BOSTON — The Northeastern Huskies picked up right where they left off at Matthews Arena last season, as they opened the 2022-23 campaign with a 3-1 victory over LIU Friday night.
From the first puck drop, Northeastern looked dominant. The team generated shots on net from all parts of the ice, controlled the puck in their offensive zone, and got back for key defensive plays in their own end.
While the Huskies created shots on goal during the first period, the Sharks’ sophomore goaltender Tindra Holm turned away all 23 shots she faced in the first 20 minutes.
The most notable save occurred after a 3-on-2 rush from the top Northeastern line of graduate students Alina Müller, Chloé Aurard, and Maureen Murphy. Aurard tried to feed Müller in the front of the crease for the tap-in goal, however the puck bounced off the side of the post before it ended back up underneath Holm. The netminder didn’t have a clear idea of where the puck was, and thanks to junior forward Ashley Morrow, she was able to get the puck back in front of her before she cleared it from the crease.
No tallies for either side occurred before the end of the period. While they were able to control the flow of play, Northeastern head coach Dave Flint felt his team didn’t play their best hockey, something he acknowledged with his players during the first intermission.
“I just told them, ‘listen, we’re trying to be too cute in the offensive zone,’” Flint said. “‘We’re passing up some good opportunities to shoot. We just need to get bodies to the net.’”
The second period started with much of the same as Northeastern continued to drive play and pepper shots on Holm’s net. Pass connection continued to plague them for much of the night as the Huskies often found themselves missing connections with their linemates. Especially in the neutral zone and in front of the net, the Huskies seemed unable to control the puck — passes ended up in corners, the puck bounced off skates, and it even rolled away as players tried to keep control while skating from one end to the other.
With just under 14 minutes to play, a stick save by Holm redirected the puck to allow her team to clear the zone. Sophomore forward Jeannie Wallner carried it through the neutral zone with only freshman defender Jules Constantinople back for Northeastern. Wallner brough the puck into the offensive zone before finding senior forward Mikayla Lantto in front of the net. Lantto, helped by an accidental screen in front by Northeastern defender Lily Yovetich, slipped the puck underneath goaltender Gwyneth Philips to put LIU up 1-0. Senior forward Carrigan Umpherville also had an assist on the play.
Northeastern didn’t take long to respond however, as just 37 seconds later they tied the game. Junior defender Abbey Marohn made a spin-o-rama move at the blue line in order to keep the zone and keep the Sharks from taking control of the puck. After sliding it through the legs of LIU junior defender Paula Bergström, the puck landed on the stick of Huskies senior forward Peyton Anderson. Anderson rifled a shot from the faceoff circle that just managed to trickle in past Holm to bring the score to 1-1. Senior defender Megan Carter also had an assist on the play.
In the first 20 minutes of the game, there were no penalties called against either side. However in the second, it began to devolve slightly with four called within the last 10 minutes of play. Freshman forward Lily Brazis received a hooking penalty, putting Northeastern on the penalty kill for the first time this season. The new top unit of Müller, Aurard, Carter, and Marohn looked strong tonight, killing off the advantage easily.
Sophomore forward Taze Thompson took the next penalty for Northeastern with an interference called with 8:34 left in the period. Luckily, 38 seconds later LIU’s sophomore forward Mary Rachel Lanaeus took a tripping penalty to put the game to 4-on-4.
Second intermission came before either team could find the back of the net again. Another nine minutes of play went by before the second goal came for Northeastern, and it was scored in a very similar fashion to the first.
Freshman forward Lily Shannon carried the puck into the offensive zone and took it all the way around Holm’s net before she passed it along to Murphy. Murphy couldn’t get complete control of the puck along the boards but did redirect it so that Constantinople found it on her stick at the blueline. Constantinople then rifled a shot on goal from there that trickled past Holm in nearly the exact same way as the Anderson tally. Shannon tallied her first collegiate point with an assist on the goal.
“It was honestly a surreal feeling,” Constantinople said of her first goal. “I kind of like, blacked out after it went in. It was an awesome feeling to do it in your first game, so I’m grateful.”
Not to be outdone, fellow freshman Holly Abela netted her first goal in the NCAA with just 4:21 remaining. The forward, who dressed as the extra skater for Northeastern, easily tapped in a cross-crease feed from Anderson to put the puck past Holm. Freshman forward Lily Brazis helped start the rush that led to the goal, and also scored her first NCAA point with an assist to put the score to where it would finish at 3-1.
“Thought it was one of those games we just had to grind out,” Flint said. “It wasn’t our best game, but it’s the first game of the year and I knew there were going to be some bumps in the road. Credit to LIU and their goalie. They battled hard and made it difficult for us.”
Northeastern and LIU take the ice again Saturday at 2 p.m. for a rematch of tonight’s contest. WRBB Sports will have coverage live from Matthews Arena, with Khalin Kapoor and Emma Sullivan on the call.