaway goal by Alex Newhook. The NU
defense seemingly lost the freshman first-round pick, who found himself one-on-one
with Pantano off of a great pass from teammate David Cotton.
defensive lapses continued for Northeastern as Marc McLaughlin made the score 3–0
after a poor clearance by Pantano, who found himself on the bench after letting
in a fourth goal, this one from long range by Logan Hutsko.
freshman goaltender Connor Murphy fared no better than Pantano. The Eagles didn’t
let up in the second period, as their first-round forward Matt Boldy got on the
scoresheet with a power play goal that looked eerily similar to Hutsko’s.
Huskies could do nothing to stop the bleeding, as forwards Mike Hardman and
Marc McLaughlin scored a goal each to give the Eagles six goals in the period
and a 7–0 lead.
finally got something going at the end of the period, as forward Matt Thomson
finished off a fantastic breakaway effort to score his first career goal and
foil BC’s shutout bid. The goal was a small consolation prize in the end, though.
College poured more salt in the Huskies’ wounds in the third period, as Boldy,
defensemen Ben Finkelstein, and forward Aapeli Räsänen each added a goal in the
final frame to put BC into double digits. Northeastern could only watch with
dropped jaws as the final seconds ticked down and BC celebrated their best
performance of the season.
Huskies showed a total lack of composure, with nearly every player failing to
make a positive impact. While Northeastern’s defensive miscues did them no
favors, Boston College’s dominant performance began on their own defensive end,
as the Eagles barely allowed Northeastern forwards to get anywhere near goalie Spencer
Knight. The physical BC defensemen were in full force, and the Huskies had
minimal offensive zone presence.
don’t know what to say. They were the better team tonight,” Northeastern head
coach Jim Madigan said. “They sensed blood in the water and those kids on BC
are sharks. They just kept coming as soon as they saw us struggling. I could
talk a lot about a lot of things, but bottom line is they beat us up.”
asked about where Northeastern goes from here, Madigan took a more positive tone,
noting, “Well, we’re gonna reset. We’re gonna reset and get back to work
tomorrow in preparation for the rest of the way.”
absolute drubbing by Boston College gives the Eagles a weekend sweep and puts
Northeastern in a precarious position. With several Hockey East games still to
be played this weekend, the Huskies find themselves in seventh place after Providence’s
helpful loss to Merrimack.
will end their season with two crucial series against Vermont and Boston
University. While most of the Hockey East seeds remain up in the air, the weekend
performance certainly does not help the Huskies’ outlook. Northeastern probably
needs to win all four remaining games to have a chance at a home first-round playoff
series. Anything less than eight points during their final two weekends will
likely see Northeastern traveling for the first round, while completely missing
the tournament remains a possibility.
regular season winds down, Northeastern’s eyes are set on the playoffs. The
Hockey East playoffs begin with a best-of-three at home against the Vermont
Catamounts on Thursday. Before that, however, the team had one more job to do.
and Northeastern sit at opposite ends of the Hockey East standings. The Huskies,
with 44 points, tower above the rest, while the Warriors, with nine, are in the
cellar. Northeastern looked to bounce back from a split home-and-home against
Providence by sweeping Merrimack to close the regular season. Of additional
note, Alina Mueller and Aerin Frankel saw a renewed spotlight, as both are top
10 finalists for women’s college hockey’s most prestigious honor — the Patty
match began with engaging action, as both teams exchanged early scoring
opportunities. Eventually, things settled down, and about halfway through the
first period, Northeastern saw their first power play. The man advantage did
not yield a goal, but it allowed Northeastern to firmly plant themselves in the
offensive zone, and their lethal puck cycling began.
after going to full-strength, the Huskies caught the Warriors in a defensive
change, and Alina Mueller found herself on a breakaway with only Merrimack
netminder Léa-Kristine Demers between her and the goal. The nation’s fourth-leading
scorer wasted no time, putting a move on Demers and netting her 22nd
goal of the season.
remainder of the period saw a few more Husky chances, but Demers held fast and kept
the score at 1–0.
period action saw an energized Merrimack team establish themselves in the
Northeastern zone, aided by an early Northeastern penalty. Northeastern killed
off the penalty, but Merrimack put some pressure on Aerin Frankel between the
pipes. Frankel was forced to make some impressive saves as Merrimack found
themselves on a breakaway midway through the period.
teams exchanged penalties, but an impressive effort from both netminders meant
the second period would conclude with the same score as the first.
period saw a reenergized Northeastern team occupy the offensive zone. An early
penalty against the Huskies was negated by another penalty from the man-up
Warriors, resulting in a four-on-four that allowed the Huskies to maintain
their momentum. Midway through the third the Huskies finally found their
breakthrough. Peyton Anderson powered past several Merrimack players and promptly
placed the puck off the post and past the Warriors’ pipe protector to put the
Huskies ahead 2–0.
battle cries the Warriors used to rally themselves were silenced at this point,
as the celebration of their seniors’ last home game took hold and their game
lost some of its intensity. The Huskies, however, said “screw that” and
continued to put pressure on the Warriors. With just under four minutes to go, sophomore
forward Miceala Sindoris found herself one-on-one with Demers off of a great
feed from linemate Tessa Ward. A simple snipe beat the blocker side of the
goalie, and Sindoris’ second goal of the season iced the Huskies’ 3–0 victory.
The clock wound down to zero, and Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel had secured
her ninth shutout of the season.
Northeastern (27–4–2, 23–3–0 WHEA) will conclude the home-and-home, and their season, on Saturday. Matt Neiser, Sarah Olender, and George Barker will be on the call, with coverage beginning at 1:45 PM EST. We’ll post the Listen Live link on our Twitter before game time.
BOSTON — Coming off a hard-fought
weekend sweep of UMass Lowell, No. 10 Northeastern hoped to carry their
momentum against another top Hockey East team Thursday night at Matthews Arena.
This time it was the No. 5/6 Boston College Eagles, holders of the top spot in
Despite encouraging play in
the first and third periods, a rough second frame doomed the Huskies as they
dropped the game — and crucial points in the Hockey East playoff race — by a
thought Boston College was a better team than us tonight,” said Northeastern head
coach Jim Madigan after the game. “They’re a very well-balanced team with a
great goaltender . . . If we’re gonna get wins against very good teams like
them, we’re gonna need a much better effort for a full 60 minutes.
Disappointing to have that inconsistent effort.”
Unlike some of their recent
games, the Huskies (17–9–3, 10–8–1 HEA) got off to a great start. They
established the forecheck early, which led directly to their first goal. Julian
Kislin held up the puck as the Eagles (20–8–1, 13–6–0 HEA) tried to clear the
zone, shuffling the puck to Riley Hughes. The freshman threw the puck into
empty space in the Boston College zone, allowing Matt Filipe to run onto it.
Filipe, fresh back from an injury that held him out for four games, picked up
the puck and wrapped around the opposing net, playing a shot in front that
appeared to bounce off a skate and into the net.
Despite Northeastern being
arguably the better team for most of the frame, the Eagles struck back late in
the period when Julius Mattila fired home a shot after a slick drop pass from
David Cotton to open him up. The goal allowed Boston College to enter the break
none worse for wear after a lackluster first period.
It also served as a
springboard for the Eagles, who thoroughly dominated the Huskies for much of
the second frame. After peppering Northeastern netminder Craig Pantano with
countless shots, one finally leaked through at the 10:45 mark of the period.
After making the initial save on Alex Newhook’s redirect from the slot, Pantano
couldn’t scramble back into position to stop Marshall Warren’s follow-up.
Mattila added his second of
the night on a two-on-one breakaway six minutes later to make it 3–1.
Northeastern turned the
intensity back up in the third period, competing at a much higher level. Just
under seven minutes in, their hard work paid off when Biagio Lerario got the tip
of his stick on a Jordan Harris shot from the slot. The tip did just enough to
throw off Eagles goaltender Spencer Knight, who slowed the puck down under his
pad but couldn’t fully stop it.
praised his team’s third-period turnaround, saying, “I thought our compete
level was better; I thought we had a good first period as well. We had our
backs against the wall and we had to respond, but we just didn’t respond
The Huskies continued their
push for an equalizer and generated some quality opportunities, but the final
product just wasn’t there as they failed to net a third tally and succumbed to
the Eagles. Madigan emphasized that despite midseason trophies like the Belpot and
Beanpot, the team has much bigger goals this year.
hoping it’s a wakeup call for our guys. We need to play better or else we won’t
get the result we need tomorrow night,” Madigan said. “We’re in a playoff hunt,
you know? We haven’t won anything yet. Our goals are measured by what we do at
the end of the season. I think they need to understand in our locker room that
we haven’t won anything yet. Some of these guys might have won something in the
past couple years, but this team hasn’t won anything yet.”
These two teams will face
off again on Friday night, this time in Chestnut Hill. Christian Skroce and
Matt Neiser will be on the call, with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 PM EST.
BOSTON — Hockey East is the closest it’s ever been this late in the season.
Coming into Saturday night, three points separated second and ninth place.
Northeastern sat at the low end of that range, in a three-way tie for seventh
with 19 points. UMass Lowell, with 22, was atop the scrum — tied with Boston
College for second place. With the top eight teams making the playoffs in
Hockey East, every point is essential for making the playoffs and earning a
“My tenure with this league goes back to the
first year,” said Husky head coach Jim Madigan. “I was a senior in that first
year of Hockey East in 84–85. I’ve got a lot of history with this league and
I’ve never seen it this bunched up . . . It’s going to be a dogfight all the
way to the end.”
Northeastern clearly understood the importance of this series. Despite missing key players, the Huskies scrapped their way to a 2–1 win over Lowell on Saturday night at Matthews Arena, completing the season sweep of the Riverhawks after defeating them in Lowell the night before.
Northeastern (17–8–3, 10–7–1
HEA) was missing a few major pieces. Jayden Struble is out for the season after
sustaining a lower-body injury against Maine on February 7. Matt Filipe missed
his third-straight game and is currently day-to-day. Tyler Madden, the Huskies’
star forward and Hobey Baker hopeful, picked up an injury late in Friday’s
Madigan said after
tonight’s game that Madden would be evaluated on Monday and the team would have
a return timeline after that. However, Jeff Cox of New England Hockey Journal reported that Madden
could miss 4–6 weeks with a fractured finger. That’s just a rumor, of course,
but it’s worth noting until the team gives more info.
The game itself was much
less intriguing than its circumstances. Full of sloppy passes and neutral zone
battles, it seemed like neither team wanted to snag the points up for grabs. The
Huskies came out of the gates looking disheveled, misplacing passes and
struggling to clear their zone.
The River Hawks’ (15–9–5, 9–6–4
HEA) opening goal was borne out of a defensive miscommunication as the Huskies
scrambled to find their footing. Carl Berglund made his way into the Husky
zone, dropping it off for the trailing Reid Stefanson. Having just lost his
stick in a collision at center ice, Jordan Harris was out of his normal
defensive position. Stefanson took advantage, finding acres of space on the
left side of the zone to step in close and beat Husky goaltender Craig
Much like in their Beanpot
victory against Boston University on Monday, the Huskies changed their tune in
a big way in the second frame. Whatever was said in the locker room during the
break worked, as Northeastern played with more energy, finishing checks and
moving the puck around much more cleanly.
That clean, beautiful puck
movement paved the way for the Huskies’ second-period equalizer. Starting with
Matt Thomson, the puck touched all five skaters’ tapes on its trip around the
Lowell zone. The fifth skater was freshman Mike Kesselring, who blasted a
one-timer at the opposing net off a feed from Jordan Harris to beat a screened
The two sides battled into
the third period; neither team found paydirt for the first half of the frame.
Finally, with 10:34 remaining, Northeastern broke the deadlock. Remember how
their first goal involved crisp passing and a clear shot? Their second was
about as far in the other direction as you can go. Instead of trying to
describe what happened, we’ll just let you watch the replay:
Not nearly as pretty as the first, but they all count for one point in the end.
As the clock ticked down,
the game became more and more frenetic. At one point, a loose puck in front of
the Husky net squirted out to an open Lowell skater on the left side of the
crease. Pantano, out of position on the right side, flung his leg out at the
last second to make an incredible kick save and keep the Huskies on top.
Pantano, when asked about his great play as of late (40 saves in the Beanpot and a shutout win the night before), said, “I think it has to do with the play in front of me right now. They’ve been letting me see shots, and they’ve been giving me the easy plays. I think we’ve been dialing in our defensive game, and that’s helped me too.”
“Other than adjusting our lines, we didn’t
change our game plan,” Madigan said of the injured players. “We didn’t really
talk much about Tyler [Madden] not being in the lineup tonight . . . Guys
stepped up, which is what you need and expect.
“The lines are going to be shuffled. We might as [well] not even put out a lineup chart,” he said to laughter from himself and the gathered media. “The lines are going to be shuffled for the rest of the year. I think you guys got a lineup chart; there’s 11 forwards and 11 doesn’t go equally, at least in my math. It’s going to be that way for the rest of the year.”
The Huskies will look to build off these wins heading into a huge matchup next weekend against Boston College. The home-and-home will kick off on Thursday at Matthews Arena, with Christian Skroce and Matt Neiser on the call for WRBB. Pregame coverage will commence at 6:45 PM EST.
Huskies have planted themselves atop the Hockey East standings and brought the Beanpot
home, but their goals hardly end there. As the third-ranked team in the nation
with one of the best defenses in the nation, the best goalie in the nation, and
one of the best forwards in the nation, the Huskies’ aspirations extend beyond
the Beanpot and beyond Hockey East. Their campaign to an NCAA Frozen Four
continued today, as the Huskies rematched the Providence Friars a day after the
Friars handed the Huskies their first loss in 11 games.
Forward Sara Hjalmarsson struck first, weaving her way through the Northeastern
defense and slipping the puck past freshman goaltender Gwyn Phillips after a
nifty move to get her out of position.
remainder of the first period saw Northeastern gain their footing on defense,
and the beginning of their onslaught of shots on Providence goalie Sandra
Abstreiter. Before the period ended, they fired nine shots on net to swing the
momentum their way.
of the second period saw the puck spend a considerable amount of time on the
Providence end of the ice. The Friars generated a couple of transition chances
through the neutral zone, but the Huskies made sure that they couldn’t
establish themselves on their end. Four minutes into the period, Skylar
Fontaine slipped the puck to Alina Mueller on the edge of the crease and the nation’s
second-leading scorer wasted no time, deking out the Friar netminder and
scoring her 21st goal of the season.
minutes and one Husky power play later, Katy Knoll forced a turnover on the
Providence end, took advantage of poor positioning on the part of the
Providence pipe protector, and broke the tie.
second period saw some good looks on goal for Providence, as the Huskies
struggled to stop their transition offense through the neutral zone. But
Phillips, along with the defenders in front of her, held fast, preserving the 2–1
period saw Providence dig deeper into their bag of tricks, as they worked into
some three-on-two and two-on-one situations on offense, but Phillips made some
huge stops to avoid a tie.
point, the NU offense was really rolling. The puck snapped from stick to stick
and cycled up and down the rink, and the Friars could not get the puck out of
their end. Five minutes into the period, Lauren MacInnis, the double-overtime
hero from the Huskies’ Beanpot win, found herself with a good look at the
Providence goal. Mia Brown screened the Providence netminder well, blocking her
view of the puck, and MacInnis sniped the top right corner from the edge of the
left circle, putting Northeastern up, 3–1.
period rolled on, with Providence getting a few more chances to score — mainly
because Northeastern head coach Dave Flint gave ice time to some younger players
— but the Huskies held their lead. Providence pulled their goalie with just
over three minutes to go in the period, desperate to spark their offense.
Unlike the last time the Huskies defended a six-on-five, they did not allow a
goal, and Katy Knoll broke through the neutral zone for her easiest goal of the
4–1 win is their first against Providence this season after two losses. The
Huskies will close their regular season with a home-and-home against Merrimack
College before the Hockey East tournament the following week.
LOWELL, Mass. — The Beanpot hangover did not
make an appearance at the Tsongas Center in Lowell on Friday night.
after the No. 12 Northeastern Huskies won their third consecutive Beanpot
title, Jim Madigan’s group shut down No. 11 UMass Lowell to move up to sixth
place in the conference standings.
to our older guys about that on Wednesday and they delivered the message to the
rest of the group,” Madigan said. “We’re in a playoff hunt. We can’t afford a
Beanpot hangover. In fact, we try not to use the word that begins with a B and
ends with a T and focus in on what’s at hand here.”
Huskies came out focused and cashed in on a power play seven minutes into the
first period. Tyler Madden found the back of the net for his team-leading 19th
goal of the season.
it was dominance marked by crisp puck movement, defensive prowess, and
smothering goaltending by Craig Pantano.
the way our team competed and battled,” head coach Jim Madigan said. “I think
it was probably our best defensive game of the year in terms of how we
Madden’s goal, Northeastern center Zach Solow left the game with an injury. But
he returned later in the next period and was all over the ice, bringing an
energy that the Huskies sustained the rest of the game.
banged up early in that game,” Madigan said. “I thought our kids showed a lot
scored his fifth goal on an assist by Neil Shea six minutes into the second
Craig Pantano built a brick wall in net and recorded his first shutout since
November 29. Pantano set aside 24 shots; his counterpart Tyler Wall made 19
saves for the Riverhawks. Grant Jozefek netted his eighth goal of the season on
an empty net goal with one second remaining.
will make the trip to Matthews Arena, where they will rematch Saturday. Matt
Neiser, Jack Sinclair, and Rae Deer will have the call for WRBB, with coverage
beginning at 7:45 PM EST.
BOSTON — Northeastern
has dominated the entire season.
They’ve won 25 games, shut out their opponents for 315 consecutive
minutes, and clinched the top spot in the Hockey East Standings in January.
But there’s one team in Hockey East that doesn’t seem scared
of the Huskies, and on Friday night they stormed into Matthews Arena and
emerged victorious. For the second time this season, the Providence Friars
bested the Northeastern Huskies, as the Huskies followed their dramatic
double-overtime Beanpot win with a 2–1 overtime loss.
Almost right away, it seemed like the game would follow a
different story, that the momentum from Tuesday night’s victory would carry
over. Less than a minute into the game, after an early Husky line change,
freshman forward Katy Knoll received the puck in the neutral zone, crossed
over, and carried the puck to the doorstep. After her first shot was deflected,
Knoll slapped the rebound past Friar goaltender Sandra Abstreiter to kick off
Nearly two full periods would pass before another puck found
the back of the net. The intervening time saw both teams push the pace in an
attempt to put pressure on the other’s defense, with a number of long-distance,
rushed passes missing their targets. Both teams seemed to have trouble
communicating, leading to frequent turnovers and preventing either squad from
The turnovers and quick pace also decreased the quality of each
team’s shots. Neither Abstreiter nor Husky goalie Aerin Frankel dealt with many
dangerous shots in the first two periods. Other than Skylar Fontaine faking
Hayley Lunny back to Providence, Northeastern’s offense didn’t get much going
after Knoll’s score.
“We had some good looks, but they did a good job keeping us
outside and they blocked a lot of shots and weren’t letting us get inside,”
Northeastern head coach Dave Flint observed. “I think Alina [Mueller] got
robbed twice in tight, but other than that we didn’t have a ton of good looks
at the net. A lot of them were perimeter shots outside. It was the same thing
when we lost 1–0 there earlier in the year.”
In the second period, the activity become aggression. After just
one penalty in the opening frame, the teams drew four in the second. Though
Avery Fransoo and Brooke Hobson’s offsetting roughing penalties fizzled without
a goal, the Huskies wouldn’t be so lucky after Knoll’s hitting from behind penalty
with about four minutes to play. Providence defender Lauren DeBlois waited all
of four seconds to make Northeastern pay, curving toward the middle and
slinging the puck by Frankel.
Once in the second period and once in third, the Huskies had
goals ripped from their grasp. Mueller and Matti Hartman both scored to give
the Huskies the lead, but each goal was snatched away after official reviews
confirmed an offsides entry.
Catalyzed by another five penalties, both teams fired 14
shots on goal in the third, easily the most of any period. Abstreiter and
Frankel withstood the test, and the Huskies headed to overtime for the second
time this week.
But a Megan Carter holding penalty would soon spell doom for
the Huskies. Halfway through the power play, assisted by the same two teammates
who aided her first goal, DeBlois fired one past Frankel to end the night. Providence
had punctured Northeastern’s elite penalty kill for the second time.
“Our PK has been great all year, but our complete level wasn’t
where it needed to be,” Flint said. “We’ve got to stop taking penalties late in
games. It finally came back and bit us in the butt.”
The win dropped Northeastern to 25–4–2 (21–3–0 HEAW). Though
the standings mean little to them now that they’ve clinched, Flint admits that
the game held another importance.
“This is a setback,” he admitted, “but a loss is OK because it
brings them back down to reality a little bit like, ‘Hey, we can lose; anyone
can beat us.’ So hopefully that’s a little wakeup call for us and we’ll be
better down the stretch.”
30 years, to three in a row, Northeastern is a Beanpot dynasty.”
That was our final call on air Monday night as the Northeastern Huskies raised the Beanpot trophy for the third time in as many years. It was a moment that Husky players, coaches, fans, and yes, even radio guys, will never forget, and it just might be the greatest moment in Northeastern hockey history.
is not the first team to win three Beanpots in a row; that honor goes to the
1963–65 Boston College squads. Nor is the Huskies’ streak the longest; for that
we look to Boston University’s six consecutive titles from 1995 to 2000. Northeastern’s
three-peat is the ninth in Beanpot history and the first by a team not named BC
or BU. But make no mistake, this hat trick is as historic as they come, and its
countless moments remind us why we love sports and why we love calling games
for this team.
broke its 30-year Beanpot drought in 2018, pulling out victories against
perennial powerhouses BC and BU. The Huskies were led by the best top line in
the country, and possibly team history — Nolan Stevens, Dylan Sikura, and
eventual Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette. The trio showed up in the biggest
game of their lives, and a hat trick from Gaudette propelled the Huskies to a 5–2
win over their cross-town rivals and sent TD Garden into a frenzy.
whole night was unforgettable, but perhaps the most popular image was of a fan
in the crowd holding a sign — it turned out to be an XXXXL t-shirt — that simply
read, “I can graduate in peace.” Flashes of Gaudette parading the Beanpot
trophy around TD Garden danced through the minds of Husky fans for weeks to
come after that first Beanpot win. None of them could fathom the run that was
year later, Northeastern flexed its muscles and asserted itself as one of the
premier programs in college hockey. It began in the semifinal against BU, when,
less than a minute into overtime, Tyler Madden arrived in dramatic fashion.
In the post-game press conference, I grabbed a mic and sheepishly asked the freshman forward, “How were you able to stay so calm with everything on the line?” At the podium, Madden simply nodded, leaned forward, and announced, “Well, there were bright lights out there tonight, and I shine in those.” Thus was born the legend of Mr. Bright Lights.
week later, Northeastern retained their trophy with a win over BC. Despite leaping
out to a 3–0 lead, Northeastern, ever content to give its fans a show, let
Boston College storm back in the third period to make the score 3–2 late in
regulation. But the Huskies had been here before. Struggling to maintain their
narrow lead, the Huskies found another gear, and with a late push and an even
later goal, hung on to become back-to-back Beanpot champions.
goalie and future NHL player Cayden Primeau shone during the 2019 tournament, allowing
just three goals in two games between the pipes and winning the Eberly Award
and Tournament MVP. The team went on to secure the Hockey East title and break
the Northeastern single-season win record.
the Huskies weren’t done, as just a year later, they found themselves in the
Beanpot Championship again after a 3–1 semifinal victory over Harvard. The
final promised to be a heated affair, as Northeastern faced a BU team fresh off
a thrilling 5–4 overtime upset victory over BC in the semifinal.
It was a nightmare start for the Huskies, as BU forwards Jake Wise and Trevor Zegras each scored in the first eight minutes to stun the Huskies right out of the gate. The score held for the next 12 minutes, and the Huskies headed to the locker room searching for answers.
came out buzzing in the second period, as sophomore forward Tyler Madden
brought NU within one with a perfectly placed wrister from the slot. Talented freshman
Aidan McDonough evened the game just three minutes later, but the Huskies
weren’t done there.
eight minutes gone, consecutive BU penalties gave Northeastern a five-on-three.
After a remarkable passing display, junior forward Zach Solow scored to give
Northeastern a 3–2 lead, all on the first power play, meaning NU would kept a
man advantage after the goal.
they took full advantage. One minute after Solow’s goal, senior forward Grant
Jozefek notched Northeastern’s fourth straight goal after an incredible
individual effort. 4–2 Northeastern.
taking full control of the game, Northeastern didn’t let up in the second
period and brought a whole new meaning to “close but no cigar.” One of the
craziest plays of the game came just minutes after the Huskies’ fourth goal, as
Zach Solow found himself with the puck and an open net just in front of him.
While facing away from the net, Solow attempted a backhanded shot that
ricocheted off the near post, somehow crossed the goal-line to hit the second
post, and ricocheted out of the crease. Husky fans’ mouths dropped as the TD
Garden replay showed the puck soaring perfectly over the goal-line while
remaining nanometers away from counting as a goal.
second near-miss came a few minutes later, as Northeastern again found
themselves on a breakaway. A close-range shot from Madden was popped into the
air, deflected twice, and seemed destined to float over BU goalie Sam Tucker
for Northeastern’s fifth score of the period. But freshman forward Robert
Mastrosimone came to the Terriers’ rescue and batted the midair puck out of the
the hectic second period ended, and both teams headed to their locker rooms to
prepare for a third period that no one could have anticipated.
two minutes into the third, BU began its comeback with David Farrance’s
brilliantly placed shot from the left dot. With the lead shrunk to one, both teams
desperately tried to grab the palpable momentum that pervaded the game, and in
one of the most insane regulation finishes in Beanpot history, the hockey gods
had one more trick up their sleeves.
just a minute remaining in the third period, BU pulled its goalie to give them
a man advantage. The Terriers used it well, peppering Northeastern netminder Craig
Pantano with shot after shot. Despite the rapid opportunities, the NU defense
remained strong, turning away chance after chance. That is, until Trevor Zegras
just 1.2 seconds remaining, Zegras found the puck just to the right of Pantano
and threw everything he had into a backhanded shot that wound up in the back of
the net. With bated breath, Husky fans quickly turned their gaze from BU
celebrating to the clock overhead that showed a few tenths left, and although many
didn’t want to admit it, everyone in the stadium knew that the Beanpot final
would be headed to overtime.
the game, Northeastern players were asked about their thoughts when BU tied the
game. Head coach Jim Madigan interjected, “Well, the coaches were saying WTF .
teams returned to the ice for an initial five-minute overtime period. The
Terriers kept the momentum from Zegras’ goal, earning chance after chance, but
Northeastern’s defense stayed strong enough to keep the game even and give both
teams a much-needed break before the 20-minute second overtime.
looked around the locker room and saw no panicked faces,” senior defenseman and
team captain Ryan Shea said. “Everyone was just focused on their game and was
ready to go.”
overtime was a defensive struggle, with both teams trading chances. That is,
until Shea pulled off a remarkable hustle play to draw a holding penalty with
just about six minutes remaining in the overtime frame to give the Huskies a two-minute
power play. And that was all they needed.
With 5:27 to go and under 30 seconds remaining on the power play, sophomore defenseman Jordan Harris collected the puck near the blue line in the offensive zone. With his eyes fixed on the goal and the trophy, Harris coolly skated into the slot and let a shot fly. With Zach Solow planted in front of BU goalie Sam Tucker, the puck soared through the air, through the crowd, and into the back of the net.
Harris and his teammates flung their gloves and sticks into the air and sprinted down to the other end to mob Pantano. TD Garden erupted, and I mean erupted. Twelve full sections of Northeastern students and countless more in the arena screamed and cheered as the improbability of the Huskies’ accomplishment sank in.
said that if we get the puck near the blue line to push it to the middle and
get a shot on net,” Harris said. “Hopefully a lane opens up, which it did, and
I took my opportunity, and luckily it paid off.”
The Eberly Award for best goaltender of the tournament went to Pantano, who recorded 40 saves in the championship game. Pantano grew up watching the Beanpot as a local Massachusetts kid, and continued to watch during his time just north of us at Merrimack College. This was his only opportunity to make his own mark on this historic tournament, and when it mattered most, he didn’t blink.
Solow was crowned MVP for his two-goal performance. Though his stats speak for
themselves, it’s Solow’s on-ice tenacity and off-ice leadership that have
impressed Husky fans and coaches.
perhaps his greatest trait is this: he doesn’t know what it means to lose a
Beanpot game. None of Northeastern’s juniors do either. After three decades of
heartbreaking losses, gutsy performances to no avail, and seeing another team lift
that pot of beans, Northeastern has achieved all-time greatness in Boston’s
most personal and meaningful sports tournament.
heart-attack Huskies had the added benefit of pulling out their improbable win
in front of 17,850 fans, the largest crowd in Beanpot history. BU fans made
their mark, but it was the Northeastern faithful who truly took over TD Garden
(as they have for years) and made it Northeastern’s home away from home. In the
past three seasons, Northeastern is 8–1 there. The bright lights were out on
Monday night, and the Huskies shine in those.
was a great Beanpot game; I’ve seen a lot of them over the years,” Madigan
said. “Congratulations to our players . . . they’ve set the bar incredibly high
for this program and they’ve represented the school well.”
“The winning culture that we’ve built — along with the guys before us — has been everything,” Shea noted. “I came to Northeastern to win a Beanpot, and now we’ve got three of them.”
was a distinct theme throughout the postgame press conference: “Never forgot their
roots.” Northeastern has 14 Massachusetts natives on its roster, all of whom
grew up watching the Beanpot and dreamt of winning it someday. Milton,
Massachusetts resident Jim Madigan praised two Huskies who also grew up there —
Ryan Shea and Aidan McDonough, who had an impressive four-point performance in
the Championship game.
“I had [McDonough] at my house during the Stanley Cup when he was nine,” said Madigan. “I’ve known him a long time and he’s grown into a great young man, and an even better hockey player . . . we’re a Mass team now.
young men have separated themselves from every other team in the 90-year
history of this program,” Madigan said. When asked about a potential four-peat,
Madigan smiled, shook his head, and said, “I think we’re just going to enjoy
a personal note, thank you to everyone involved with Northeastern hockey. This
has been a truly incredible ride that thousands of people — alumni old and new,
current freshmen, family — have loved being a part of.
And to my WRBB Sports family, thank you for everything. There are so many people who deserve to be a part of this run, and I like to believe that everyone at WRBB, past and present, was a crucial part of this broadcast. Like Jim Madigan said, I think I’m just going to enjoy this for a little while.