Hobson’s OT winner gives women’s hockey dramatic comeback win


File photo by Dylan Shen

Junior defender Brooke Hobson evades the defense in a game against UConn last season.

Mike Puzzanghera, sports editor

After battling back to tie the game late in the third, it took less than three minutes in the overtime period for sophomore defender Brooke Hobson to rifle in a late winner to give the Huskies a dramatic comeback win over Vermont, 2-1.

Northeastern (18-3-3, 16-2-2 Hockey East) returned home Friday night to face the Catamounts (7-15-4, 5-12-2 Hockey East) after a 4-1 road win against Connecticut Jan. 19.

After an almost-full week of rest, the Huskies struggled to get anything going early on, surviving an early spell of Vermont pressure thanks to a save from Aerin Frankel in net before failing to score on a late chance with multiple shots from point-blank range. Vermont keeper Melissa Black ended the period with ten saves, denying Northeastern with some solid stops that only got better as the first frame wore on.

“I let them know at the first TV break there that they weren’t moving their feet, and we did the same thing against UConn last Friday,” head coach Dave Flint said. “It was the first thing I said in my pregame speech, we’ve got to come out fast, we’ve got to be ready, and we weren’t.”

The rust simply wouldn’t shake off, as it was Vermont who struck with the first goal early in the second period. Forward Val Caldwell picked up a loose puck and brilliantly made her way around Frankel before sliding the puck into an empty net to make it 1-0.

Freshman forward Alina Mueller came close for NU during a four-on-four situation, ripping a shot off the bar as the Huskies finally began to mount some pressure.

Mueller hit the pipe again, this time in a separate four-on-four later in the second. Sophomore defender Skylar Fontaine found her with a pass and Mueller took aim at the net, but her shot nicked the outside of the post and rebounded away.

Despite all the pressure, Vermont kept the lead going into the locker room at the end of the second. Black continued to be the difference, adding 10 more saves and keeping the dangerous Northeastern attack in check.

Ever resilient, the Huskies pressed on, and finally found the equalizing goal through Fontaine. At 17:00, Fontaine latched onto the puck and took it coast-to-coast, using her speed to beat the entire Vermont defense before finishing past Black at the left pipe. It was the Huskies’ 36th shot on goal of the night, and it ended Black’s shutout bid.

“I saw the girl, she went to pass it to the wing high, so I just kinda picked it off, skated down, and I didn’t really have an angle but I saw a small corner, so I tried for it, and it went in,” Fontaine said.

The goal breathed life into the NU bench, and they continued to press, but could not find a winner before the overtime period.

Finally, the Huskies found their winner at 2:51 in overtime by Hobson. Senior forward Tori Sullivan won the puck in the attacking zone, and she found Hobson making a rush forward. Hobson took the shot after a few touches, lasering the puck into the back of the net off the right pipe and wrapping up a phenomenal comeback win for Northeastern.

“I saw Tori with the puck, smart player with the puck, I knew she was going to do something,” Hobson said. “I found a spot, called for the puck and she fed it perfectly and finally, a post that went in after all those chances we had.”

With 37 shots on goal compared to Vermont’s 16, the Huskies were the ones mounting the pressure for the rest of the game after Vermont took the lead. Once they struck one back, the belief began to sink into the minds of the team.

“It was a huge sigh of relief,” Flint said. “I don’t know how many posts Alina hit tonight, we missed an open net, their goalie made some unbelievable saves. So all of a sudden everybody starts gripping their sticks a little bit tighter. Skylar comes up with a huge play, goes in, I think everybody kind of went ‘Okay, now here we go.’ That gave them a little extra life, and then we got it done in overtime.”

It was the Huskies second overtime win of the season, the first coming against Boston College Nov. 27. They took that game 5-4 off a goal from freshman forward Mia Brown. But this comeback victory meant something a little more to NU.

“I think it just shows us that no matter what, we can come back as long as we stick together and stay united,” Fontaine said.

The Huskies and Catamounts will battle again tomorrow afternoon at Matthews Arena, but any effort to top the incredible game tonight will likely prove to be futile.