By Mike Puzzanghera and Daisy Roberts
BOSTON — Was there ever any doubt?
With the usual suspects stifled through the first 40 minutes, it took two great plays from Northeastern veterans for the Huskies to break through against Merrimack. It was the juniors who scored first, forward Molly Griffin and defender Abbey Marohn, putting the Huskies up by two through 40 minutes. Northeastern doubled their total in the third, finishing the game with a 4-1 win over the Warriors at Matthews Arena, sweeping the weekend series.
The Huskies outshot Merrimack 48-17 in Saturday’s contest and held them without a goal for the first 117 minutes of the weekend. It wasn’t as dominant as Friday night’s affair, but the Huskies finished off a six-point weekend.
“It was an ugly game, felt like we were playing against the Flyers from the ‘70s, but we grinded it out and got three important points,” said head coach Dave Flint. “We knew they were going to play hard, physical, I think they took us off our game a little bit a couple times. … Overall on the weekend, [I] loved how we played yesterday, didn’t love how we played today, but it’s still early in the season to find that consistency.”
Griffin broke the deadlock in the first, winning a puck battle in front of the Northeastern bench and racing through the Warrior defense to find herself 1-on-1 with freshman goaltender Calli Hogarth. Griffin switched to her backhand and roofed the puck for her first goal of the season and her first goal since the 2020-21 Hockey East Championship game.
With Griffin’s goal, Northeastern’s fourth line once again stepped up in a situation where others weren’t having much success. Flint commented on the necessity of squad depth and praised Griffin for coming through with her goal.
“We’ve been getting some timely scoring from players that aren’t usually at the top of our scoring list,” Flint said. “That’s what we’ll need this year if we’re going to be successful.”
It was a dominant first period from the Huskies, but the Warriors grew into the game in the second. They built a fair amount of offensive zone pressure with an early power play and with a slim deficit, the game was in reach. With the Huskies getting stonewalled by Hogarth even while peppering shots on net, the tension came up to a simmer with some extracurriculars after the whistle. It culminated in senior forward Katy Knoll receiving a penalty for body-checking just over halfway through the period.
The Huskies killed off the Knoll penalty and seconds later, Marohn potted her first career goal to double the Northeastern lead. Marohn delayed her shot from the point for just a moment and fired it on frame. With one of her own defenders screening her, Hogarth had her sightlines impeded and the puck flew past her into the far corner.
“It’s been amazing,” Marohn said. “I’m very humble to have the opportunity, and I’ve put in a lot of work this summer. It’s paying off, and I’m excited for that.”
Flint had high praise for Marohn, citing her consistency and mindset on the ice.
“[Marohn] is playing with a ton of confidence right now,” Flint said. “She played a lot her freshman year, didn’t play a lot last year, came back this year with a really good mindset, really worked hard, and it’s paying off.”
With the Huskies crashing the dirty areas with more purpose to begin the third, they added to the lead quickly. Graduate student forward Alina Müller knocked in a rebound from her linemate, graduate student Chloé Aurard’s shot from the edge of the crease for the Huskies’ third goal. Just over two minutes later, Aurard added to the lead, tipping in a central pass from graduate student forward Maureen Murphy for her third goal of the year.
“I said, ‘listen, if we’re going to score goals today, you’ve got to get in there, take the beating, and put some pucks in,’” Flint said. “I thought the third was better for that, and they got rewarded with the goals.”
Late in the third, Merrimack finally managed some stable offensive possession. A gentle wrist shot at the blue line from freshman defender Sydney Lynch deflected off of the inside of one of senior netminder Gwyneth Philips’ pads, through her legs, and into the net for Lynch’s first collegiate goal. However, it was just too little too late for the visitors, as Northeastern held the Warriors off for a final score of 4-1.
With today’s victory, Northeastern improved to 6-0-0 overall and 4-0-0 in Hockey East. They will look to carry their momentum into next weekend as they travel to Orono, Maine to play two games on the road. Marohn commented on the preparation for the upcoming series and what the Huskies need to do to continue their success.
“This obviously was a physical series, and Maine plays pretty physical as well,” she said. “If we can stick to our gameplan, taking care of defense first, it’s going to be a good way to start.”
The first game of the series against the Black Bears kicks off Friday at 3 p.m. WRBB will have coverage from Alfond Arena with Daisy Roberts and Jack Sinclair on the call.