Story by Emma Sullivan
Photos by Sarah Olender
BOSTON – After two less than perfect periods for the Northeastern Huskies Saturday afternoon, the team was able to rebound in the third for a stronger performance over the Cornell University Big Red. While definitely not the Huskies best game of the year, they were able to show how resilient this group is and increase their unbeaten streak up to 14 games at Matthews Arena.
In the first period, Northeastern was able to maintain control of the puck for a substantial amount of time, but they were unable to get any shots toward the net. Cornell was constantly blocking shots in front of their own net and the Huskies were struggling to connect on passes across the zone.
“Our passes were off in the first two,” assistant coach Lindsay Berman said. “We weren’t great defensively in the first two periods. We gave up some pretty good scoring opportunities.”
With 4:18 left in the first period, the Huskies were able to get a break after Big Red forward Lily Delianedis received a two minute penalty for interference. Northeastern forward Chloé Aurard, in her first game back from injury, took advantage of the power play and scored her eighth goal of the year with 3:07 left in the first. The assists went to Skylar Fontaine and Maureen Murphy who continued their outstanding offensive seasons with their 17th and 11th assists respectively.
Cornell did not let that slow their momentum in the slightest, as they carried the puck back down the ice less than 30 seconds later for their own goal to tie the score at one. Big Red forward Gabbie Rud added her second goal of the year off of Leah MacSween’s third assist this season.
Frustration boiled over for both teams in the dying minute of the period, as Huskies forward Tessa Ward got caught along the boards with Big Red defender Rory Guilday. Ward, after falling to the ice due to a run in with Guilday, cross checked her directly in front of the ref and was called for a penalty with just 15 seconds left. In the remaining time, Cornell applied a lot of pressure in front of Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel but were unable to convert, sending both teams to the locker room tied at 1.
The Northeastern penalty kill, which has been outstanding for the first part of the season, continued to shine today as they killed off the remainder of the Ward penalty to start the second period. The power play went back to work after Cornell forward Gillis Frechette was called for tripping at 15:06 left in the second. Northeastern’s power play, which has also looked particularly strong this year, was unable to get anything past Big Red goaltender Deanna Fraser during their advantage.
Two minutes after the penalty expired, Big Red capitalized on a chaotic play in front of Frankel to get Delianedis the puck who roofed it off the backhand and into the back of the Huskies net. Delianedis, the overtime hero for Cornell during the 2019 NCAA playoff matchup between these two teams, gets her fifth goal of the year to give Big Red the lead with 11 minutes left in the second. Frechette added her seventh assist and forward Izzy Daniel added her ninth assist on the season.
The Huskies needed to rebound after falling behind, and were able to do so off of a defender Megan Carter’s shot from the blueline. The shot, originally looking as though it was going to go high, was tipped in front of the net by forward Skylar Irving and bounced down into the goal. Irving would officially be granted her third of the year after a lengthy review to ensure she hadn’t used a high stick on the puck to score. Carter received her sixth assist of the year and defender Gillian Foote, playing in just her sixth game this season, got her first point of the year with the second assist.
“I saw the puck going up to Meg [Carter],” Irving said of her goal. From there, Irving knew to “just take the eyes away from the goalie and then I just tipped it. Kind of simple.”
The rest of the period remained quiet on the scoring front as both teams tried to get to the net but were stopped by their opposition’s defense. The score remained 2-2 as the buzzer sounded to bring the second to a close.
There seemed to be a shift in the Huskies play as the third started. They came out a lot stronger to start the final 20 minutes and began to pepper Fraser’s net in a way they hadn’t been doing in the first 40 minutes. By the end of regulation, the Huskies wound up with 46 shots, including 18 in the third. The first half of the period remained quiet for the most part, except for a third penalty called against Cornell. This time defender Makenna Chokelal called for a tripping infraction and the Huskies power play got another opportunity. Cornell did a great job at keeping the Huskies from scoring, largely in part due to the play of goaltender Fraser, even as Northeastern maintained possession in the offensive zone for the majority of the advantage.
Defender Skylar Fontaine continued to be hungry in front of Fraser’s net throughout the power play and after as well. By the end of the game, she was credited with 11 of the Huskies shots which was the leader across all Northeastern players. She was rewarded for her pressure with a seemingly harmless shot from above the right circle which ended up slipping past Fraser to give the Huskies the lead with 6:56 left in the game. Aurard picked up her second point of the game and sixth of the season with an assist on the goal and forward Alina Müller was also credited with an assist for her 11th of the year.
“I knew we just needed shots on net,” Fontaine said after the game. “I just kind of got it on the net where it was almost mid calf level and it trickled in.”
“I didn’t really know it went in until Katy Knoll threw her hands up,” she added with a laugh.
The Huskies weren’t done yet. In the last minute of play after Cornell had pulled their goaltender for an extra skater in a last attempt to tie the game, defender Brooke Hobson tapped a feed from Müller into the empty net to give the Huskies the 4-2 lead. The captain picked up her fifth goal of the year and Aurard was awarded her third point of the game with the other assist on the goal to seal the win for the Huskies.
After the game, both players and coaches had nothing but praise for Cornell’s goaltender Fraser, who started her first game of her collegiate career due to Big Red’s starting goaltender Lindsay Browning serving a suspension. Fraser only allowed 3 goals on 45 shots while she was in the net.
“She was awesome,” Berman said of Fraser’s play. “She was thrown right into the fire and you would have never known just by watching her. It took us a while to figure her out, I don’t know if we ended up actually figuring her out. I’m sure her coaches are really proud of her performance.”
The Huskies will look to continue their unbeaten streak to 15 games tomorrow when they again face off against Big Red at 2 p.m. in Matthews Arena. It will be both team’s last game until after the New Year. Starting a few minutes before puck drop, Khalin Kapoor, Matty Wasserman and Jordan Walsh will have the call for WRBB.