By James Duffy, news correspondent
Propelled by senior forward Kendall Coyne’s ninth-career hat trick, the Northeastern University (NU) women’s ice hockey team rolled to a win at Merrimack College on Friday in North Andover. With the 5-1 win, the Huskies extended their hot streak to five straight and improved their overall record on the season to 7-1-1. The team has a perfect 3-0-0 record against Hockey East opponents.
This was the first-ever matchup between these two teams, and Northeastern gave Merrimack a warm welcome into the Hockey East Association. This year marks Merrimack’s first season with a women’s hockey team.
Coyne opened the scoring late in the first period, beating Merrimack freshman goalie Samantha Ridgewell on a breakaway with a setup from sophomore forward Denisa Krizova, who tallied two assists in the game.
Sophomore forward Christina Zalewski increased the lead halfway through the second period when she fired a shot just under the crossbar and into the back of the net.
Coyne continued to pile it on, scoring again just five minutes later. Getting the puck at center ice, she proceeded to skate through Merrimack’s entire team before banking a shot off Ridgewell from a nearly-impossible angle.
Junior forward Hayley Scamurra capped off the second period with a goal before assisting on Coyne’s third and final goal late in the third period.
“Any time we get a win against a team in Hockey East is good,” Head Coach Dave Flint said. “Merrimack played hard and had us playing at their pace for the first period.”
With the three goals and an assist, Coyne brought her season total up to 15 goals and 24 points, both of which lead women in the nation.
She was named Hockey East Warrior Player of the Month for September and October.
Denisa Krisova, who added two assists, now ranks sixth in the nation with 19 points and second in assists with 14.
Coyne and Krizova have become one of the most dynamic duos in women’s hockey, and their combined 43 points are the most from any pair of teammates in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.
Freshman goaltender Brittany Bugalski continued her recent dominance, turning aside 21 of 22 shots the Warriors sent her way. After struggling early in the season, Bugalski has settled into the starting job, posting a .969 save percentage over her last three starts.
“She’s been great,” Flint said of his rookie goalie. “It all starts with your goalie, and the team has been more loose in front of her, which allowed us to score goals.”
Looking ahead to next weekend, the team will be without Coyne, Krizova and senior defenseman Jordan Krause. Coyne will be playing with the US national team, and Krizova will be with the Czech Republic. Krause will be taking her exams for dental school.
The Huskies will look to stay hot next weekend when they travel to Orono, Maine to take on the University of Maine Black Bears on Friday, Nov. 6. After that, they’ll meet with Merrimack again for a home-and-home series the following week.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics