Women’s Hockey tops Boston College in OT thriller

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Women’s Hockey tops Boston College in OT thriller

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By Caroline Ingram, news staff

On Tuesday evening, two of the top five women’s hockey teams in the nation met at historic Matthews Arena for an epic showdown. The Huskies entered the game owning an 11-game unbeaten streak and were successful in snapping an eight-game winless streak against Boston College, topping the Eagles 5-4 in OT.

The matchup was a battle of two teams boasting top-notch strength at both ends of the ice. The Huskies own the best scoring average in the nation with 3.50 goals per game while the Eagles are right behind in second with 3.20 goals per game. Defensively, the Eagles own a scoring defense at 1.27 goals against per game, while, the Huskies follow right behind at 1.36 goals against per game.

Following the game, head coach Dave Flint spoke about the team’s approach to the game against a tough opponent and rival such as BC.

“The approach we’ve taken to all our games this year is that it doesn’t matter who we’re playing, we are going to treat every game the same and prepare for every game the same way,” Flint said.

In the first period of action, the Eagles found the scoresheet first with a rebound goal by forward Savannah Norcross at 6:33 of the period.

Not long after the BC goal, first-year forward Alina Mueller had a great scoring chance on a partial breakaway, but her slap shot from above the circles went wide.

Then, midway through the period the Huskies went on the man advantage as third-year forward Matti Hartman drew a penalty after BC’s Kelly Browne collided with her in the neutral zone. On the power play, the Huskies had a number of prime scoring chances, including a one timer by first year forward Chloe Aurard that BC goalie Maddy McArthur just got a pad on.

Later in the period, the Eagles extended their lead to two goals after a knuckleball shot from defenseman Grace Bizal at the point was deflected by forward Daryl Watts.

The Huskies headed to the locker room with their work cut out for them in a 2-0 hole.

After the game, Mueller spoke about the team’s emotions in that locker room knowing they were facing a tough task of being in an early deficit.

“We knew going into the game that it’s always a big game against our rivals like BU and BC,” she said.“BC obviously is a very good team so we just tried to really work as a team and to go 60 minutes. It doesn’t matter if we are two goals down, we knew we just needed to battle hard.”

To start off the second period, Frankel came up with a few big saves early before Mueller cut the deficit in half on the power play with a wrist shot from the point that made it through a netfront screen and found the back of the net.

Later in the frame with 4:58 to go in the period Mueller notched her second goal of the game to knot the teams at two goals apiece. Second-year forward Veronika Pettey battled for the puck behind the net, spun around and found Mueller out front for the one-time shot that beat McArthur low on the near post.

With the game’s momentum in NU’s favor, the Huskies scored their third unanswered goal of the period to pull ahead 3-2 with 1:10 left. Fourth-year forward Kasidy Anderson picked up the puck high in the offensive zone and sent it down low to Mueller in the corner, who spun acrobatically around a BC defender. Mueller found Anderson circling low through the slot and fired off a quick shot for the score.

Flint touched upon the impressive composure of his young team, especially when having to score multiple goals against a stingy BC defensive unit.

“One thing that is pretty special about this team is their resiliency – and I told them in the locker room how plenty of teams will just give up being down 2-0 early like we were there. Those same teams may sense trouble being in that kind of hole, but I wasn’t worried after that first period- I knew if we could get things going and cut the deficit in half, we’d be okay,” he said.

Northeastern opened the third period short-handed, but Frankel’s strong play in between the pipes kept the score in NU’s favor.

A little under five minutes into the third BC was able to get one back and tie things up 3-3. Forward Makenna Newkirk fired a rocket that beat Frankel high blocker side. Moments later, Anderson was called for a penalty and the ensuing BC power play resulted in another goal for Newkirk to make it 4-3 Eagles.

Special teams continued to be a major factor of the game, as the Eagles found themselves shorthanded for the fifth time on the night. On the man advantage, Anderson nearly evened things up with a blast that ricocheted off the crossbar.

Although things went their way in the end, Flint noted his disapproval with the team’s high penalty minutes that at times proved to be very costly.

“We have to do a better job of staying out of the box, especially late in the game like that. We know that our penalty kill is good, but their power play is also good, so we have to be a bit more disciplined in order to stay out of the box in those situations,” he said.

With 1:21 to go in the game, the Huskies thundered back to pull even yet again. This time it was Aurard who was in the perfect position to poke home a rebound off a shot from the point by second-year defenseman Skylar Fontaine. Down the stretch with ten seconds to go in regulation, Frankel came up huge, stopping a breakaway chance for BC’s Caitrin Lonergan.

The teams headed to overtime tied 4-4 as sixty minutes of regulation failed to decide the tilt. Midway through the extra session the Huskies capped off the thrilling game with a dramatic goal by first-year forward Mia Brown.  

“It was an awesome play by [Brooke] Hobson who took it out front and Mia was in the right spot and it was certainly an emotional moment for us all,” Mueller said. “Mia has played great for us, she is a big body, she is strong and if she goes in front of the net it’s always dangerous.”

When all was said and done, the Huskies reigned superior in the battle of Beantown powerhouses. Perhaps Mueller summed up the unforgettable game best, speaking with a huge smile on her face.

“Winning after coming back like that is the most beautiful win. We were screaming and it was just a lot of fun. That’s why we practice all the time. That’s why we play hockey.”