Story by Emma Sullivan
Photos by Ethan Wayne
BOSTON — After an impressive 8-1 victory Friday, the Northeastern Huskies took the ice at Matthews Arena Saturday for a second game against the Maine Black Bears to try and close out the weekend with another win. While Northeastern’s offense was the story in game one, the strongest component in this game was Maine’s defense and their goaltender, who managed to keep the Huskies from scoring even with 48 shots on goal throughout the game.
Getting the start for Maine was Jorden Mattison, who played 40 minutes and gave up five goals Friday before being pulled after the second period for backup Anna Larose. Tonight, however, was by far a different story as Mattison played well throughout the game, making some key saves to keep the score far closer than in the previous matchup.
By the conclusion of the first period, Northeastern outshot Maine 19-3 but were unable to score before the buzzer. Maine got an opportunity on the power play thanks to a body-checking call against Huskies forward Maddie Mills only 3:01 into the game. The Huskies however had more scoring opportunities than Maine in the ensuing two minutes. After killing the penalty off, Northeastern took control of the puck and seemed to maintain possession far longer than the Black Bears. Unfortunately Northeastern forward Chloé Aurard, a key component up front for the Huskies, took a puck to the hand about eight minutes in and had to leave the game. She did not end up returning, and head coach Dave Flint did not have an update on her status after the game concluded.
The Huskies had two opportunities on the power play over the course of the second period. The first came after Maine forward Morgan Trimper got caught by the referees for tripping with 17:03 remaining. The Northeastern power play, which for much of the year has been dominant, had four shots before time expired but nothing to show for it. Then with 6:11 left in the period, Maine again went on the penalty kill after their captain, defender Taylor Leech, was called for body checking.
This time on the power play, the Huskies were able to convert. Forward Skylar Irving had control of the puck from the top of the faceoff circles. Finding a wide open path to the net, Irving ripped a shot towards the goal before it was deflected up and in by defender Skylar Fontaine to give Northeastern the 1-0 lead with 4:25 left. Forward Mia Brown also assisted on the play.
Maine had their own opportunity on the power play after Northeastern forward Katie Cipra took a tripping penalty with 34.6 seconds left in the period. The Black Bears were unable to convert before the period ended and entered the third with 1:27 left on the advantage. Even with the advantage, Maine ended the power play with only two shots on goal and no goals to show for it.
The next power play opportunity again went to the Huskies, this time forward Mira Seregély went to the box for hooking with 9:29 left. Northeastern only needed nine seconds before they scored for the second time. Mills was left wide open at the top of the faceoff circles while multiple bodies blocked the line of sight for Mattison allowing for Mills to take a shot that found its way to the back of the net. It was Mills’ 14th goal of the year. Fontaine added her second point of the night while defender Brooke Hobson also assisted on the goal.
The Huskies had one more opportunity on the power play with 3:58 remaining after forward Alyssa Wruble received a hooking penalty, but nothing would come of it for the Huskies. The buzzer sounded soon after the penalty expired, and Northeastern finished the game with a 2-0 victory.
Flint said he was overall pleased with the performance from his squad, but called some of their turnovers during the third period careless.
“That could have changed the trajectory of the game,” he said. “But they stayed the course and didn’t press too much. I thought they were still going to the net pretty good. We ran into a good goalie tonight and she kept it close.”
With the win over Maine, the Huskies clinched the regular season Hockey East title for the fourth time in program history, securing them home ice advantage throughout the conference playoffs scheduled to start later this month.
“People don’t talk much about regular season championships,” Flint said. “But if you think about it, it’s a hard trophy to win. It’s a long season, there’s a lot of games against everybody. Anything can happen.”
“I’m really proud of them for that effort,” he added.
The other highlight in accolades for Northeastern was for their goaltender Aerin Frankel. Frankel recorded her 71st win over Hockey East opponents throughout her career. With that she became the all-time leader in wins by a goaltender in conference history and in fitting fashion with a shutout.
“I’m happy for her,” Flint said of his goaltender. “It’s just another record in the record books for her. For 71 wins that’s pretty impressive.”
The Huskies will look to their next matchup scheduled for Tuesday against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats at the Whittemore Center. Puck drop is at 6 p.m. WRBB will have coverage of the game with Matty Wasserman and Khalin Kapoor on air.