Women’s Hockey Stymies UConn

By Christian Skroce

BOSTON — The Northeastern women’s hockey team is making shutouts a trend, and we’re all for it. The Huskies’ momentum continued after last weekend’s combined 9–0 shutout of Boston College as the team pulled off a convincing 4–0 win over Hockey East rival UConn.

After an uneventful first five minutes, talented freshman Kate Holmes got the scoring going for Northeastern, putting away her fourth goal on the year off an excellent feed from Miceala Sindoris.

Sophomore forward Chloe Aurard extended the Northeastern lead just two minutes later with her 13th goal on the year. After a fantastic individual effort to skate past three UConn defenders, Aurard blasted a shot into the back of the net from the slot.

The first-period scoring spree continued when defender Megan Carter sent a rocket from the blue-line past UConn goalie Morgan Fisher to give NU a comfortable 3–0 lead.

The pace of play slowed in the second period and the score remained 3–0. Fisher exited the game early in the period with a head injury after a collision with Aurard.

The third period saw Northeastern increase their lead with a power play goal by sophomore Alina Mueller six minutes in. The play was started by defender Skylar Fontaine, who skated coast to coast to set up Mueller in front of the UConn goal. Despite a great initial save by the UConn goalie, Mueller coolly lifted the puck over the netminder’s outstretched leg.

It was a surprise hero in goal for Northeastern, as freshman netminder Gwyneth Philips recorded her third shutout in as many career starts. Philips stopped all 22 UConn shots, including forward Natalie Snodgrass’s breakaway shot in the second period. Coach Dave Flint praised Philips after the game, noting her poise and consistent ability to be ready off the bench.

The move to start Philips over junior goalie Aerin Frankel gave Frankel some rest after her performances against Boston College last weekend. The penalty kill also came up huge for Northeastern Friday night; they stopped all four UConn power plays, including a five-on-three late in the final period.

This is the third straight shutout for Northeastern, which boasts a 13–0 combined score during that stretch. The win gives the team 30 points in Hockey East, pushes them to 18–3–1 (15–2–0 HEA), and extends their commanding first-place lead. The sky is the limit for this team and they will look to continue their winning ways tomorrow afternoon as they travel Storrs, Connecticut for another matchup with the UConn Huskies.

Women’s Hockey Shuts out Boston College for Second Straight Game

By Matt Neiser

BOSTON — Boston College and Northeastern. Cross-town rivals. The top two teams in Women’s Hockey East. Any time these two squads face off, it’s must-watch action.

That said, there’s been a sizeable gap between the teams this season. Entering Sunday afternoon’s duel at Matthews Arena, the No. 3 Huskies had outscored the Eagles a combined 9–0 over two shutout wins on Boston College’s home turf. Northeastern already carried a five-point lead in the standings over BC — with two games in hand at that.

The Huskies’ dominance of the rivalry series continued into round three. The Eagles had no answer for the home team, falling 3–0 to Northeastern as the Huskies capped off a statement regular season sweep of Boston College.

“The goals didn’t come as easily as Friday,” head coach Dave Flint said. “It was a tough game. I like how we ground it out and battled for three periods.”

It took less than two minutes for Northeastern (17–3–1, 14–2–0 WHEA) to jump out in front. Matti Hartman took the puck into the slot on a counterattack and fired a wrister over the shoulder of Boston College (11–9–2, 10–7–1 WHEA) goaltender Kelly Pickreign for her fifth goal and 10th point of the season.

The Eagles had plenty of chances to respond in the first. The Huskies were called for three penalties, but stifled Boston College’s ensuing power plays. Shifting bodies in shooting lanes and constantly clearing pucks, they held the Eagles to three shots on net on those opportunities.

Northeastern killed off a fourth consecutive penalty halfway through the second frame before the whistles started blowing the other way. Boston College was called for four penalties over the final 11 minutes of the period, but Northeastern failed to convert. A defensive lapse even allowed the Eagles a clean shorthanded breakaway, but goaltender Aerin Frankel stonewalled Delaney Belinskas on the shot to bail out the Huskies.

The final penalty of the second period bled 17 seconds over to the third. Northeastern needed just 10 of those seconds to double their lead. Alina Mueller skated to the left side of the zone after winning the faceoff at center ice and received a pass from Skylar Fontaine. The Swiss sensation then did what she does best, threading the needle through three Boston College defensemen to find an open Katy Knoll on the weak side. The freshman tucked home her sixth goal of the season, extending the Huskies’ lead to 2–0.

After Boston College was called for yet another penalty three minutes later, Northeastern went on the power play again. Just like the one before it, this one ended with a puck in the back of the Eagles’ net. This time the culprit was Fontaine, who slotted home her ninth tally of the season off a feed from Chloe Aurard to put the game out of reach at 3–0. The Huskies held course the rest of the way, killing off one last penalty for good measure as time ran out.

The story of the game was the Northeastern penalty kill, which was a perfect five-for-five. The Huskies have allowed just five goals all season on the penalty kill in 64 opponent opportunities (7.8 percent).

Fontaine, a key part of the four-on-five, lit up when asked about the PK unit’s performance: “It makes us really proud. We put a lot of work in in practice for PKs, so it’s great to see it turn out on the ice.”

“Our PK forecheck is really good; they execute it to a tee every time,” said Flint. “We apply pressure when we need to apply pressure, and it’s tough for teams to get anything going against us. We’ve got kids out there willing to block shots, and your best penalty killer needs to be your goalie — and [Frankel’s] a pretty good penalty killer.”

Frankel added, “I can confidently say the entire year our penalty kill has been really strong, so that’s really nice to see and it’s helpful to our game.”

Frankel’s play against the Eagles this season has been historically dominant. No team has ever shut out BC three times in one season, and Frankel has blanked the Eagles more times this season than every other NCAA goalie in the last five years combined. She followed up her 26-save performance on Friday with 25 saves on Sunday, and recorded her sixth shutout of the season.

“I think it’s really big for the program in general,” Frankel said of the team’s dominance over BC. “Over the past decade it’s always been a really intense rivalry, but I think over the past couple years we’ve had the upper hand on them . . . I think it says a lot about how far this program’s come and I’m really proud of this team.”

Northeastern resumes play on Friday when Hockey East foe UConn visits Matthews Arena for a 6 PM matchup.

Women’s Hockey Smashes Holy Cross for Third Straight Time, Moves into First Place in Hockey East

By Catherine Morrison

Photo by Sarah Olender

Wednesday night’s tilt was one of extremes. Northeastern looked to grab the top spot in Hockey East, while Holy Cross was just barely holding off Merrimack to stay out of last place. The contest came a week after the teams’ last meeting, when Northeastern notched their biggest win in 20 years.

Tonight’s first period looked very different from the last game, with Holy Cross staving off Northeastern’s superior offense for the first 15 minutes. But it could only last so long before Northeastern seized control. Codie Cross skated around the goal, knocked the puck off a defender’s stick, and watched her first goal of the season skid in. It was Northeastern’s 24th first-period goal on the year.

The Huskies kept their momentum going, and a minute later Tessa Ward fired at Crusader goalie Julia Pelletier. Pelletier blocked the attempt, but Northeastern’s Peyton Anderson was there to clean up the rebound shot that became Northeastern’s second goal. The play was reviewed to determine whether Anderson had kicked the goal in, but the footage confirmed that the puck hit her leg, so the call stood.

With thirty seconds left in the period, Northeastern got another rebound goal when Anderson shot from just in front of the blue line. Again Pelletier rejected the shot, but Chloe Aurard knocked it in for her 12th goal of the season and Northeastern’s third in four minutes. On the play, Cross logged the first of her four assists on the night.

Holy Cross made a last-ditch attempt to get on the board with Bailey Bennet shot, but Aerin Frankel made a midair block. When Bennet skated away she was knocked down by Megan Carter, starting a Holy Cross power play that would continue into the second period.

Holy Cross couldn’t convert on the power play, and when Frankel leg-blocked another Bennet shot a few minutes later, any momentum the Crusaders has built on the power play finally evaporated. It didn’t take long for Northeastern to continue their goalfest, and Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week Katy Knoll got her chance when Pelletier blocked a shot by Matti Hartman. The puck went careening towards Knoll, who quickly slammed the puck in off the rebound.

Pelletier made a great save against Alina Mueller, but was stymied by Hartman, who received the puck from Jess Schryver, faked Pelletier out, and easily knocked the puck in for the fifth goal of the game. Northeastern dominated the second period, with 21 shots on goal to Holy Cross’s nine.

Five minutes into the third, it looked like yet another Husky was going to add a goal when Skylar Fontaine made a great shot at the goal, but it was slightly off and caromed off the pipe. Kate Holmes — who would have received an assist had Fontaine’s shot found the back of the net — decided that assisting Mia Brown was just as good. The resulting goal looked effortless.

With just under eight minutes left and the game comfortably in hand, Northeastern head coach Dave Flint pulled Frankel in favor of freshman Alexa Matses. It was Matses’ first collegiate appearance and, although she looked green, she held down the fort. With just seconds left to play, Mueller sped towards the goal and slid the puck in behind Pelletier, with Cross earning her fourth assist and fifth point. The game ended with a 7–0 Husky win.

Holy Cross looked a bit tighter on defense compared with last week’s 11–0 drubbing at Northeastern’s hands. Pelletier made some great saves, but without sufficient backup from her teammates she didn’t stand a chance against the onslaught of Husky rebound goals. Northeastern scored multiple goals in every period, with seven total goals from seven different players.

The win earned Northeastern a season sweep over Holy Cross. This was to be expected given Northeastern’s unanimous first-place finish — and Holy Cross’s last-place finish — in the Hockey East preseason poll. But the 24–0 combined scoring margin was impressive even for this matchup.

Northeastern improved to 14–2 (11–2 HEAW) and leapfrogged Boston College for first place in the Hockey East standings. On the cusp of the season’s halfway point, they are ranked third in the nation.

The Huskies have a whopping 25 days off before their next tilt against Vermont on December 30th.

Women’s Hockey Wins Seventh in a Row

Photo by Sarah Olender

By Catherine Morrison

Before puck drop Saturday afternoon against Maine, the women’s hockey team celebrated head coach Dave Flint, who recently passed Don MacLeod to become the winningest coach in program history. The team’s stellar play this season has put Flint’s win total up to 213.

“I’m really grateful for all the great kids I’ve worked with,” Flint said. “And all the athletes I’ve coached.

About two hours after the pregame ceremony, Flint had his 214th.

Northeastern stayed in controlled the first period, tripling Maine’s shot total. But things looked dicey 11 minutes in when Maine crowded the goal and fired three back-to-back shots, but they couldn’t get past the incredible Aerin Frankel.

Maine’s goaltender, Carly Jackson, also held down the fort for the Black Bears with some incredible saves. However, eventually one shot had to get through, and that chance came when Northeastern’s Alina Mueller came around from the back of the goal and passed to Skylar Fontaine, who bounced the puck over the goalie to get one on the board.

Chloe Aurard also received an assist. Both Mueller and Aurard tried to add goals of their own, and came close, but Mueller’s shot hit the pipe and Aurard’s was blocked by Jackson.

The second period started with a great glove save by Frankel when Tereza Vanisova tried to shoot it in. Northeastern struggled to keep control of the puck, shooting nine fewer shots on goal than they had in the first. With just under ten minutes left, Maine’s Ali Beltz broke away after Ida Kuoppala passed the puck to her and streaked down the rink. Beltz dished to Celine Tedenby who was standing next to the goalpost, and Tedenby knocked it in.

Frankel looked visibly disappointed after the goal, shaking her head. Five minutes left, Northeastern had a chance to break the tie when Vanisova was called for roughing, but the Huskies couldn’t convert on the power play.

Four minutes into the third period, Northeastern’s Brooke Hobson was called for holding, starting a power play for Maine. The five-on-three didn’t last long, as thirty seconds later Maine’s Amalie Anderson was penalized for roughing. Northeastern couldn’t capitalize on their incoming power play either after Mueller was sent to the penalty box for interference. Maine’s Ebba Strandberg tried for a penalty goal, but Frankel caught it with her glove.

With nine minutes left in the game, Hobson broke away and shot from the blue line. Jackson had blocked the shot, but Knoll was there to hit the puck in, giving Northeastern a one-goal lead.

When asked about the goal after the game, Knoll replied “I was able to jam in a loose puck in front of the net . . . thankfully it was still loose in front of the crease and I was able to jam it in.”

Maine almost took it back when Maine’s Ally Johnson slid into Frankel, pushing the entire goal back, but Frankel batted the puck away. Johnson received a penalty for goaltender interference, Maine couldn’t tie the game on the penalty kill, and the game ended with a 2–1 Huskies’ win.

Northeastern sits in second place in the Hockey East standings; the only team ahead of them is Boston College, which has played three more conference games than the Huskies have. It was the second time this season that Northeastern (12–1, 9–1 HEAW) has beat Maine (5–6–2, 3–5–1 HEAW). The Huskies will look to extend their winning streak to eight games tomorrow afternoon when the two teams square off for the third and final time this season.

Women’s Hockey Topples No. 6 BC

Photo by Sarah Olender

By Catherine Morrison

No. 4 Northeastern faced its biggest opponent yet Tuesday night when they visited No. 6 Boston College. Northeastern was coming off of a win against New Hampshire, BC off a win over Boston University. The two rivals battled, but Northeastern came on top 3-0.

The first period started slow, but with 13:12 left in the first period, NU’s Matti Hartman gained control of the puck and dished to Chloe Aurard, who sent it to Alina Mueller. Mueller raced down the ice and shot into the left side of the goal to put the Huskies on the board.

A few minutes later, another Mueller attempt missed wide. BC’s Erin Connolly charged after Mueller, lost her balance, and slid ribs-first into the goalpost; she was fine after a few moments on the ice.

Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel held strong the whole game, saving 31 shots. With 4:30 remaining in the first, the lost her glove and stick and still held the Eagles at bay. Shortly after, she stretched out onto the ice to deflect a shot from BC’s Kelly Browne.

The second period was a puck-control battle devoid of power plays. BC edged Northeastern with a 14–10 shots-on-goal margin, but they couldn’t beat Frankel. When Lindsay Agnew sent an airborne shot toward the goal, Frankel caught it. Hadley Hartmetz and Savannah Norcross tried to fire one by her; Frankel stopped them both with glove saves. The only time BC came close to scoring was a Hannah Bilka shot off the pipe.

After ten minutes of back and forth in the third, Northeastern regained their momentum. Aurard slid the puck across the goal to Skylar Fontaine, who cleaned it up.

After Fontaine just missed a second goal a minute later, BC’s Cayla Barnes and NU’s Jess Schryver collided near the wall. Barnes remained on the ice and ended up exiting the game.

With five minutes left, Aurard joined the scoring when Mueller passed to her on the power play.

After the game, Northeastern coach Dave Flint remarked that BC was Northeastern’s biggest test so far this season. Chloe Aurard agreed, saying it felt good to beat one of their biggest rivals.

The win moved the Huskies to 11–1 (8–1 HEAW) and dropped the Eagles to 10–2–1 (9–2–1 HEAW). Northeastern looks to keep their six-game winning streak going on Saturday against the Maine Black Bears.

Women’s Hockey Thrashes Holy Cross

Photo by Sarah Olender

By Matt Neiser

Fresh off a two-game sweep of Boston University last weekend, the No. 4 Northeastern women’s hockey team took on the winless Holy Cross Crusaders at Matthews Arena on Friday afternoon. The Huskies dominated throughout the game, generating their highest goal differential of the season in a 6–0 win.

Sophomore star Alina Mueller got the party started for Northeastern (8–1–0, 5–1–0)  just under halfway through the first period, rifling a one-timer top shelf off of a perfect feed from Chloe Aurard behind the net. Four and a half minutes later, junior Skylar Fontaine doubled the Huskies’ lead on the power play with a ripper from the point. Holy Cross (0–9–3, 0–6–0) goaltender Jada Brenon was screened on the play by her own teammate, never saw it coming, and let the puck fly right by into the net.

Photo by Sarah Olender

It was more of the same for the Huskies in the second period, as a Jess Schryver shot leaked by Brenon early in the period before Aurard tallied her team-leading sixth goal of the season late in the frame. Aurard’s initial attempt was saved, but the puck snuck through the legs of the goaltender and the sophomore tucked home the second effort.

After scoring her first goal of the season the game before against BU, junior Tessa Ward continued her success in front of net with a pair of third-period goals. The multi-goal game was the first of Ward’s career, earning her the first star of the game. Ward’s third-period pair capped off a successful game for the Huskies as they put six by the Crusaders in the shutout win.

Photo by Sarah Olender

Mueller added two assists to her first-period goal, marking her fourth-three point game through nine contests this season. The Winterthur, Switzerland native leads the team in points and assists at 19 and 14, respectively.

The shutout was Husky netminder Aerin Frankel’s third goose egg of the season, pumping her save percentage to a whopping .959 and dropping her goals against average to a measly 0.90. Frankel is putting together another stellar season for the Huskies, backstopping them to the 8–1–0 record they currently hold.

Photo by Sarah Olender

After Holy Cross snapped the Huskies’ 11-game unbeaten streak last season with a 5–3 victory (their only win of the year), this game probably meant a little extra to the home team. They showed no sign of weakness this time around, outshooting the Crusaders 55–16.

Northeastern’s next game is Friday against New Hampshire at Matthews Arena. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 PM.

Women’s Hockey Raises Banners, Knocks Off New Hampshire

Image Credit: nuhuskies.com

By Catherine Morrison

BOSTON — Before the puck dropped at Matthews Arena on Sunday afternoon, Northeastern women’s hockey saw the fruits of last year’s labor raised to the rafters of the century-old building. Updated banners reflecting last season’s Hockey East regular season and playoff titles now hang above the ice.

Then this year’s team showed why they might be even better than last year’s, topping the New Hampshire Wildcats 4–1 in their home opener. The Huskies have won their first five games for the first time since 2000–01.

Northeastern spent more than five of the first 20 minutes on the power play. Despite some excellent passes and shots from sophomore forward Alina Mueller — one of which clanged off the pipe — the Huskies failed to convert. Nine first-period saves by Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel — including five in the first five minutes — kept the game scoreless.

Northeastern defender Skylar Fontaine got aggressive in the second. After two blocked attempts and two misses, she broke the tie with seven minutes left in the period.

The Huskies meshed well throughout, particularly evidenced when a penalty against UNH gave the Huskies 73 second of extra attacker time. The Huskies held the puck throughout the penalty.

Frankel continued to amaze, even getting bonus help from her teammates. When Frankel lost her stick during a UNH power play, defender Mia Brown returned it to her just in time for Frankel to notch an incredible save. On another play, senior defender Codie Cross helped Frankel dismiss an airborne attempt.

In the waning seconds of the second period, the Huskies found themselves short-handed after defender Brooke Hobson was called for tripping. Undeterred, sophomore Chloe Aurard netted a nifty turnaround goal.

Aurard wasn’t done. Seven minutes later, she forced home her second goal of the afternoon and fifth on the year.

With three minutes left in the game, UNH pulled goalie Ava Boutilier in the hope of breaking the shutout. The gamble succeeded, as Nicole Dunbar netted the Wildcats’ first goal of the game. But less than two minutes later, Northeastern’s Veronika Petty negated it with an empty net goal to put the contest out of reach.

The Huskies will look to stay undefeated at Providence on Friday at 6 PM.

Women’s Hockey Opens Conference Play with 6–1 Romp over Maine

Image Credit: nuhuskies.com

By Matt Neiser

The No. 3 Northeastern women’s hockey team opened Hockey East play on Friday night with a matchup against the Maine Black Bears in Orono, Maine. Continuing their impressive undefeated start to the 2019–20 campaign, the Huskies rolled over the Black Bears with a convincing 6–1 victory at Harold Alfond Sports Arena.

As has become customary this season, the Huskies (4–0–0, 1–0–0 HE) used a first-period flurry to claim an early advantage. Freshman Jess Schryver opened her collegiate account just over halfway through the period to give the Huskies a 1–0 lead, and senior Matti Hartman doubled that lead 13 seconds later. Sophomore Chloe Aurard made it three a couple minutes after that. This is the third time already this season that head coach Dave Flint’s squad has scored at least three goals in the first period. Not too shabby.

That dominance continued into the second period, when the game was well and truly put out of Maine’s reach. Sophomore Mia Brown, who scored a last-minute, game-winning goal against Syracuse the weekend before, forced a turnover in the Maine zone, got the puck back, and rifled it into the top-right corner of the net. 4–0 Northeastern.

Sophomore phenom Alina Mueller, already with two assists on the night, decided she might as well get in on the scoring with 8:05 left in the period. She chased Maine goaltender Loryn Porter from the game with a five-hole goal. 5–0 Northeastern.

Taking advantage of a power play partway through the final period, Mueller added her second goal of the night on a breakaway to conclude the Huskies’ scoring on the night. Maine got one back when Tereza Vanisova got behind the Northeastern defense and fooled goaltender Aerin Frankel with a slick deke, but it too little, too late for the Black Bears (2–2–1, 0–1–0 HE). The game ended at 6-1.

What more can you say about Mueller at this point? Through four games, the reigning Hockey East Player of the Week has netted three four-point games. Kendall Coyne, the only Northeastern player to win the Patty Kazmaier Award as the best player in women’s college hockey, had just eight points through four games the season she won the award. If she continues this elite level of play, Mueller — who was a top-10 candidate last year — will be in the conversation at season’s end.

Also impressing were Aurard, who tallied two assists and a goal, and senior captain Paige Capistran, who notched two assists of her own. Aurard now has seven points on three goals and four assists, second on the team behind Mueller in each category. 

Frankel was stellar in net once again, saving 24 of 25 shots. The Huskies’ chief netminder now has a staggering .944 save percentage on the season to go along with a 1.28 GAA.

Northeastern will make the trek back to Boston for Sunday’s home opener against New Hampshire (3–1–2, 2–0–1 HE). Two updated banners recognizing the team’s Hockey East regular season and playoff titles will be raised to the rafters. Puck drop is scheduled for 3 PM at Matthews Arena.

Northeastern Women’s Hockey Wins Hockey East Preseason Coaches’ Poll, Ranked 4th in National Poll

Image credit: nuhuskies.com

By Christian Skroce

Boston, MA – After winning the Women’s Hockey East title last season, Northeastern was unanimously chosen to top the standings once again in the preseason HEAW coaches’ poll. The Huskies received nine first place votes (Northeastern voted for Boston University, as coaches cannot vote for their own team), good for 81 points in the poll.

BU finished second (71 points), followed by Boston College (65), Providence (56), New Hampshire (42), UConn (41), Merrimack (30), Maine (29), Vermont (25), and Holy Cross (9).

The team also was ranked fourth in the first regular season national poll. The ranking matches Northeastern’s pre-NCAA Tournament ranking from last year and puts the team in good position to reach the top three. Expectations are high for the Huskies, but they have the talent and coaching to pull off some key wins. The team has thrived using an underdog mentality, but they will be tested as the perceived top dog as they try for their third straight Hockey East championship.

Northeastern has undergone a significant youth movement over the past few years. The team consists of 16 underclassmen, many of whom have already experienced a conference win. Alina Mueller, a Patty Kaizmaier top-10 finalist last year, will look to lead the young Huskies this season. The talented sophomore forward finished with 21 goals and 30 assists last year, becoming the second NU rookie to score over 50 points in a season. Joining Mueller up front is fellow sophomore Chloe Aurard, who finished last season with 31 points of her own.

Backing up the Husky forwards will be the team’s talented defenders, led by the unmatched duo of Skylar Fontaine and Brooke Hobson. The juniors’ unique combination of speed and skill that allows them to defend well and provide extra ammunition for the Husky attack. Behind them is junior goalie Aerin Frankel, who broke out last season with a 1.81 goals against average and a .932 save percentage. Frankel turned in several clutch performances for the team last season, winning Hockey East Goalie of the Year and Hockey East Tournament MVP.

The team will kick off its season on Friday, October 4, when they head to Schenectady, NY for a date with Union College.