Hockey East announced Wednesday that it intends to play a league season with all member schools participating, though it acknowledged the need for real-time scheduling changes in light of pandemic developments. The news was first reported by Jimmy Connelly.
The priority will be completing the league season, although teams can play other games if they can schedule them. The conference also intends to hold its annual tournament as usual, with eight teams playing across two weekends. Per Connelly, play is likely to begin in mid-to-late November or later, and will include as many as 30 league games.
For Northeastern, the biggest non-conference question is whether the 69th Annual Beanpot Tournament — typically the highlight of the season and by far the biggest draw among the student body — will be played in February, as it has been every year since 1955. If the Hockey East season is in full swing by then, the tournament stands an excellent chance of being played. But apart from shifts in the state of the pandemic, the wild card could be Harvard, which — unlike Northeastern, Boston University, and Boston College — does not play in Hockey East and has already suspended all sports until January 1.
On July 17, Northeastern announced the suspension of fall sports, encompassing soccer volleyball, field hockey, and cross country, with the hope that those sports could commence in the spring. Teams can practice in the meantime in accordance with Northeastern, NCAA, and public guidelines.
The conference said that schedule details, including competition specifics and a start date, will be released later. It acknowledged the need to develop multiple balanced schedule models for both men and women to accommodate interruptions. Exactly whether or when those interruptions might occur is anyone’s guess, though it’s worth noting that Massachusetts, where seven of the 11 Hockey East schools are located, has seen the rate of new cases rise and fall in recent weeks, though it has generally trended lower.
The league cited its geography as an asset in creating flexible competition schedules while mitigating non-essential travel. Per Connelly, this entails limiting travel to day trips to prevent overnight hotel stays. Only teams travelling to Orono, Maine and Burlington, Vermont — as well as the Maine and Vermont teams anytime they travel — will stay overnight.
The conference did not specify whether fans will be permitted to attend games, though the experiences of professional sports league around the globe indicate that the games will likely to closed to spectators. Hockey East’s professed commitment to athlete safety — whether through workout and resocialization protocols or an NCAA-guideline-compliant return to play — also makes fan presence unlikely.
Northeastern’s men’s and women’s hockey squads both have success to build on from last season. The men went 18–13–3 (11–12–1 HEA), and though they faltered somewhat down the stretch, they provided the year’s most electric moment when Jordan Harris sniped home a double-overtime goal to seal the Huskies’ third-straight Beanpot championship.
The women (32–4–2, 24–3–0 HEAW) also won a Beanpot title on a double-overtime goal, but it ultimately amounted to just one special moment in a campaign chock full of outright dominance. Behind the offensive powerhouse of Alina Mueller and Chloe Aurard — plus the scintillating goalkeeping of Aerin Frankel — the Huskies seldom stumbled, frequently handing out lopsided clobberings and going more than a month between losses. They will return all but three players from a team that breezed to its third-straight Hockey East Championship, spent much of the season ranked third in the nation and, poised for a serious run at a national championship before the season shut down.
— It was do or die time for Northeastern as they took a five-game losing streak
into their regular season finale against Boston University. And to no one’s
surprise, things were tense (and a little weird) from the very beginning.
The Huskies began the game on the penalty kill after backup goalie Curtis Frye was called for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. Frye lifted a cross-ice shot during warmups that struck a BU player, which caused the referees to review the “play” just before puck drop. Because of the penalty call, senior forward Grant Jozefek spent the first two minutes on the sin bin while BU started the game on the power play. Despite a less than ideal start, the Huskies responded well in the first period and easily killed off the penalty.
responded in a big way just six minutes after the penalty kill, as a
well-constructed power play goal gave them the early lead. The Huskies combined
excellent puck movement with great positioning as Aidan McDonough finished off
a pass from Grant Jozefek. Northeastern controlled play for the rest of the
period and headed into the first intermission with a one-goal advantage.
some nice Northeastern chances throughout the second period, BU controlled the
majority of play. The best chance for Northeastern came about 15 minutes into
the period, as Matt Filipe nearly found fellow forward Neil Shea on a
breakaway, though the pass trickled just wide of Shea’s stick.
Huskies held their lead after two periods despite a late-period scare. With
just 20 seconds left in the frame, BU forward Trevor Zegras sent a long-range
shot on Pantano, who had difficulty holding onto the puck. With both teams
fighting for the puck to the immediate right of Pantano, BU defenseman Cam
Crotty eventually redirected the puck into the net. However, it was determined
after a lengthy review that Crotty interfered with Pantano, causing the goal to
be waved off and allowing NU to escape the second frame with the 1–0 lead.
an admittedly sluggish second period, the Huskies found their grove once again
just 43 seconds into the third frame, as Matt Filipe finished a rebound off a
long-range drive from defenseman Ryan Shea.
Huskies’ momentum was short-lived, however. BU responded with their own goal just
three minutes later when senior forward Patrick Harper sent in a bullet from
the near face-off dot. Despite the goal light going off, play continued for the
next two minutes with the referees saying the shot had not gone in. A review of
the play determined what everyone already knew — the Husky lead was down to one.
their season on the line, Northeastern did what they do best: block shots and
clog shooting lanes. Despite some nice chances for BU, the Huskies maintained
their lead for the rest of regulation. Northeastern combined impressive defense
with timely offense, as the Huskies enjoyed several stretches of offensive zone
time to further drain the clock.
BU would not go quietly, however, as with just 1:44 left Northeastern was called for a tripping penalty, giving BU a man advantage for the rest of regulation. The Terriers turned it into a two-man advantage, playing the entire power play with goalie Sam Tucker on the bench. Despite the six-on-four Terrier advantage, Northeastern held its own defensively, as BU would have virtually no chances on the power play. Matt Filipe cleared the puck for the final time as the Husky bench celebrated the breaking of a five-game losing skid with an intense 2–1 victory over their crosstown rivals.
thought our kids played a gutty, tough, and determined game,” coach Jim Madigan
said. “We wanted to make sure that we earned our way into the playoffs and just
not backed into it and tonight’s win was that.”
Ryan Shea echoed his coach’s thoughts, saying, “We didn’t want to leave it up
to chance. We didn’t want to risk our season and watch them [UNH] at 7 o’clock
. . . We just wanted to get the job done ourselves.”
is a building we haven’t had much success in over the years,” Madigan said of
Agganis Arena. The Huskies avenged their 6–3 defeat at Agganis earlier this
year while playing in front of one of the Terriers’ largest crowds this season.
On Pantano’s performance, Madigan explained, “I thought he was really dialed in today. He was tracking pucks well and getting the puck out of the crease. I also thought our guys defended well, getting in front of shots and limiting BU’s opportunities.” Madigan said the team understood how dominant Boston University can be offensively, noting “With these guys [Patrick Harper, Trevor Zegras, Patrick Curry] you can just try to contain them and hope that they don’t get the opportunities where they can get going.”
win places Northeastern (18–13–3, 11–12–1 HEA) in seventh place in Hockey East
to finish the regular season and gives them a spot in the Hockey East
Tournament. Northeastern will have a quarterfinals series away at UMASS Amherst
next weekend, with the game times still to be announced. The Huskies are 1–2
against the Minutemen this season, with both losses coming on the road.
Northeastern will have its work cut out for them if they are going to truly
turn their season around, though this win gives them the confidence boost they
will need to have any chance.
Reminder: Northeastern will play
Connecticut in the Hockey East Championship game Sunday at 2 PM. Christian
Skroce and Dale Desantis will be on the call from Lawler Rink at Merrimack
College, with coverage beginning at 1:45 PM EST.
established themselves as the team to beat early in the season. They clinched
the number one seed at the end of January and have lost just four games all
season. The reward for their regular-season dominance was a first-round playoff
series against the eighth-seeded Vermont Catamounts, who they swept back to
Burlington last weekend.
result, they headed up to Lawler Rink in North Andover, MA, to play a neutral-ice
semifinal matchup against the University of Maine Black Bears. Maine’s journey
to the semifinal game was not as smooth as Northeastern’s, as they barely edged
Vermont out for the seventh seed, but their sweep of BU in an away series was
impressive. The Black Bears came to Lawler Rink riding the high of their sweep,
and this revealed itself early in the game.
out of the gates firing. They were flying up and down the rink, and drew an
early penalty. Less than a minute into their man advantage, Maine’s Ida Press slipped
the puck past Hockey East Goaltender of the Year Aerin Frankel.
Bears didn’t stop there, staying one step ahead of the Huskies by establishing
a strong 1–2–2 trap on defense. This slower pace cramped Northeastern’s usual
high-octane play style, and if not for the efforts of Frankel the score could
have easily gotten out of hand. Maine managed to draw another penalty towards
the end of the period, but the strength of Northeastern’s penalty kill was on
full display, as they held the puck in Maine’s end of the rink for the duration
of the penalty.
second period started, and Northeastern’s goal was clear. Establish their brand
of hockey and simply keep the puck away from the Black Bears. Maine was ready
for this, and jammed their bodies into the neutral zone, making it impossible
for the line of Alina Mueller, Chloe Aurard, and Jess Schryver to blitz their
way into the attacking zone on transition.
resulted in a hard-fought stalemate of a period, with both teams fighting along
the boards for possession. Northeastern managed to get some glimpses at the
Black Bears’ goal, with a few great chances coming for Mueller in particular. Maine
goaltender Carly Jackson used every square inch of her leg pads to keep the
puck out of the back of the net and made some incredible saves to preserve her
team’s lead going into the third period.
Whatever coach Dave Flint told the Huskies during the second intermission worked. Just over a minute of a power play carried over from the second period was all it took for Skylar Fontaine to send a rocket from just in front of the blue line into the back of the net.
This was the cue for the Huskies. They had exposed a weakness in Maine’s trap: they simply could not keep up with the Huskies. The Black Bears had spent a lot of the game holding onto the puck and working slowly from their end of the ice into the Huskies zone. This proved costly, as their fatigue was apparent early on in the third period.
only two minutes for the Huskies to pounce on the tiring Black Bears and go up
2–1. Swiss Sensation Alina Mueller found herself with miles of space in the
slot off a lovely feed from Skylar Fontaine. Mueller wasted no time, taking
only one touch of the puck before sliding it coolly into the bottom left corner
of the goal.
Maine, despite their early skid, managed to establish their brand of hockey once more, and began to work into the Huskies zone. The defense held fast, and the Huskies were more than happy to dump the puck back into the Maine zone, switch out for some fresh legs, allow Maine to work their way back to their end of the ice, rinse, and repeat. Maine got a few looks at the net, but Frankel was having a grand total of zero percent of the Black Bears’ nonsense, and coolly protected her net.
In the closing minute of the game, the Black Bears pulled their goaltender in a last-ditch effort to even up the score. Unlike the Beanpot final, there was no last-gasp goal. Fontaine forced a turnover in the neutral zone and sniped the empty net to ice the game for the Huskies. Fontaine has either scored or assisted on the Huskies’ last seven goals going back to last week’s doubleheader against Vermont.
Huskies sealed their fourth straight Hockey East Championship appearance and
will fight Sunday afternoon for their third straight title.
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for the Huskies. After
losing star sophomore forward Tyler Madden to injury, the Huskies dropped two
games against first-place Boston College, including their worst loss since
1992. After losing senior Grant Jozefek to injury in the second BC game, the
Huskies were swept by last-place Vermont.
The Huskies look to rebound with a home-and-home against
Boston University this weekend. Both games are critical, as the Huskies — who
sit in eighth place, one point ahead of New Hampshire — need to finish in the
top eight to make the Hockey East Tournament.
The Friday game begins at 7 PM, the Saturday game at 4 PM.
WRBB will call both games, with Matt Neiser and Adam Doucette on the Friday
game and Christian Skroce and Adam Doucette on the Saturday contest. Both
broadcasts will go live about 15 minutes before game time.
WRBB Sports caught up with head coach Jim Madigan and captain Ryan Shea at Northeastern’s Wednesday practice at Matthews Arena.
I saw in your
postgame press conferences that you were down to ten forwards. How is Jozefek
Jozefek is day-to-day and we’re hoping he can play on Friday. He skated yesterday, he skated today, he looks good. So he’s getting close. Madden’s getting close, but he probably won’t go on Friday.
How’s the morale of the team?
We’re not a fragile group. We’ve lost four in a row; we
haven’t lost four in a row all season. And Vermont was an emotional game for
them up there. It was their coach’s last weekend, their senior night, and they’d
been playing well. We’re not looking at it as “we just lost two games to the
last-place team.” They’re a good team. Every team in this league is a good
But I think when people see that we’ve lost four in a row and we lost to Vermont they think that it’s doom and gloom here. Certainly there are things we need to clean up and get better at, but we’ve had two real good practices here yesterday and today. We got back to some fundamentals and some basics yesterday and today and we’re excited about the opportunity to play on Friday. We still control our own destiny in terms of the playoffs. We’re a point ahead of New Hampshire for that eighth spot; we play BU here at home [which] is a very good team and is a rival for us. Expect our guys to be ready.
Was that the message
this week to the team, that there’s still a lot in front of you despite the way
things have gone the last couple games?
What happened the last two weekends is in the rearview
mirror. [We need to] learn from those situations, but it’s all about what’s in
front of us, the opportunity to make the playoffs, playing well this weekend,
focus in on Friday and be ready to play BU. We’ve played well at home all
And it’s BU. It’s going to be an emotional game. The last
time we played them was the Beanpot. So we know they’re going to be hungry.
They’re fighting for a playoff seeding more than a spot. We’re in a spot where
we can not just sneak into the playoffs, but if we play well this weekend we
could move up in the standings. So there’s a lot to play for.
You’ve talked a lot
in the last couple of weeks about the leadership of your veteran guys at a time
like this. What is it you’re expecting from them to push this team back to
where it can go?
To lead. To let their actions show on the ice. Make sure that — there’s going to be adversity as there is in every game — they get us through those tougher times in a game. Be a difference maker. I thought last weekend on the back end Ryan Shea tried to be a difference maker. Matty Filipe scored a big goal for us to get us going on that second night. We can play better when we score that first goal. Last time we played BU we were down 2–0 after one and came back.
Those guys need to step up and show the way for the younger
guys. Since the Lowell game they’ve been playoff-type games, so this is the
biggest game of the season because it’s the second-to-last game of the regular
Looking ahead to BU, what
have you seen from them since the last time you guys faced off, and what are
some strengths and weaknesses you’re looking forward to?
Their strengths are — and we’ve seen them a couple of times on video since we played them — they’re great in transition. They’re fast, they want to play fast, they want to score off the rush. You can’t turn pucks over in the neutral zone because [Trevor] Zegras and some of their forwards are just too good in transition that way.
And they jump up into the play. [David] Farrance is leading the league [and the nation] in scoring from the defender [position]. He’s up in the play a lot. So we’ve got to manage pucks, we’ve got to play in their zone, we’ve got to get pucks below the goal line and make them defend, and forecheck as much as we can.
So what do you do as
a senior right now? What are you trying to say to your teammates?
Everyone knows where we are right now. UNH is playing well —
obviously they’ve got a tough opponent in BC — but my message is if we play the
way we know how to play against BU — we beat them in the past and we played them
well even when we lost — but we just gotta get to the playoffs because once you
get to the playoffs it’s a whole new season.
Before I came in, when they won Hockey East the first time, they
had to beat Notre Dame and they had to beat all these top teams and they beat UMass
Lowell in the championship. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, being an underdog.
I think that’s honestly a positive for us, because it’s kind of gives us a chip
on our shoulder that we need right now that.
You mentioned you beat
them before; that was a pretty emotional ending. Any concerns that you know
they’ll be carrying into this weekend series?
Right now both teams are on losing streaks. They lost to
UConn, Merrimack, and BC and we got swept the last two weekends, but they’re going
to be pretty upset because of the Beanpot and especially how it ended with the
power play in the OT. But that’s in the past for us. If I was in their locker
room I’d be trying to take — not runs at people — but make sure you get an
extra bump in or an extra slash. They don’t like us and, honestly, we don’t
like them. So we I think we play two different types of styles, and I think if we
stick to ours we’ll come out on the good side of it.
Are you feeling the
sense of urgency from your teammates? Do they understand what they’re up
against this this weekend?
Yeah for sure. Everyone was a little down after Vermont. We gave them their first two wins in Hockey East. We kind of had the look on our face like “the season’s over” and it’s not even close to being over. I know the seniors definitely don’t want to be over, and I think once some of the younger guys see like the reception we have on Senior Night and all the families coming out and how important these four years were to us, I think we’ll step up our play right away after that. There’s no better night to start then Senior Night.
In the Vermont game
you came out in the third period and really tried to get people energized. How
do you think your on-ice leadership will factor in Friday and Saturday against
Just controlling our emotions. There’s going to be there’s
going to be a lot of talking and chirping back and forth between the teams. We
just got to stick to the way we play. We don’t need to worry about the refs, we
don’t need to worry about their coaching, their coaching style, their top
players. Every team’s got top players; it’s Division I hockey.
I think, especially on senior night, we’ve got to set an
example. There’s no room for error. We’ve got to have our best game every game no
matter if it’s two more games or we end up making it to the Hockey East Championship.
Our seniors, older guys, and younger guys — they’re not freshmen anymore — everyone
needs to have their best game. It’s like we’re playing the Beanpot championship
every night. You don’t want to make that mistake that ends up costing the season.
How have you guys
managed the workload and the fatigue given that you haven’t been at full
strength for a little while?
That hasn’t been bad. [If] we have a hard weekend where we
play a team that’s heavy and strong, we’ll have short practices, kind of more of
a rehab-type week. I think they do a good job with that.
During the game, you got to kind of manage it within
yourself. For me, it’s making sure you don’t take that extra-long shift that’s
going to affect your next one because I might be out there the shift after. And
same with a guy like Jordan Harris, and Solow, Filipe because Madden’s out and
someone has to fill that extra center spot right now.
But like I said earlier, it’s a chip on your shoulder once
Madden went down, everyone thought the world was over. We won a couple games
and obviously we’re in a little slump right now but hopefully we have Jozefek
back and Filipe’s already back, so that’s a positive.
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.”
season: 31–10–0 (18–6–0 HE, first place); lost
in HE semifinals to BC, lost NCAA National Championship to Minnesota Duluth
Coach: Greg Carvel (fourth season)
Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Second
On April 12th, 2019, Cale Makar stepped
onto the stage at Harborcenter in Buffalo to accept the Hobey Baker Award as
the nation’s top NCAA men’s hockey player. On April 13th, he stepped on the ice
to lead the charge for the Minutemen in the national championship against
Minnesota Duluth. And on April 14th, he stepped on to a flight bound for Game 3
of the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after signing an entry-level
Contract with the Colorado Avalanche. The player who took UMass hockey from the
conference basement to the national championship in just two years was gone.
Though Makar’s departure from Amherst was expected,
it still leaves a gaping hole in UMass’s defense. His accolades seem endless: fourth
pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Hobey Baker Winner, Hockey East Player of the Year,
First Team All-American. But most importantly, he was a leader on and off the
ice for a young, talented Massachusetts team.
The Minutemen have other departures to
contend with, too. Sophomore defenseman Mario Ferraro left school early to sign
with the San Jose Sharks, and seniors Jacob Pritchard, Brett Boeing, and Kurt
Keats also leave holes in the Minutemen’s lines. Pritchard’s contributions will
be sorely missed; he notched an exceptional 47 points last season, second only
to Makar’s mind-boggling 49.
Head Coach Greg Carvel brings a nine-player
freshman class to boost his roster, including New York Rangers’ third round
Pick Zac Jones. Jones is the star of this recruiting class: an offensive
defenseman who moves the puck well and fits perfectly into the UMass blue line.
He will be joined by a crop of USHL talent, plus goalie Alex Camarre and
defensemen Jaakko Haarti and Gianfranco Cassaro. Jones and forwards Reed
Lebster and Peyton Reeves have the best chances of starting on opening night
for the Minutemen.
Junior forwards Mitchell Chafee and John
Leonard have demonstrated an eye for goal and excellent passing vision, and
will be expected to step up their point production. Long Island native Bobby
Trivigno also looks to make his mark after a successful 28-point rookie season.
After a three-point performance against UNH in Game 1 of the Hockey East
Playoffs, Trivigno received high praise from Carvel, who said, “He’s probably our most important
player… He’s the best forward on our team. He’s outstanding.”
Sophomore Marc Del Gaizo played on the top
pair with Cale Makar last season and is expected to contribute from the blue
line again this year. He is a powerful skater with an excellent shot, comfortable
with the puck in both zones. With man-advantage mainstays Makar and Ferraro on
to the NHL, Del Gaizo will often be directing the Minutemen power play squad
from the point.
One of the more interesting storylines for Amherst will be identifying their top netminder. Both Matt Murray and Filip Lindberg are solid; Murray started the season as Carvel’s number one, but Lindberg took over the starting role come playoff time and was absolutely lights out. Lindberg posted a staggering 1.60 GAA and .934 SV% over 17 games for the Minutemen last year, but without two of his best defenders, he’ll have his work cut out for him.
Bottom Line: The loss of Makar is a crushing blow, but most of last year’s offensive core is returning for the 2019–20 season. With Del Gaizo set to step up and lead from the blue line and reinforcements coming in Zac Jones and others, they’ve hedged their bets to try to reload the defense. UMass will remain an offensive powerhouse, but with the departures of Makar and Ferraro, a weakened defense, and an underwhelming recruiting class, they might fall just short of the Hockey East regular season crown.
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).
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.
team will kick off its season on Friday, October 4, when they head to
Schenectady, NY for a date with Union College.