BOSTON — The theme of the weekend was physicality, penalties, and resilience for Northeastern, who came away with a 3-2 overtime win at UNH on Thursday, before winning the second meeting 4-3 in overtime on Sunday.
The two games featured 14 penalties, two overtime game-winners, and 122 minutes of intense Hockey East play — but through all of it, the Huskies managed to extend their winning streak to seven games.
“We did not play well, we looked tired at times,” Northeastern coach Dave Flint said after Saturday’s win. “The silver lining to us not playing well is we once again found a way to win the hockey games and get points.”
New Hampshire entered its Thursday night matchup tied for fourth in Hockey East, with a chance to pass third-place Northeastern with a weekend sweep. They ended the weekend having a reward of two points in Hockey East, but returned to Durham with two overtime losses against a Huskies team that they have beaten only once in their last 23 matchups.
“[UNH is] a veteran team that is hard to play against,” said head coach Dave Flint.
Thursday at the Whittemore Center
Thursday night in Durham provided a tough start for Northeastern, which found itself in a 2-0 hole after allowing a goal to forward Nicole Kelly of UNH. The second came with the rare failed penalty kill for the Huskies, a team that boasts the top penalty kill in the nation, stopping opponents at a rate north of 92%. That being said, it was two penalties stacked together that allowed UNH star Kira Juodikis to score on 5-on-3 hockey.
The first period featured a relentless forecheck and immaculate neutral zone play from the Wildcats. Despite this, a rare neutral zone breakdown allowed fifth-year forward Katy Knoll to cut the deficit to one goal as time expired in the first.
The opening period Thursday was the first that star goaltender Gwyneth Philips played in over a week and a half, as she was rested the prior weekend. Though she allowed two goals in the frame, little blame was put on her as both goals were a result of defensive breakdowns.
After the second period the score remained the same despite the Huskies notching two more penalties. The theme continued to tell the tale of the matchup as UNH forward Chavonne Truter picked up a tripping call in the early stages of the third, allowing Northeastern’s leading goal scorer, Peyton Anderson, to tie the game at two.
The overtime winner came from a 2-on-1 rush, as Taze Thompson and Jules Constantinople barreled down the ice. Thompson, in her 100th career match, spun around with the puck, dropping it to Constantinople who let off a powerful wrister that went over the glove of freshman goaltender Sedona Blair.
Saturday at Matthews Arena
With 48 hours to prepare for Saturday’s rematch, the Huskies came out of the gates hot. Blair, who generally struggles early in games, quickly allowed freshman Peyton Compton to notch her fourth score of the season.
The score that put the Huskies on top was the only score for the next 25 minutes, as the early stages of the third period featured miscues from the Huskies. Some of the miscues were a result of poor line changes. The likely cause of this was the early injury to sophomore forward Holly Abela, who did not return to the game.
With 10 minutes left, losing 2-1, the Huskies gained a crucial opportunity as Truter’s elbow caught Lily Brazis in the head earning Truter an ejection and a five minute major. The Huskies weren’t able to capitalize on the advantage, and instead let up a shorthanded goal to Nicole Kelly, her second of the game and third of the series.
With a 3-1 deficit and two minutes left in the game, it appeared all hope was lost for the Huskies. Knoll, a senior member of the team and an assistant captain, spoke in her words of encouragement.
“It starts with us. … If we can get one, it could give us the momentum to get another,” Knoll said.
With 1:38 on the clock,Thompson put in the first goal, reducing the deficit to one. The game was tied when Lily Shannon found the back of the net as Blair allowed numerous rebound opportunities with 57 seconds remaining.
“[It] hit the goalie once, then twice, then it finally went in,” Shannon said.
The inevitable happened, as this Husky offense was unable to score, seceded a goal in the seven minutes of 5-on-4 hockey, yet netted two goals in 41 seconds of 6-on-5 hockey, sending the game to an extra period.
There’s a common saying around Matthews arena along the tune of ‘Katy Knoll doing Katy Knoll things’, which is exactly what happened in the overtime. 26 seconds in she deked two UNH defenders, sending a rifle over the glove of Blair and lifting the Huskies to an incredible 4-3 overtime win.
The points gained by the Huskies are crucial, as they look forward to two home games against Hockey East leader UConn and ninth-place Maine next weekend.
WRBB will have live coverage from Matthews Arena as Northeastern plays UConn on Friday. Puck drop is scheduled for 6 p.m.