Story by Emma Sullivan
Photo by Sarah Olender
BOSTON – The Northeastern Huskies continued their dominance over the Merrimack College Warriors this weekend taking both games of the home-and-home series, extending both their unbeaten streak this year to 17 games and their unbeaten streak against Merrimack to 15 dating back to 2016.
Friday’s matinee at Matthews Arena started hot for the Huskies, as forward Alina Mueller opened the scoring just 35 seconds into the game. Assists from forwards Chloé Aurard and Maureen Murphy helped take the lead to start the game, and the Huskies never looked back.
“I liked our energy, I told them to start fast,” head coach Dave Flint said of the Huskies game on Friday.
Defender Lily Yovetich put the Huskies on the penalty kill after taking a tripping penalty 2:20 into the game, but Northeastern was able to kill it off without too much trouble. Merrimack took their own tripping penalty, this one called on defenseman Natalie Nemes with 7:10 left to play in the frame.
Mueller added another goal 47 seconds later as the power play continued to show dominance for Northeastern. Mueller went streaking down the ice with the puck, bypassing three Merrimack players before lifting the puck up and over Warriors goaltender Emma Gorski. The assist on that goal went to the Huskies goaltender Aerin Frankel, who handed the puck off to Mueller before the forward carried it all the way down ice. Many online were comparing Mueller’s goal to the viral one scored by NHL superstar Connor McDavid in late 2021, and this wasn’t the only comparison drawn from the Huskies to the NHL during the game.
The first half of the second period was mostly quiet until Merrimack was able to get the puck past Frankel with 13:28 left to play. However after a review of the play the goal was called back due to an offside entry a few seconds before the goal was scored, leaving the score at 2-0 in favor of Northeastern. Soon after, Huskies defenseman Skylar Fontaine was called for a holding penalty with 10:22 left in the period. The Huskies killed it off soon after.
At 5:49 remaining, forward Miceala Sindoris scored her first goal of the season to put the Huskies ahead 3-0. Fontaine tallied one of the assists (her team leading 19th of the year), the other going to forward Katie Cipra for her third point of the year.
Thirty-nine seconds after the Sindoris goal, forward Mia Brown scored her third goal of the season giving the Huskies a 4-0 lead. Brown was able to snatch the puck after it bounced off a Warriors skate before sniping it home past Gorski from the edge of the faceoff circle. Sindoris added a helper for her second point of the game and forward Tessa Ward got in on the scoring with the other assist.
Soon after at 4:13, Merrimack forward Ally Qualley took a body checking penalty after knocking Mueller into the boards in the corner. It took only 14 seconds for the Huskies power play to strike again, this time Aurard getting the goal with help from Mueller and Fontaine. The score would stay at 5-0 as the teams headed into the final period.
What followed in the third would be a feat not seen much if at all in the NCAA and in hockey as a whole. Aurard added two more goals on the day for the hat trick, the fourth of her collegiate career and this time a natural hat trick as she scored all three goals in a row.
What made this set of goals so interesting was the way each was scored. The first coming on the power play, the second short handed and the third at even strength. The shorthanded goal was unassisted with 6:59 left to play in regulation. The Huskies were down a player thanks to an interference call against defenseman Gillian Foote at 12:16 into the period. Aurard carried the puck all alone in from the blue line, speeding past both Warriors back in their own zone. She then easily rifled the shot into the back of the net for the goal.
The final goal to complete the historic hat trick came almost three and a half minutes later at 3:33. This time a Megan Carter shot from the blue line was tipped in front before finding its home in the back of the net. Mueller also picked up another assist for her fourth point of the day.
The Huskies scoring wasn’t done yet however, as forward Skylar Irving joined in on the scoring bonanza to get her fourth of the year. Defenseman Carter also picked up another point with an assist, and Frankel also got her second point of the night to go along with her 24 saves for the shutout. The goal came after forward Gabby Jones was called on holding for the Warriors to put the Huskies on the power play once more.
The final score would stand at 8-0 in favor of Northeastern, the most goals scored so far in a single game this season for the Huskies.
Even with the lopsided victory, Flint acknowledged that he would like “to tighten up in our own end a little bit. I think we were a little too passive in the d-zone and gave up a few too many shots.” He still praised the play overall, especially from the goal line, and called it “a great way to start 2022.”
Saturday’s game, this one at Lawler Rink, started out similarly for the Huskies in terms of their goal scorer. Mueller added her fifth goal of the season with a high shot at 10:26 left in the first. The captain, defenseman Brooke Hobson got her first point on the weekend with an assist while Aurard added another helper as well.
The Huskies were not done for the period, as the power play once again got to work this time with forward Maureen Murphy taking advantage of the extra attacker scoring her 13th goal of the year, the team lead for Northeastern. Mueller and Fontaine once again were involved with the goal adding to their point totals for the weekend.
Northeastern was on the receiving end of four power plays to Merrimack’s one in the first period. Qualley was given a five minute major and a game misconduct after a check to the head With 4:16 left to play in the first, Yovetich for the Huskies and forward Hannah Corenliusen received matching roughing penalties leading to a four-on-four. The final penalty of the period would be assessed to Jones from Merrimack for interference with 2:44 remaining. No other goals would be scored before time ran out however, leaving the Huskies with a 2-0 lead going into intermission.
3:41 into the second, Merrimack was finally able to get on the board after forward Katie Kaufman stuffed the puck between the pads of goaltender Gwyneth Philips who got the start for the Huskies. The only assist on the goal went to forward Madison Oelkers who had the original shot on goal. This was the first goal scored by Merrimack against the Huskies since Feb. 7, 2020.
Five penalties would be called in the second period — three against Merrimack, two against Northeastern. Forward Dominika Laskova had two calls for body checking and defenseman Teghan Ingles was called for slashing at 10:29 remaining. For the Huskies, defenseman Victoria Mariano high sticked a Warrior before teammate forward Katy Knoll was called for a body check just four minutes later with 2:06 left.
On the power play Aurard scored her fourth goal of the weekend to give the Huskies the 3-1 lead. Once again the top power play unit wracks up points with Mueller and Fontaine adding their third and second points of the game respectively. A strong offensive performance for Northeastern overall, but in particular for these three players.
“She picked up where she left off last night,” Flint said, praising Mueller for her performance this weekend. “She’s playing great hockey right now. Playing with a lot of confidence and being a great leader for us.”
Merrimack, to their credit, did not stop fighting the entire series. As time wound down in Saturday’s matchup, the Warriors maintained possession and had a flurry of shots on Phillip’s net to try for another goal. Ingles, with 18.6 seconds left on the clock, went diving into the empty net to knock away a Mueller shot from all the way down ice to keep the score 3-1.
“I thought it was a hard fought win,” Flint said after Saturday’s game concluded. “It was a real physical game, back and forth. We did what we needed to do and got the three points.”
Due to capacity limitations as a result of COVID-19, WRBB will not be calling the games at Northeastern from the arenas, but be sure to stay tuned for updates on when we return to the airwaves. WRBB plans to be back on air for the Huskies Saturday, Jan. 15 when they face off against the University of New Hampshire at Whittemore Center Arena. Mike Puzzanghera, Rae Deer and Matty Wasserman will have the call. Puck drop is at 3 p.m.