By James Duffy, news correspondent

Despite its top-two scorers being away for the weekend, the Northeastern University women’s hockey team cruised to a 3-1 win over the University of Maine on Friday – its sixth-straight victory – and improved its record to 8-1-1.

Senior forward Kendall Coyne and sophomore forward Denisa Krizova, who have combined for 43 points in just nine games, were competing in tournaments with their national teams.

Coyne helped the US win the Four Nations Cup, tallying a goal and an assist in four games.

Krizova put up four points in as many games for a Czech Republic team that finished second in the Five Nations Cup.

Even without two of their star players, the Huskies carried on.

“Everybody stepped up,” Head Coach Dave Flint said. “Some of the older girls stepped up and showed great leadership.”

Part of that veteran leadership came from junior forward Hayley Scamurra, who helped lead the offense and centered the top line. Scamurra tallied assists on the first two Husky goals and put two shots of her own on net.

While some older players did lead the way, it was the underclassmen who stole the show. Sophomore defenseman Ainsley MacMillan scored the game-winning goal midway through the second period, the first game-winner of her career, and added an assist.

Sophomore forward Christina Zalewski finished it off, scoring the Huskies’ third and final goal late in the third period.

Behind it all, freshman goalie Brittany Bugalski was stellar yet again. Bugalski turned away 33 of the 34 shots that came her way to improve her record on the season to 7-1-1.

Her save percentage now stands at .932, with a goals-allowed average of less than two per game.

Bugalski spoke of her teammates when asked about her recent success.

“So much of it is everyone doing their job in front of me,” she said. “I think we’re off to a good start, and a lot of that is contributed to team chemistry. We’re all pretty close, and everyone’s buying into what the coaches are implementing.”

Flint had high praise of his team following Friday’s win.

“Any time you can go to Maine and get two points is always huge, and importantly, we kept the win streak going,” he said.

Looking ahead to the weekend’s series against Merrimack College, Flint and Bugalski held similar sentiments.

“We can’t take them lightly,” Flint said. “They’re playing everyone tight.”

The last time these two teams met at Merrimack, the Huskies won by a score of 5-1. Bugalski cited the importance of having a game on home ice.

“Playing on a smaller ice surface was definitely a challenge for us [in the matchup at Merrimack],” she said. “It’s good to be back on home ice.”

Northeastern will face Merrimack on the road on Friday at 7 p.m. and will be back at Matthews Arena the following afternoon at 2 p.m.

Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics