by Joe Barbito, Matt MacCormack and Justin Littman
BELFAST, Northern Ireland — The No. 3 Northeastern Huskies women’s hockey team defeated the No. 5 Clarkson Golden Knights 3-1 at SSE Arena Sunday, securing a huge win in the final segment of the Friendship Series. The win marked their first victory over the Golden Knights since 2013, and the Huskies’ fourth win against a top-five opponent this season.
Tied at one goal each going into the third period, freshman forward Alina Muller scored the game-winning goal and senior forward Kasidy Anderson (2 goals) tacked on an extra insurance tally to seal the deal.
“To beat a two-time national champion is going to set the tone for us,” a beaming Anderson said after the game.
“We have to play every game with that intensity.”
After the Huskies fell in a 2-0 hole in Saturday’s 3-3 tie with Clarkson, Huskies’ head coach Dave Flint emphasized a strong start for Sunday’s bout. The first goal of the game came just 6:46 into the first period, off the stick of Anderson. The Huskies won a faceoff in the offensive zone, and Anderson was in the perfect position to fire one past senior goaltender Kassidy Sauve to give the Huskies the early lead.
“In my pregame speech that was the first thing I touched on; we need to start faster than we did,” Flint said.
“We got all the rust knocked off let’s get at it right off the bat today.”
Senior forward Loren Gabel, who recorded a whopping 10 shots on goal, answered back at the 14:50 mark. Gabel received a pass from senior defender Josiane Pozzebon, and as Gabel skated down the left wing she ripped a shot top shelf past sophomore goaltender Aerin Frankel. It would be the only goal Frankel gave up, as she recorded 23 saves in total, including 10 in the third period.
Gabel was featured on a line with junior forward Michaela Pekzlova and sophomore forward Elizabeth Giguere, a strategy that paid dividends yesterday for Clarkson head coach Matt Desrosiers. The Northeastern defense and goaltending was up to the task today and was able to keep Clarkson off the board for the final 45 minutes.
Mueller scored her 13th of the season at the 7:19 mark of the third period; sophomore defenders Skylar Fontaine and Brooke Hobson skillfully moved the puck around the blue-line before Fontaine fed Mueller lower in the crease. Mueller was able to rip a shot past Sauve, which would put the Huskies up for good.
“It was more luck that it went in,” Mueller said.
“I was on the ice for too long and I was tired. I was open so I stayed there instead of going to change and I was like ‘if I get it, I will just shoot it’.
In the dying minutes of regulation, Anderson pulled out all the stops to confuse the Clarkson defense and Sauve. Skating from the slot to the left faceoff circle, she pivoted her body and faked a shot that left her with plenty of space to fire her second of the game past Sauve.
“2-1 game, it’s tight, [and Anderson] comes up with a big goal to make it 3-1 to give us a little breathing room,” Flint said of his senior captain.
“That’s what we need out of her.”
Flint called the experience of participating in the Friendships Series “life-changing.”
“It’s such a tremendous opportunity,” Flint said of the Belfast journey.
“The fact that we were chosen – we’re pretty lucky.”
Northeastern will be back in action next weekend when they face Boston College in a home-and-home set on Friday, January 11 and Saturday January 12. WRBB will have coverage of both games.