by Joe Barbito

PROVIDENCE, RI – For the second time in as many years, Northeastern won the Women’s Hockey East Championship, defeating Boston College 3-2 in overtime.

A controversial conclusion of the third period ended with senior defender Kali Flanagan scoring an equalizer with 4.8 seconds remaining to tie the game up. In the extra frame, senior forward Kasidy Anderson finished the storybook ending by netting the game-winning goal on a breakaway. Sophomore goaltender Aerin Frankel won her second WHEA Tournament MVP award.

The bitter rivalry between Boston College and Northeastern entered its fifth installment of the season when the two teams squared off in Schneider Arena on Sunday afternoon. With both teams having already secured NCAA Tournament berths, this game was solely about bringing home the coveted Joe Bertagna trophy.

Sophomore defender Skyler Fontaine had one of the best games of any Northeastern skater, tallying two assists as well as two shots on net and generating a number of other chances. Her first assist came on the opening goal of the game; Fontaine entered the BC zone as a penalty to senior defender Megan Keller was expiring. She skated to the left of the crease and took a shot that ricocheted off a few defenders before landing in front of junior forward Andrea Renner. At 17:14 in the first, Renner, who had as complete a two-way game as anyone, ripped a wrister past freshman goaltender Maddy McArthur to put the Huskies up 1-0.

The second period was all Boston College, as the Eagles piled on 11 shots to Northeastern’s five. Two of those came from sophomore forward Daryl Watts who was a part of multiple odd-skater rushes in the middle frame. Watts earned the primary assist on the first Eagle goal of the afternoon; she created a two-on-one with junior forward Caitrin Lonergan, skated to the left hash marks and dished a pass to Lonergan. The junior tapped it past Frankel and the game was tied at the 2:31 mark of the second.

Neither team would score again until 14:53 into the third. Freshman forward Alina Mueller wristed a shot from the slot that pinballed past McArthur. Mueller was named to the All-Tournament team alongside teammates Fontaine and Frankel.

Mueller’s goal put Northeastern up 2-1, and it had appeared the Huskies tacked on an insurance goal with around 50 seconds left in regulation. McArthur had been pulled for an extra skater and sophomore defender Brooke Hobson lobbed a soft shot into the back of the net. The officials convened and rule that Anderson was across the blue line before Hobson took her shot from the neutral zone and the goal was disallowed.

Northeastern carried the 2-1 lead down to the wire when Anderson rifled a puck out of her zone to relieve the pressure BC was putting on the Huskies. Keller kicked it into fifth gear and darted back to her own goal line and seemed to have crossed the hash marks somewhere around the 7.6 second mark.

Head Coach Katie Crowley petitioned the referees to review the amount of time left on the clock. She claimed there was 7.8 seconds left, the clock had been reset to 7.4, and no one was entirely positive what the end time would be when all was said and done. When the clock was finally reset and play was about to resume, it appeared coach Crowley threw a notebook onto the ice in the neutral zone. The Eagles, who had six skaters on, cleanly won the offensive zone draw back to Flanagan who beat Frankel cleanly to tie the game.

The officials reviewed the goal, and according to Northeastern head coach Dave Flint, did not disclose what they were reviewing, but signaled good goal with 4.8 seconds left in regulation.

Both teams headed back to the locker rooms, Boston College obviously buzzing after their sudden turn of fate. According to Anderson, junior defender Paige Capistran was the one who stepped up and told the team to put the goal behind them and treat it like a new game.

Hobson nearly ended it minutes into overtime with a backhand feed that hit the crossbar. Boston College nearly closed things out when they forced Frankel out of position and had a look at a wide open net. Frankel, playing from her stomach with a skater in front of her, laid out and gloved what looked like a shot destined for the twine.

In true storybook fashion, Kasidy Anderson found herself the recipient of a misplay by freshman defender Cayla Barnes. Anderson retrieved the puck, skated up the right wing, fighting off a BC backchecker, cut to the front of the net, and slid the game-winning goal past McArthur to give Northeastern their second conference tournament championship.

The Huskies will be heading to the NCAA tournament this Saturday. Their opponent is to be determined, but in all likelihood the game will be held at Historic Matthews Arena. It is entirely possible Northeastern will play Boston College again, but they could also face ECAC opponents Clarkson or Cornell.

WRBB will have complete coverage of Saturday’s NCAA contest and will provide an update as soon as the opponent has been determined.

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