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Women’s hockey beats Vermont 7-2 on the back of seven different scorers

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Women’s hockey beats Vermont 7-2 on the back of seven different scorers

Junior defender Codie Cross moves the puck up the ice in a prior game against Vermont. Cross scored three points Friday on a goal and two assists.

Junior defender Codie Cross moves the puck up the ice in a prior game against Vermont. Cross scored three points Friday on a goal and two assists.

Dylan Shen

Junior defender Codie Cross moves the puck up the ice in a prior game against Vermont. Cross scored three points Friday on a goal and two assists.

Dylan Shen

Dylan Shen

Junior defender Codie Cross moves the puck up the ice in a prior game against Vermont. Cross scored three points Friday on a goal and two assists.

Mike Puzzanghera, sports editor

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Northeastern’s Hockey East playoff campaign began with a bang Friday, as they got five multi-point performances on their way to a 7-2 win over Vermont in the first of a best-of-three series.

The Huskies (24-5-5, 21-3-3 WHEA) faced off against the Catamounts (10-19-6, 8-15-4 WHEA) at Matthews Arena for their first playoff game of the season. After a strong regular season, the Huskies claimed the top seed in the conference, matching them up with eighth-seeded Vermont in the first round.

With less than six minutes off the clock, the Huskies got the start they were hoping for, with sophomore forward Veronika Pettey finishing off a beautiful cross from Skylar Fontaine. Fontaine won the puck in the neutral zone and raced ahead with Pettey and Matti Hartman, making cuts to the net. Fontaine found Pettey all alone at the back post and she did not miss, placing her one-timer low past Vermont goalkeeper Blanka Skodova.

Less than a minute later the Huskies had two, with senior forward Kasidy Anderson scoring unassisted at 6:36. Anderson chased down Vermont defender Ellice Murphy and won the puck, breaking through on goal with only Skodova to beat. She waited for an opening and found one between the legs of Skodova, scoring her 19th of the year and giving NU a two-goal lead.

NU would not stop the early onslaught, finding a third goal on the power play. Fontaine took a pass from junior forward Andrea Renner and, thanks to a great screen in front by Mia Brown, she was able to rifle a shot past Skodova at the near post. The goal caused a goalkeeping change for Vermont, with Melissa Black replacing Skodova.

“We were just moving the puck quick, I got it from Renner and held it, and they drop a lot, so I held it for one more second and there was just no one there so I shot,” Fontaine said.

Vermont fought back late in the period, scoring two goals to tighten the game up. The first came from forward Alyssa Holmes, who received a pass in front and made no mistake in firing low past NU goalkeeper Aerin Frankel.

Forward Corinne McCool scored the second for the Catamounts, dangling past a NU defender and finding space on the rush to beat Frankel five-hole.

After losing their early momentum, the Huskies desperately needed the break at the end of the first to regroup and come back out stronger.

“We tell them, ‘It’s playoffs; anything can happen and we can’t lay down, because the other team’s not going to stop,’” assistant coach Lindsay Berman said. “We knew that we had to come out the next period the way we did to start the game, and they did, so they responded well.”

At the start of the second, the Huskies restored their earlier two-goal advantage with a goal from sophomore defender Brooke Hobson. Anderson played her pass across to Alina Mueller, who got a slight touch to play it on for Hobson, who had acres of space on the left. She launched a wrister off the pipe and in for the Huskies’ fourth of the game and her sixth of the year.

The Huskies wasted no time in getting their lead back up to three, as junior defender Codie Cross scored her first of the year on the power play. Fontaine played a pass across to Hartman, who immediately turned to set up Cross at the point. Cross lined up a slap shot and she roofed her shot to beat Black.

“One of our keys is just moving the puck fast, and we did a really good job at that, and luckily I just got it off my stick and it went in, which was really exciting,” Cross said.

NU would get their third of the period and sixth of the game at 15:47 from sophomore forward Katie Cipra. Renner redirected a pass from junior defender Paige Capistran into Cipra’s line of fire, and she slipped her shot past Black.

At the end of the second, the Huskies had totalled 28 shots on goal, peppering both Skodova and Black with efforts. Black fared much better than Skodova did despite both giving up three goals, making 19 saves compared to Skodova’s three. The Huskies remained on the front foot as the teams went into the locker room.

“I think our team does a really good job at always coming back when we get scored on, that’s just one thing our team does really well, and I don’t think anyone ever gets down so we just know to push it forward,” Cross said.

“We always pick each other up, no matter what,” Fontaine added.

Skodova replaced Black at the start of the third, however, and the Huskies beat her for goal number seven. Fontaine took a low point shot with Brown making a screen in front again, but this time the freshman got a touch on the shot, redirecting with her stick to lift the puck over Skodova for her fourth goal of the season.

Fontaine finished the night with four points, a career high for her and the Huskies’ third four-point effort of the season (Mueller and Chloe Aurard). Cross finished with three points on a goal and two assists and Renner, Anderson and Hartman all had two points.

“We talked about it in the locker room just now, it’s really important to get contributions from the entire team from the goal line out, and to see that many of our players on the score sheet is awesome,” Berman said.

The Huskies’ seven goals are a season-high. The seven scorers narrowly beat out the six they had in a game against Merrimack Feb. 8.

“I think it’s really important that we all know we’re all a huge part of our team’s success and everyone scoring tonight had a huge impact on our team,” Fontaine said. “It’s a big unity thing on our team.”

Northeastern will face Vermont again Saturday at Matthews in the second game of the best-of-three.

“We have a midnight rule,” Berman said. “So today, they go home and they have to forget about this and then move on with a clean slate tomorrow. We know tomorrow when we come back, Vermont’s going to be ready to go and we have to counter that.”

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