By James Duffy, news correspondent
For the first time this season, the Northeastern University (NU) women’s ice hockey team hit a rough patch, dropping three of its last four contests in the last two weeks. Two of those losses came to No. 2 Boston College (BC) and the third at the hands of No. 8 Harvard University, with the lone win coming over the University of Vermont on Nov. 21. With two goals against Vermont, Coyne set the record for most goals ever scored by a Women’s Hockey East player.
The Huskies’ record stands at a strong 11-4-1, with a 7-2-0 mark within Hockey East.
The struggles started on Friday, Nov. 20 as the team squared off with BC in Chestnut Hill. In a hard-fought, back-and-forth game, the Eagles came away with a 4-2 win after sophomore forward Tori Sullivan deposited a goal in an empty net to seal the win for her team.
The Huskies met their match in BC sophomore goaltender Katie Burt, who was one of the first goalies to slow down the high-powered NU offense. Burt stopped 22 of the 24 shots that came her way, holding the team well below its five goals-per-game average.
NU freshman goalie Brittany Bugalski made 27 saves in the game but allowed BC senior defenseman Kaliya Johnson to score the game-winning goal. Johnson’s goal came with seven minutes to play in the game, shortly after NU junior forward Hayley Scamurra tied the game at two.
“We gave a great effort,” Head Coach Dave Flint said after the loss. “I was really pleased, and I’m optimistic moving forward that we can play with [BC].”
The team was able to get back on track the next day as it hosted Vermont at Matthews Arena. Senior forward Kendall Coyne got her team out to an early lead with two first-period goals.
After Vermont cut the lead in half in the second period, freshman forward Kasidy Anderson put her team back up by two with just 25 seconds left in the frame.
In the third, Vermont again came within a goal, but sophomore forward Shelby Herrington scored her seventh goal of the season to drive the nail into the coffin and lock up the win.
“It felt good,” Herrington said after the bounce-back win over the Catamounts. “It’s definitely a better feeling after this one [than against BC].”
Flint acknowledged that the team didn’t play its best against Vermont.
“There was a little bit of a hangover after we put it all on the line last night [against BC],” he said.
He remained confident, however, reasserting the idea that this Husky team can compete with any other team in the nation.
Flint took his team to Cambridge to take on the Harvard Crimson on Tuesday, Nov. 24, but the Huskies couldn’t manage a win on the road.
Sophomore goalie Emerance Maschmeyer was infallible in net for Harvard, stopping all 31 shots. Bugalski stopped 31 shots as well, but the Crimson managed to get a goal past her in every period en route to a 3-0 win.
Coyne led the offense with eight shots, but nobody had an answer for the dominance of Maschmeyer, who handed NU its first shutout loss of the year.
Coming back home for another matchup with BC, the team faced many of the same issues.
Burt was back in net for the Eagles, and she once again managed to stifle the NU offense. Burt held the Huskies to just one goal on 36 shots.
That lone goal came off the stick of Paige Savage, who tallied a power-play marker for the Huskies early in the third period. However, at that point, it was futile as Savage’s goal merely cut the deficit to four goals instead of five.
Senior forward Alex Carpenter put BC up by five again late in the third. The game ended at 6-1.
The Huskies were without starting goaltender Brittany Bugalski, who had an appendectomy and will miss the remainder of the semester.
Junior goalie Sarah Foss got the start in her absence, but was pulled midway through the second period after allowing five goals on 16 shots.
Freshman goalie Brianna Storms then came into the game, making her collegiate debut. In the last period and a half, Storms allowed just one goal to the Eagles. Coyne had eight shots and junior defenseman Heather Mottau added six of her own, but Burt was up to the test.
“We ran into two hot goalies,” Flint said, recognizing the play of Maschmeyer and Burt after the games.
Looking ahead, the Huskies will be in Vermont for two more games against the Catamounts on Friday and Saturday in their last two contests of the calendar year.
“Sarah [Foss] is the junior. We’ll go with her on Friday and see how it goes,” Flint said of the goaltending situation.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics