By James Duffy, deputy sports editor
Seven straight wins, a shattered record and weekly awards all around. Just standard business for the Northeastern University (NU) Women’s hockey team.
Senior forward Kendall Coyne has been the star and leader of the team all season long, cementing her place in program history on Sunday, Jan. 10 when she broke Hillary Witt’s record for most points in program history.
Coyne netted a hat trick in the game against New Hampshire, and with her second goal, she eclipsed Witt’s 208 career points. Her third goal and an assist later on were just cherries on top, lifting her to 211 career points.
Coyne didn’t take long to tie the record, tallying a goal and point number 208 less than five minutes into the game, but she waited until the last period to shatter it.
“It was inevitable that she would do it,” head coach Dave Flint said of Coyne breaking the record. “She did it in her own fashion with a hat trick.”
What Coyne’s hat trick also did was help the Huskies bring their record on the season to 17-4-1 and extend their winning streak to six games.
Despite almost a month off after sweeping Vermont at home, the Huskies came out firing on all cylinders to ring in the New Year, knocking off Dartmouth 5-2 on Jan. 2.
Coyne was one of four Huskies to tally a goal against the Big Green, and sophomore forward Denisa Krizova racked up three points playing alongside her on the top line.
Junior goalie Sarah Foss was brilliant in net for NU, stopping 28 of the 30 shots that came her way. Foss, who had been filling in for the injured freshman Brittany Bugalski, shone in the opportunities she was given and earned herself more ice time moving forward.
Bugalski made her return to the crease in the Huskies’ next game when she helped carry them to a 5-1 win over Connecticut. Despite having missed over a month due to an appendectomy, Bugalski showed no signs of rust in the win.
Five Huskies scored in the victory, but junior forward Paige Savage was the star,potting a goal and adding two assists for her first three–point game of the season.
The good times only kept rolling during the home-and-home series against New Hampshire came up, and NU found itself cruising to two more victories.
In the first game at Matthews Arena, Foss was back in net and brilliant once again. She held the Wildcats to just two goals to secure her fourth consecutive win, a 4-2 Huskies victory.
The offense had no trouble doing the rest.
NU tagged New Hampshire freshman goalie Kyra Smith for four goals, two of which came off the stick of junior forward Hayley Scamurra.
Scamurra, along with sophomore forward Shelby Herrington and senior defenseman Jordan Krause, who each added a goal, gave the Huskies everything they needed to roll to a win.
In wrapping up the series against New Hampshire, Coyne had her record–breaking hat trick which by itself would’ve beaten the Wildcats, as they were only able to get two pucks past Bugalski.
Flint has been put in a tough situation with both his goaltenders playing so well, but he says it is an issue he likes to have. Flint said that Foss and Bugalski will split starts moving forward, – he likes the “one-two punch” they give him.
Scamurra and Krause also kept up their hot play of late, notching two points each.
For their efforts in the first two weeks of the new year, Coyne and Krause were both recognized by Hockey East, winning awards for the weeks of Jan. 4 and Jan. 11.
Coyne was twice named the Hockey East Warrior Player of the Week, and Krause earned the honor of Defensive Player of the week two times as well.
The Huskies tacked on a seventh victory to their streak, cruising to a 4-1 win over Providence College on Wednesday, Jan. 13. Sarah Foss came a second short of a shutout, allowing the lone Friar goal of the game just before the final buzzer sounded.
Despite their great success since the turn of the new year, Coach Flint thinks there’s room for improvement.
“I still feel like we can be better on defense,” he noted. “And we can work on our consistency.”
Flint, Coyne and the Huskies will get a chance to extend their winning streak this week when they welcome the Maine Black Bears to Matthews for afternoon games on Saturday, Jan. 16 and Sunday, Jan 17.
Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics.