Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports

BOSTON – After much success through the second semester, Northeastern hoped to close out the regular season with a win on Senior Night. However, valiant efforts by both the Huskies and the Catamounts resulted in a 1-1 tie, with Vermont earning the additional standings point after winning the shootout 1-0.

For the second night in a row, defense and goaltending were the stars of the show. Despite a combined six power-play opportunities during the first two periods, both teams struggled to capitalize and put points on the board.

Vermont’s penalty kill unit sits near the bottom of the Hockey East at 76.7%, yet the Huskies failed to take advantage on multiple occasions during the first two periods. Northeastern was only able to put four shots on goal in over eight minutes on the power play. 

The Catamounts were once again able to control the faceoff circle on Saturday, finishing with a 62% success rate led by senior Natálie Mlýnková’s 73.7% winning percentage.

After many failed attempts, 10:38 into the third period Northeastern was able to find a mistake in the Vermont penalty kill unit. Defender Megan Carter found the back of the net following a perfect centering pass from fellow senior Katy Knoll giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead midway through the final frame.

Coming into the month of February, Carter did not have a single goal to her name. However, in recent weeks she has begun to take a prime offensive role with four goals in the last five games.

“Her leadership shows on the ice especially, when we’re down a goal she’s the first one on the forecheck as a defender. You can tell her passion for the game and how much she cares about this team and her goal tonight was just another example of her leadership” said Northeastern assistant coach Melissa Piacentini.

Kayla Shiao/WRBB Sports

Northeastern looked to close out a hard fought battle on senior night when Megan Carter was sent to the penalty box giving the Catamounts the chance they needed with only 2:39 remaining on the clock.

Just 28 seconds into the power play, junior Evelyne Blais-Savoie sent a centering pass past two Husky defenders to set up a one-time shot for Vermont forward Lily Humphrey, allowing her to find the back of the net on the power play for the second night in a row, tying the game at one.

For the 11th time this season the “Heart Attack Huskies” were going to overtime. Northeastern’s overtime experience was on display as they were able to control much of the pressure. Even with multiple scoring chances for both teams, neither side was able to put another goal on the board, sending the game to a shootout to decide the recipient of the extra point in the standings.

Both goalies’ skills were on display and neither would go down without a fight sending the shootout to six rounds. Eventually, Vermont sophomore Krista Parkkonen was able to wire a shot past Gwyneth Philips to end the game. 

With a second-place finish in the Hockey East secured for Northeastern, the team focused on honoring their seniors who have all made large contributions to the program over the past five years.

“I thought it was pretty special for our senior group, we came together and supported each other, the bench had a ton of energy which was really fun. The game meant nothing for rankings so it was cool to see the kids play the game they love.” commented Piacentini.

Undeterred by not retaining the regular season Hockey East title, Northeastern believes they have a special group that can go the distance and claim its seventh straight Hockey East title in a row, and return to the Frozen Four.

“This year has been different from the past but I think the way they carry themselves in the locker room and off the ice has been super important and it shows on the ice that they care about each other … they want to get back to where we were. They want to get back to that national championship game, just as hungry as ever. So it’s really exciting heading into playoffs.” said Piacentini.

The Huskies have earned the second place spot in the conference and a first round bye, meaning their opponent is unknown. Regardless, Piacentini ensures they will be ready for the task at hand.

“No matter who it is, we got to come ready to play a full 60 minutes, and from start to finish it’s going to be important that we prepare physically and mentally for that game throughout the week.”

Northeastern will return to Matthews Arena on Saturday March 2nd for the Hockey East Quarterfinals as they start the journey towards a seventh straight Hockey East title. WRBB will have full coverage with puck-drop scheduled for 7:30 p.m.