GLOUCESTER — Northeastern made the trip up to Gloucester, Massachusetts for a neutral site game against Boston College in celebration of the town’s 400th anniversary. The Huskies needed to bounce back after dropping a disappointing game at UVM the prior Tuesday, and the 14th overall Eagles stood in their way. Changes needed to be made.
And the changes would come, although not necessarily by choice. Megan Carter and Lily Yovetich were missing from the lineup, both missing the game due to injury. Losing the top defensive pairing was an ominous start to the game, yet the adjustments to the offense proved promising from the start.
The Huskies hit the ground running immediately after puck drop, applying pressure to the Eagles and stifling the neutral zone with excellent play from the promoted defensive pairing of Tory Mariano and Kristina Allard.
“They were awesome,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint. “That’s what we needed. We needed them to step up, I said before the game… ‘everyone needs to elevate our game a little bit,’ and I felt like everybody did.”
Northeastern’s offense was allowed to dominate the offensive zone, thanks to the fantastic defense led by Mariano and Allard. They were very quickly rewarded in the first period, when Peyton Anderson poked home a rebound to start the scoring. It wasn’t the prettiest of goals, but it was the perfect start to Northeastern’s game nonetheless.
“I love greasy gritty goals,” Flint said. “We needed that. We’ve had a lot of grade A [chances] that we’ve missed this season so far, and just haven’t been able to connect. That early goal set the tone, and it was fun to watch.”
Northeastern took a step back following the goal, however, but that was more of a result of BC finding their footing via transition offense. Abby Newhook’s impressive puck handling proved difficult to stop. Thankfully for the Huskies, they were able to escape the first period in the lead.
The Eagles entered the second period with continued aggression, and a pair of tripping penalties put Northeastern at a heavy disadvantage. BC took full advantage of the pair of extra skaters they had, and created traffic in front of Gwyneth Philips, which allowed Sidney Fess to snipe the top left corner of the net.
The game’s aggression rolled on through the second period, as each team exchanged penalties near the end of the frame. BC tacked on another infraction, giving Northeastern the 4-on-3 advantage to open the final period.
While they weren’t able to capitalize on that advantage, they were able to create a goal 5-on-5 through a spectacular transition play. Allard started the play from the neutral zone after forcing a turnover. She released Katy Knoll down the left wing, and using her speed she drew a pair of eagles towards her. This left Thompson wide open in the slot, where she fired a one timer past the goaltender to take the lead.
BC wasn’t done yet, with Newhook leading the charge on offense, putting the Huskies under immense pressure defensively. The presence of Carter and Yovetich was clearly missed, as fatigue began to set in. Fortunately, Philips was stellar between the pipes, making several incredible saves, including a highway robbery of a Newhook chance in front of the net.
The Huskies held on, and with 90 seconds to go, BC pulled their goalie and opted for an extra skater. The defense held fast, and eventually recovered the puck, releasing Skylar Irving through the neutral zone. The gaping net made an easy target for the dynamic forward, and her score sealed the game at 3-1 with just 30 seconds remaining.
This was a massive result for Northeastern, as they improved to 9-8-0 on the season. A win against a ranked opponent proves the talent on the roster is finally starting to come together. The depth of the roster was also on display, as the defense really stepped up to fill the gaps left by Carter and Yovetich.
The result builds momentum towards a midweek matchup against Providence at home this coming Tuesday. Jack Sinclair and Sarah Popeck will have the call live on WRBB Sports+.