Story by Emma Sullivan
BOSTON — Since losing two straight, the Northeastern Huskies have dominated up and down the ice, putting up a total of 16 goals to their opponents one over the last three games. The culmination of these three brilliant performances from the Huskies was a dominant win over the Maine Black Bears by a score of 8-1.
At the start, both teams were pretty evenly matched. Possession was even throughout the first 10 minutes of the period, and both netminders had to make multiple saves. Forward Andrea Renner forced the Huskies to play down a player after she took a body checking penalty with 9:17 remaining in the period. Northeastern would only have to play on the penalty kill for 1:18 before Maine defender Courtney Colarulo was whistled for an interference penalty after taking down Northeastern forward Chloé Aurard.
The Northeastern power play went to work and only needed 26 seconds before defender Skylar Fontaine passed the puck directly across the crease in a beautiful feed for forward Maureen Murphy who tapped the puck in behind goaltender Jorden Mattison to get her 21st goal of the season with 11:42 left in the period. An assist on the play was awarded to Aurard for Northeastern.
Only 34 seconds later, Northeastern extended their lead thanks to forward Katie Cipra who took an easy shot from just inside the faceoff circle to rifle it past Mattison for the 2-0 lead with 7:44 left in the period. Assisting Cipra on the play were fellow forwards Tessa Ward and Mia Brown.
The rest of the period would trend more in favor of the Black Bears who applied far more pressure during the final few minutes as compared to the beginning of the period. That would change however after defender Taylor Leech took a tripping penalty with 15.4 seconds left. Northeastern would not convert in the remaining time in the period and would head into intermission with the two goal lead.
The second period also started out quiet for both sides, as Northeastern would end their power play without any real high danger chances. They would however extend their lead again thanks to Murphy with her second of the night this time off a pass from behind the net from forward Katy Knoll. Picking up her second assist of the night was Aurard, as the Huskies lead was extended to three with 15:33 left in the second.
Maine would get one back after defender Kennedy Little walked into the zone and took advantage of an out of position Aerin Frankel in goal for a slap shot from the blue line for her first NCAA goal to bring the score to 3-1. Forwards Ida Kuoppala and Celine Tedenby were credited with the assists with 11:17 remaining.
After getting an assist on the third goal, Knoll notched one of her own with 4:15 left in the second period due to chaos in front of the net that ended with the puck tipping off a Maine skate in front to find its wait past Mattison to give Northeastern the 4-1 lead. Knoll gained control of the puck off the rebound from defender Brooke Hobson who got her first point of the game with the assist.
Before the period came to an end, Maine was sent to the box once more. This time forward Brooke Carriere headed to the box for hooking with 2:19 remaining. Northeastern immediately jumped on the power-play opportunity, only needing 31 seconds this time before Aurard joined in on the goal fun. Aurard seemed to be trying to pass the puck across the crease to Murphy but the puck tipped off Mattison’s stick and into the net. Fontaine got her second assist while forward Maddie Mills got her first of the night on the play as well with 1:48 remaining.
Maine opted to replace their goaltender to start the final period of play, giving Anna Larose control of the net. Important to note that Maine normal starter, Loryn Porter, did not dress for tonight’s game, leaving the two sophomores in the net against the Huskies. By the end of the night, they made a combined 36 saves on 44 shots from a dominant Northeastern team that many teams have been unable to stop throughout the season.
It would not be an easy start to play for Larose as Maine defender Olivia King received a cross-checking minor to put the Black Bears back on the penalty kill. The top power play unit for Northeastern immediately gained control of the puck, setting up the cycle in the offensive zone, enabling Fontaine to take a shot from the blue line. Aurard got her stick down on the ice to get the tip in goal for her second of the game with 19:23 left to play. The two defenders on the ice, Hobson and Fontaine, each got their second and third assists of the night as well.
Maine’s goal scorer, Little, put Northeastern on the power play one more time after getting caught on a body checking penalty with 11:39 left in regulation. The power play, which had been dominating for most of the game, was stifled here and the Black Bears killed this one off with little trouble.
Hats rained down from the stands as Murphy completed her second hat trick of the week with 9:18 remaining, in a goal made possible from a beautiful spin around and pass move from Knoll in the crease. The puck hit Murphy’s stick perfectly to allow her to tap it in once more for her eighth goal in the last three games for the forward. Fontaine added her fourth assist along with Knoll on the goal. Northeastern continued to play with a 7-1 lead as the game went on.
That wouldn’t be the end for the Huskies offense in the game, with Mills scoring her 12th goal of the season with 5:57 remaining off a rebound that bounced directly to her off Larose’s pad. Defender Victoria Mariano had the original shot from the blue line that was tipped in front by Brown, awarding them the two assists as Northeastern added to their lead for an 8-1 score.
After the eighth goal went in, Huskies head coach Dave Flint made the decision to switch out his goaltenders for the final minutes. Instead of putting in Gwyneth Philips however, Flint opted to put in Alexa Matses for 4:38 to close out the game. Within the first few seconds of her being in the game, chaos erupted in front of the net with the Black Bears making a less minute push to try and gain a little momentum back from the Huskies. Matses made two insane saves to keep the puck from the net before her teammates were able to clear the crease and the zone with the puck.
The Northeastern bench during the entire sequence absolutely lost their minds, screaming their heads off to support Matses in their net.
“That was awesome,” Fontaine said of Matses entering the game. “She’s such an amazing person on and off the ice. Always full of energy and supporting everyone. It was nuts, we were screaming. Those saves were incredible. I have no words honestly. It was awesome.”
After the game, Flint was happy with his team’s performance after a lackluster start on Tuesday which he wasn’t hesitant to call out.
“I loved the energy, I loved how we were going to the net,” Flint said. “We were hungry around the net today and we were capitalizing on our chances. I think it was our first 60 minute game in a while.”
“We still had some turnovers and stuff,” he said. “But I think we responded well and we jumped out. We didn’t take our foot off the gas.”
Flint sang the praises of Murphy’s performance as well, saying “She’s such a talented player. She’s been on fire. That’s what we need. She’s doing a really good job.”
The Huskies and Black Bears are right back at it tomorrow in Matthews Arena at 5 p.m. to close out the season series between the two teams. WRBB will be live from the arena with Emma Sullivan, Jack Sinclair, and Khalin Kapoor on the call.