BOSTON — Riding high off their recent Beanpot win, Northeastern entered Friday’s matchup with Boston University with high hopes. In their second meeting with the Terriers in under two weeks, the Huskies looked strong as ever. They exited Walter Brown Arena with an ever-growing 17-game winning streak, beating BU 5-1.
The first period of play started off heavily in Northeastern’s favor. Throughout the first six minutes, the Huskies outshot the Terriers 6-0, with BU barely able to ever break into its offensive zone. But after a tripping call on junior defender Lily Yovetich sent BU to the power play, the momentum began to shift.
BU managed to rack up three unanswered shots but ultimately took the wind out of their own sails with a penalty of their own, as freshman defender Brooke Disher was sent to the box for high-sticking just over halfway through the period. Northeastern’s power play was unable to capitalize on the opportunity but
got another try just over two minutes later, with junior forward Ani FitzGerald called for tripping, sending the Huskies on the power play once again.
This time, the Huskies came away with one. As soon as the minor began, graduate student forwards Alina Müller and Maureen Murphy connected on a pass to give Murphy some space near the left faceoff circle. Murphy rifled in a shot that bounced off the skate of junior Terrier defender Tamara Giaquinto, and right into the path of Müller. With netminder Andrea Brändli pulled all the way to her opposite post, Müller had a wide-open net in front of her, and the Northeastern captain easily slotted the puck in for the first score of the game.
Murphy received an assist on Müller’s goal, notching her 200th career collegiate point. The goal itself marked Müller’s 240th point.
“[Murphy] deserves it,” Müller said after the game. “That’s amazing, 200 points in college. Not a lot of players do that, so I’m very proud of her. ”
Just as the first frame came to a close, seniors Katy Knoll and Nadia Mattivi received matching minors, leading the second period to begin with just under two minutes of 4-on-4 play. However, Northeastern had to fight just a bit harder to keep BU out of the back of the net, as Yovetich received her second penalty of the game 30 seconds into the period, forcing the Huskies to kill off a 4-on-3 BU opportunity for 40 seconds.
Northeastern senior goaltender Gwyneth Philips flashed her athleticism to keep BU off the scoreboard, and the Huskies successfully managed to escape unscathed. The momentum seemed to be back in the hands of the visitors, and they were ready to capitalize on it.
Just under five minutes into the period, after graduate student forward Chloé Aurard generated a turnover from behind Brändli’s net, deja vu struck. The puck skittered its way to Murphy’s stick, where she found Müller waiting at the opposite side of the crease. Once again, Brändli was caught off guard by the Huskies’ clean passing as Müller, for the second time of the evening, had a wide-open opportunity. The captain didn’t miss, slamming the puck home and doubling Northeastern’s lead.
The penalties continued to fly, as after a messy tripping penalty was given to senior defender Megan Carter, Northeastern was forced onto the penalty kill again. This time, they could not hold off the Terriers, as Mattivi ended up finding the bottom corner of the net off a howitzer from the blue line to halve the deficit the Huskies had just built up.
Neither team let up on the intense, physical play, as with five minutes remaining in the frame, Disher was sent to the box for the second time on an interference call. The Terriers were able to keep Northeastern out of the back of the net for the whole two minutes, but just eight seconds after the penalty had been killed off, Northeastern went on the advantage again after senior forward Julia Nearis received a body-checking penalty.
Northeastern’s power play once again pulled through, as a pass into the slot from Knoll found the stick of an awaiting Murphy, who easily shelved the puck top corner to build Northeastern’s lead back up to two.
It was the second power-play goal of the game for the Huskies, whose top unit has been building up success as the season has progressed.
“We’re not overhandling the puck,” said Northeastern associate head coach Nick Carpenito on the Huskies’ power play. “When we play a simplified game and we move the puck quick, we don’t stick-handle too much, just let the puck do the work, I think we’re a lot more successful, … 2-for-5 [on the power play], so I’m happy.”
After a flurry of offense from the Huskies, it seemed that there would be a two-goal deficit for BU to try and make up in the third period. But just as the clock ticked down to signal the end of the frame, Northeastern’s top line once again made their tape-to-tape passes look easy, as Müller picked up a loose puck and sent a pass across the zone to Aurard. Aurard didn’t have a shooting lane of her own, so she gave it right back to Müller, who, for the third time in the evening, had a completely open net in front of her. The Huskies captain made it look easy as she put the puck home, completing her second career hattrick and giving Northeastern a 4-1 lead.
“Our offense goes with [Müller],” Carpenito said. “ I was really happy that she was able to capitalize on her opportunities. She’s Alina. We love her, we depend on her, she’s not only our leader on the ice as far as the offense goes, but she’s our emotional leader too. She’s good to have on our side, that’s for sure.”
Early in the third frame, BU looked to make life a bit more stressful for the Huskies, as back-to-back calls on Yovetich and graduate student defender Maude Poulin-Labelle forced them to kill off a 5-on-3 Terriers advantage. But the Huskies’ kill was as stalwart as ever, with Philips flashing her athleticism as she made save after save. The 5-on-3 came to a close, and all the momentum was in the hands of Northeastern.
The rest of the period played out, and with under a minute left in the frame, Northeastern looked to be cruising to a 4-1 victory. But even with all the success for Northeastern’s top line, the rest of the team found success as well.
Junior defender Abbey Marohn sent in a wrist shot from the far boards with forty seconds left in the game, and Brändli could not control the rebound. Senior forward Kate Holmes was waiting in the crease, and as the puck slipped away from Brändli, Holmes was right there to tip it in, the dagger in a dominant Huskies 5-1 win.
“They were a lot more physical today,” Carpenito said. “We’re a pretty fast team, so I think that that’s probably the best way to slow us down, to be pretty physical, but I was really proud of our team, how we were able to match their intensity, and I thought we handled their physicality pretty well.”
The physicality of the Huskies-Terriers matchup will take the ice at Matthews Arena Saturday evening, as the regular season ends with the second half of the home-and-home series. Northeastern will congratulate their graduating class, honoring them on their Senior Night.
WRBB will provide coverage of the game, with Catherine Morrison and Emma Sullivan on the call for puck drop at 7 p.m. on WRBB Sports+.