BOSTON — After a dominant 4-0 win over Merrimack Friday night, the Huskies returned home Saturday to complete the sweep of the Warriors in goaltender Paige Taborski’s first career start at Matthews Arena.
Merrimack, looking for their fifth Hockey East win of the year, came out of the gates hungry, as less than a minute into the contest left winger Emily Oosterveld scored her first goal of the season. It was the first goal allowed by Taborski in her collegiate career.
The Huskies appeared sluggish through the first half of the first period — perhaps feeling the effects of playing two Beanpot games along with their conference schedule over the last two weeks.
With just under nine minutes left in the first, Peyton Compton picked a Merrimack breakout pass out of the air, and set up a two-on-none rush for her linemates Molly Griffin and Lily Shannon. Griffin fed Shannon who immediately returned the favor, and Griffin made no mistake roofing the puck over the outstretched Calli Hogarth. The tally was the first of the season for Griffin, who has been in and out of the lineup on the fourth line as of late.
“I loved our scoring depth today and offense from all four lines,” said associate head coach Nick Carpenito. “That’s going to be what we need to be successful down the stretch.”
Less than a minute after the Griffin equalizer, Merrimack’s Celine Tedenby beat Jules Constantinople to set up a 2-on-1 rush where she fed Solveig Gisler who immediately gave the Warriors their lead right back. Per the theme of the night, it was Gisler’s first goal of the season.
The Huskies continued the scoring of the first period when with 7:30 remaining in the opening frame Taze Thompson tipped home a rocket of a shot from Megan Carter, tying the game again a mere 31 seconds after Merrimack regained the lead.
The latter stages of the first period and beginning of the second period were largely controlled by the Huskies, as their rotation of the puck in the attacking end gave the Warriors defenders frets. Finally, with 4:04 remaining in the second frame, the Huskies third line was rewarded for its hard work.
Mia Langlois’ cross ice pass found Ella Blackmore, who dragged the puck around the stick of defender Hayley Chang before firing a wrister under the glove of Hogarth. It was Blackmore’s second goal in as many nights as the Huskies third line continued their impressive play.
Going into the third period, the Huskies were leading the shots on goal counter, 20-9, but led where it counted by just one goal.
At 8:29 of the third period, Katy Knoll changed that. Peyton Anderson found Knoll in the slot on the rush, and Knoll picked her spot, sniping the shot over Hogarth’s right shoulder. Like Blackmore, it was Knoll’s second goal of the Merrimack series, and fourth point overall from the weekend.
“I would have liked to score a little more in the beginning of the season, but at least it’s happening at the right time,” Knoll said. “It’s important that I just support the puck a little better and that’s the main theme between the first half of the season and my second half.”
In a last ditch effort with the goaltender pulled the Warriors were able to draw within a goal, but Northeastern’s staunch defending proved strong enough to hang on to a 4-3 victory.
For the Huskies, it was their 10th win in their last 12 games, as they try to reign in Boston College and Connecticut in the Hockey East standings. Despite struggles this year scoring goals, Northeastern has found their footing over the last month, and it has been led by their dynamic third line trio of Langlois, Lily Brazis, and Blackmore.
Northeastern will look to continue their winning ways this coming week against New Hampshire before a gauntlet of a schedule to end the season. They will need continued strong play from that third line, along with the help of the fourth forward line, who seemed to find their chemistry versus the Warriors.
Khalin Kapoor will have the call on WRBB Sports+ as Northeastern travels to UNH on Thursday for the 6 p.m. puck drop.