Story by Daisy Roberts
PROVIDENCE – Until now, the Northeastern women’s hockey team had not lost two games in a row since 2017. Following yesterday’s defeat to the BU Terriers, today Northeastern took a very tough loss to the Providence Friars, 3–0, and there truly aren’t many good things to say about the way the Huskies performed on the ice.
Off the bat, things seemed to be off to a good start. Within the first three minutes, a bodychecking call on Providence forward Lindsay Bochna granted Northeastern a power play, but the normally stellar special teams unit came up short. Sadly, this would remain the trend for the majority of the game. One of the three goals scored by the Friars was on a power play. Northeastern Head Coach Dave Flint commented, “Those are opportunities we had to capitalize on, and our special teams was an issue this weekend, it just isn’t where it needs to be. It’s a work in progress, and we might move some things around, some personnel around, try some different things, but overall, I thought [Providence] did a good job with their penalty kill.”
Coach Flint noted that the team’s practice on Tuesday will be dedicated to their special teams, hoping to improve on the productivity of that aspect of the Huskies’ gameplay that was so lackluster today.
One standout factor in Providence’s victory was the sophomore defensive duo of Brooke Becker and Claire Tyo. Becker had one goal on five shots, and Tyo had two assists of her own. The defensive powerhouses dominated on the ice, the chemistry between them incredibly prevalent. There didn’t seem to be an answer from the Huskies for those two, as they completely shut down any offensive push Northeastern tried to make.
For the first two periods, the Northeastern offense was incredibly stagnant; nobody was able to find any space within the smothering Providence defense. One key factor to any offense is a level of aggression close to the net, but this was completely absent from the Huskies today. Many passes were made in the slot, but there was never a player there to receive them.
“We’re not going to the net hard, we’re not competing around the net like we should be, we’re not hungry to score goals, and for us to be successful, that’s what we need to do,” Flint said.
As the third period came, the lines announced at the beginning of the game were completely abandoned, with senior Chloé Aurard taking the place of freshman phenom Skylar Irving alongside Maddie Mills and Maureen Murphy in the first line, one of many changes seen on the ice. It seemed as if these alterations were made out of desperation, as Flint remarked, “We talked about it after the second period, I said ‘Hey, what do you guys think about mixing things up, because we need to get something going.’ We just weren’t generating any offense, so we just wanted to get some different looks, try some people in different lines, and see if we could get something going.”
The changes did seem to work, as the Huskies found much more open space and got more shots off. However, the team was unable to capitalize on their efforts. It was too little, too late.
There was also a lack of defensive presence on the ice today, as normally stellar goalie Aerin Frankel, winner of last year’s Patty Kazmaier Memorial Award for the best player in NCAA Division 1 hockey, allowed three goals. This was a huge contrast to her save percentage of .965 and goals against average of .81 from last year’s season. However, not all of this was on Frankel, as there was a huge defensive miscommunication in the late second period, allowing Providence senior forward Ciara Barone open ice to get off a clean shot, which she skillfully slotted into the net on Frankel’s stick side; nothing much the star goalie could do about that. Regardless of who the blame should be on, Northeastern’s defensive scheme clearly needs some major tweaking.
Having gone 0-2 this weekend, there needs to be a lot of introspection for the Huskies. They seem to have gotten comfortable with their reputation as one of the best of the best, as Flint commented, “We need to realize that we’re not just going to show up to the rink and win hockey games because we had a good year last year.”
There’s a general air of ease and a lack of fight amongst the team. Hopefully these past two losses light a fire inside them, and we see the Northeastern Huskies fulfill the potential of the powerhouse we all know they can be.
The team will face Saint Anslem’s next on Wednesday at 7 p.m. They will continue their traveling stint by going up to Orono, Maine Saturday, and return back to Matthews Arena Sunday Oct. 23.