Women’s Hockey Advances to Hockey East Final

By Jack Sinclair

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.

Northeastern 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.

As a 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.

Maine burst 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.

The Black 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. 

The 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.

This 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.

It took 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.

The Huskies sealed their fourth straight Hockey East Championship appearance and will fight Sunday afternoon for their third straight title.

Men’s Hockey Finishes Sweep Over Maine

By Matthew Cunha

Photo by Sarah Olender

Northeastern needed a comeback after entering the third period down 2–1, but goals from Neil Shea and Zach Solow allowed them to fend off Maine Saturday night at Matthews Arena. The 3–2 win gave the Huskies a weekend sweep over Maine; the women’s team beat Maine earlier in the day and will face them again tomorrow.

“It wasn’t our greatest game, and I didn’t think our execution was great,” said Northeastern head coach Jim Madigan. “But going into the third we knew we could play one good third period and win the game and that speaks to character.”

For a while, Northeastern seemed to be in full control. For more than half the game, Jayden Struble’s first collegiate goal kept them in front.

With 3:33 to go in the second period, that all changed. Mitch Fossier, who led Maine in scoring last year and captains this year’s squad, wheeled around the offensive zone and fired a last-ditch shot at Huskies goalie Craig Pantano. With players obscuring Pantano’s view, the shot slide through to tie the game at one.

About 70 seconds later, an Aidan McDonough hooking penalty gave the Black Bears a power play. Just 14 seconds after that, Pantano couldn’t corral the rebound off a Fossier shot, and Maine’s Adam Dawe capitalized to give the Black Bears a 2–1 lead. What had seemed like a sure Northeastern victory was slipping away.

But Northeastern responded. Four minutes into the third period, Neil Shea controlled the puck behind the Maine net and, despite the horrendous angle, threw the puck off the back of Maine goalie Jeremy Swayman and into the net, becoming the second Husky to score his first career goal.

“Freshman are finding their way through the season,” said Madigan. “All our freshmen are getting better. It’s nice for all our freshman just to get that first one. You remember that first goal; it’s part of your memory bank for the rest of your life.”

Northeastern got some chances on a Dawe penalty seven minutes into the period, but didn’t convert its doorstep chances.

With around six minutes remaining, Maine’s potent offensive duo of Fossier and Eduards Tralmaks had a chance to steal the game for Maine. Tralmaks led Fosser for a give and go; Fosser gave it back to Tralmaks who broke in alone as Struble was down on the ice. Tralmaks tried to deke it over to his backhand, but Pantano robbed Maine’s leading scorer.

“He’s been great all year,” said Madigan of Pantano. “He gives us a chance to win every single night. We expect it out of him. Craig bailed us out when we needed it and played really well.


With 4:13 remaining, a strong Northeastern attack bore fruit when senior defender Ryan Shea deked his way around several Maine players. Shea found fellow senior Zach Solow in front of the net, and Solow one-timed the shot past Swayman for his fourth goal of the season.

“We had a good offensive zone shift there,” said Solow. “It was a great individual effort by Shea. He beat his guy, I got lost and he put it right on my tape.”

Despite a Northeastern penalty for too many men on the ice, the Black Bears couldn’t answer. The game ended 3–2.

Northeastern outshot Maine 41–28, including 14–8 advantages in both the first and third periods. Pantano had 26 saves for Northeastern and Swayman had 38 for Maine.

Northeastern (8–4–2, 5–3–1 HEA)  has won their last three contests; Maine (7–5–2, 4–4–2 HEA) has lost their last two. The Huskies will head to Belfast, Northern Ireland for the Friendship Four. They’ll face New Hampshire on Friday and either Colgate or Princeton on Saturday.

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.

Men’s Hockey Bests Maine, 5–2

Photo by Sarah Olender

By Jonathan Golbert

The Northeastern Huskies got off to a blistering start Friday night, jumping to a two–zip lead less than six minutes into their tilt with the Maine Black Bears. 

Coach Jim Madigan’s forwards led the way for the Huskies (7–4–2, 4–3–1 HEA), who now sit in fifth place in the Hockey East standings, one point behind the Black Bears (7–4–3, 4–3–2) who are in a three-way tie for second.

The first two goals of the night, courtesy of sophomore sensation Tyler Madden, were followed up by a rebound strike from Maine forward Eduards Tralmaks 11 minutes in, leaving the Huskies with a one-goal lead heading into the first intermission.

In the second, the Huskies extended their advantage when forward Zach Solow rang a tipped shot off the crossbar before batting it out of the air past Black Bear netminder Jeremy Swayman.

Solow’s power play tally was followed by Madden’s third goal of the game. The Deerfield Beach, Fla. native took a feed from junior forward Grant Jozefek and used his quick hands to blast it past a shell-shocked Swayman.

“Obviously it’s awesome,” said Madden on scoring his first-ever Husky hat trick. “What’s important is that we came out of the game with two points and we’re going to try to get two more tomorrow.”

Ben Poisson got one back for the Black Bears on an odd-man rush, sniping one above the shoulder of a helpless Craig Pantano.

But when freshman Aidan McDonough capitalized on the man-advantage a minute into the third period, the game felt out of reach for Maine coach Red Gendron’s squad. Two costly penalties in the last 10 minutes of the game scuttled any chance of a dramatic Maine comeback. 

“We were not the best version of ourselves tonight,” said a frustrated Gendron after the game. “They played the type of game they succeed with, but that wasn’t the best we can do.” 

The Huskies netted a comfortable 5–2 win in front of an enthusiastic crowd, but won’t have much time to rest on their laurels. The two teams will battle again Saturday night. Matt Cunha and Adam Doucette will call the game from Matthews Arena, with coverage beginning at 6:45 EST.

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.

Hockey East Preview: Maine Black Bears

Last Season: 15–17–4 (11–9–4 HE, sixth place); Lost in HE quarterfinals 

Head Coach: Red Gendron (seventh season)

Coaches’ Poll Projected Finish: Eighth

Losses

  • G Rob McGovern 
  • D Sam Becker
  • D Brady Keeper
  • D Rob Michel
  • D Keith Muehlbauer
  • F Canon Pieper
  • F Brendan Robbins
  • F Daniel Perez
  • F Chase Pearson

Additions

  • G Matthew Thiessen
  • D Levi Kleiboer
  • D  J.D. Greenway
  • D Perry Winfree
  • D Adrien Bisson
  • F Ben Poisson
  • F Brady Gaudette
  • F Dawson Bruenski
  • F Remy Parker

By Matthew Cunha

In the last two years, Red Gendron’s Black Bears finished sixth after several seasons as Hockey East bottom-feeders. The improvement was largely due to goalie Jeremy Swayman, who made the All-Hockey East third team last season and posted a 2.78 GAA and .919 save percentage. Last season, the fourth-round Boston Bruins prospect often bailed out the Black Bears.

Big blows came this offseason with the departures of Chase Pearson and Brady Keeper to the pros. Pearson and Keeper finished second and third in scoring for the Black Bears, combining for 52 points. 

The good news for Maine is the return of senior Mitchell Fossier. Fossier led Maine in scoring for the second straight season with 36 points, good for seventh in Hockey East. Fossier was the clear-cut choice to captain the Black Bears this season. He will be assisted by seniors Ryan Smith and Tim Doherty (fourth in scoring last season) and junior Jack Quinlivan. 

The nine newcomers for the Black Bears are highlighted by junior J.D. Greenway, the 72nd pick in the 2016 draft (Toronto Maple Leafs) and the brother of Minnesota Wild’s Jordan Greenway. J.D. played two seasons at the University of Wisconsin (10 points in 46 career games) before losing playing time and deciding to play junior hockey. The 6’5” defensemen should add clarity, structure, steadiness, and a veteran presence to the Black Bears’ back end, though his experience at Wisconsin is a bit concerning.

Another addition Northeastern fans will notice is freshman Brady Gaudette, the brother of former Northeastern Husky and Hobey Baker winner Adam Gaudette. Brady comes to Maine after a year of playing junior hockey.

Bottom Line: Maine seems destined for the middle of the pack once again thanks to Swayman, who now has talented defenseman J.D. Greenway in front of him. Outside of Fossier, the Black Bears will have a hard time putting the puck in the net after the losses of Pearson and Kepper to the pros. If the freshmen can’t score the offense could go downhill fast, but Swayman is good enough to get this team back in sixth place with another first-round exit.