Story by Catherine Morrison
Photos by Mike Puzzanghera
BOSTON — Northeastern women’s hockey’s Friday afternoon game against the Merrimack Warriors was destined to be epic. The Warriors were sitting dead last in Hockey East; meanwhile the Huskies were riding high as the fourth-ranked team in the country. They were also within spitting distance of the conference’s top spot, despite having played fewer games than their neighbors.
Bucking their recent tradition of using the first period to feel out their opponents, the Huskies started strong, dominating the puck and staying in front of Merrimack’s net. Warrior netminder Emma Gorski was put to work early, and it was only a matter of time before the Huskies made one. Just under ten minutes in, Katie Holmes started the scoring, capitalizing off a rebound and slamming the puck in to put the score at 1–0.
Not even one minute later Chloé Aurard dished to Maureen Murphy, who notched her second goal of the season.
Gorski held it down for the rest of the period, making some great saves as the bright spot on an otherwise dismal team. Merrimack tried to put as many bodies as they could in front of the net to block the Huskies, who outshot the Warriors fifteen to three in the opening 20 minutes.
Gorski held her own in the beginning of the second, making some great glove saves against Molly Griffin and Brooke Hobson. Veronika Pettey looked like she was going to get the scoring going again when she dove in front of the net and shot, but Gorski couldn’t be bested.
Merrimack looked like they were going to get their first real shot at scoring when Hosbon was called for slashing, giving Merrimack their first power play. However, Northeastern’s elite penalty kill put the pressure on the Warriors, giving Murphy the chance she needed to breakaway and score her second goal of the game shorthanded and unassisted.
The rest of the period continued much the same, with Northeastern controlling the puck only to come up short against Gorski. The only blip happened when Merrimack’s Hannah Corneliusen made a great shot, but was blocked by the indomitable Aerin Frankel. It was Frankel’s third consecutive shutout, her sixth of the season, and her 25th as a Husky. After posting a 315-minute shutout streak last year, she’s working on a 200-minute one now.
The third period started with Murphy on the lookout for a hat trick in only her third game with Northeastern. Four minutes in, it looked like she was going to get her chance when Merrimack’s Kiki Roust was called for cross checking. Northeastern played aggressively, but couldn’t capitalize. It looked like Murphy’s hat trick aspirations were slipping away, but one second after the power play ended, she grabbed a rebound and slid the puck in for the team’s first hat trick of the season.
The fun didn’t stop there, when only four minutes later Katy Knoll broke away and skated circles around Merrimack in order to shoot the fifth goal of the game unassisted.
Although Northeastern seemed hungry for a sixth goal, Merrimack dug their heels in to support Gorski and avoid a complete blowout, holding Northeastern scoreless for the rest of the game. The 5–0 win, the Huskies’ sixth in a row, moved them to 10–1–1 and pushed them above Boston College for the top spot in Hockey East. The Warriors remain mired in last place.
The teams will rematch tomorrow in North Andover, with puck drop coming at 3 PM Eastern. Mike Puzzanghera and Sarah Olender will be on the call for WRBB, with coverage commencing a few minutes before gametime.