Northeastern wins rematch of last year’s women’s Hockey East championship

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Northeastern wins rematch of last year’s women’s Hockey East championship

Senior defender Maddie Hartman scores a goal with seconds remaining against UConn. / Photo by Dylan Shen.

Senior defender Maddie Hartman scores a goal with seconds remaining against UConn. / Photo by Dylan Shen.

Dylan Shen

Senior defender Maddie Hartman scores a goal with seconds remaining against UConn. / Photo by Dylan Shen.

Dylan Shen

Dylan Shen

Senior defender Maddie Hartman scores a goal with seconds remaining against UConn. / Photo by Dylan Shen.

Mike Puzzanghera, sports editor

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In the first battle for Husky supremacy since last year’s Hockey East championship game, it was Northeastern who took home the two points by erasing an early deficit to win 5-2 over the University of Connecticut Friday.

Northeastern (16-3-3, 14-2-2 Hockey East) seized victory in last season’s championship game over UConn (13-10-1, 8-8-1 Hockey East) by a final score of 2-1 and claimed their first Hockey East title.

Northeastern struck first at 3:43 in the opening period Friday, when junior forward Andrea Renner fired a low pass across the ice and into the path of junior forward Matti Hartman at the left pipe. Hartman hit her first-time shot past UConn goalkeeper Morgan Fisher to give NU the early lead.

But UConn leveled the score on the power play at 5:52, when defender Jaime Fox unloaded a shot from the point that fired past sophomore goalkeeper Aerin Frankel in net for Northeastern.

UConn took the lead later in the first, as forward Catherine Crawley latched onto a loose puck and fired her shot past Frankel, making it 2-1.

After the tough first period, head coach Dave Flint took to the locker room to make some adjustments.

“I told them, ‘[UConn] just outworked us for 20 minutes,’” Flint said. “That was my initial message before the game, that they had done a lot of homework. They’re a blue-collar team, they work hard and they’ll outwork you if you don’t put in the effort.”

In the second period, Northeastern level on the power play. Sophomore forward Veronika Pettey ripped a snipe off a pass from junior defender Codie Cross, straight into the top corner of the net across the keeper. Freshman forward Alina Mueller extended her point streak to 21 games with the secondary assist.

Northeastern had the lead before the period ended, as Mueller redirected a shot and found the net to give them a 3-2 lead. Senior defender Maddie Hartman fired a shot from the point, and Mueller used her stick to flick the puck past Fisher.

“I actually said in the locker room ‘I don’t know how I tipped that,’ but I knew it was just a good shot [by Maddie Hartman] — I knew she would shoot it and I just tried to get my stick on the puck,” Mueller said. “It was a lucky bounce.”

Senior forward Kasidy Anderson made it 4-2 with only five seconds left in the second period. Northeastern moved forward on a 3-on-1 break, and, after exchanging passes brilliantly with Mueller and senior forward Tori Sullivan, slid her shot home.

“It was a pretty nice goal,” Mueller said. “Kas [Kasidy Anderson] passed it to me and I saw Tori, and I passed to her, and she made a good pass to Kas. We just tried to pass the puck fast, and it worked out.”

With merely seconds left in the game, Maddie Hartman made it five for Northeastern, ripping a shot from the point that beat Fisher and found the back of the net.

It was Northeastern’s second game in a row playing without star freshman forward Chloe Aurard, who went off injured in a game against Boston College Jan. 11. Yet the Huskies scored five goals in both games since then, despite not having one of their leading scorers.

“We kind of played for Chloe a little bit,” Mueller said. “Tori played a nice game instead of Chloe. It doesn’t really matter who’s on the ice — we just need to work hard and get it going.”

After losing a heartbreaking game to Boston College 7-5 on Saturday, Northeastern bounced back in a huge way, holding the UConn offense to just two early goals before sharpening up at the back.

“It’s resiliency,” Flint said. “We’ve had it all year long. It was a tough week for us in practice. Aurard was out, Sullivan didn’t practice most of the week, we had four kids that were sick. They were beat up and sick, and for them to gut it all to get a big win shows their resiliency this year.”

With the win, Northeastern increases their lead at the top of Hockey East to eight points. Their conference record improves to 14-2-2, and they gain their 30th point of the conference season.

“It’s always a tough game when you’re playing UConn, so we got up for it,” Flint said. “We’re learning to get up for every team in our league after that tough Holy Cross loss in November.”

The two Huskies play each other again on Saturday, as Northeastern travels to Connecticut for the second of a home-and-home.