by Joe Barbito
BELFAST, Northern Ireland – The Northeastern Huskies and Clarkson Golden Knights skated to a 3-3 draw in the first contest of the first ever Friendship Series at SSE Arena. The game marked the first NCAA women’s ice hockey contest to be played outside of North America.
Facing a 2-0 deficit late in the second period, the Huskies (13-2-3) rattled off three goals in thirty five seconds to take a 3-2 lead, with sophomore defenseman Skylar Fontaine, senior forward Kasidy Anderson and freshman forward Mia Brown all scoring. Clarkson (14-4-2) equalized in the third period, and neither side could pot the decisive tally after a five minute overtime.
“I think the first seven minutes was a combination of knocking off the cobwebs, travel, and nerves from coming here and playing such a big game,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint.
“Second period we played really well and really got it going.”
The Huskies outshot Clarkson, 34-31. Sophomore goalie Aerin Frankel posted 31 saves in the while Clarkson senior Kassidy Sauve tallied 28.
Scoring opened up at 4:52 of the first period when senior forward Loren Gabel tipped home a shot from sophomore Elizabeth Giguere to earn her 15th goal of the season. Gabel and Giguere began the game on a line with senior forward Kelly Mariani, but as the evening progressed the two reunited with junior forward Michaela Pejzlova to reform one of the most formidable lines in the NCAA. Giguere would ultimately score another goal of her own at the 12:57 mark of the second period.
Making history in Belfast today as the first two women’s @NCAAIceHockey teams to play outside of North America!
Photo: William Cherry, Press Eye | #FriendshipSeries pic.twitter.com/1neLXZy5SC
— Northeastern Women’s Hockey (@GoNUwhockey) January 5, 2019
Fate finally turned around for the Huskies when Fontaine scored her third goal of the season. Fontaine’s goal was the product of some precise passing by both forwards and defense, earning both Matti Hartman and Brooke Hobson an assist a piece.
“I don’t think the goalie saw it because we had our screen,” Fontaine said.
“Our bench just got excited and was like ‘here we go’ and we just built off that.”
The goal came at 18:31 of the second period. Northeastern would score twice again in the next 35 seconds of play. Freshman forward Alina Mueller intercepted a Clarkson pass intended to clear the defensive zone, then quickly found Anderson crashing to the front of the net; Anderson tipped the puck past Sauve to even the score at two.
Brown found herself in a fortuitous position as well, as she skated into the middle of the slot when a rebound from a Tori Sullivan shot rolled right to her stick. Brown’s tally put the Huskies up 3-2 and the Huskies headed to the locker room 54 seconds later with the excitement from the scoring barrage still bubbling.
“When we got that first one that fired everybody up,” Flint said.
“We got the second one and the bench was going crazy. Then we got that third one and they were all jumping on each other so we had to bring them back down to earth a little bit and get them refocused.”
The three-time national champion Golden Knights would not go quietly into the night, and just 3:05 into the third period, Mariani tipped a slow rolling puck past Frankel to equalize the score. Clarkson would hold Northeastern to just five shots in the third period, and the score held at 3-3, forcing overtime.
There were five total shots on goal in the extra five minutes, four from Clarkson and one from Northeastern. Neither team was able to find the back of the net, and the game ended with the score even at three.
The Huskies will again battle the Golden Knights at 7 am ET Sunday (noon local time) at SSE Arena. WRBB’s crew will be on the call.
Matt MacCormack and Justin Littman contributed to this article.