Women’s hockey beats UNH to continue perfect start


Photo courtesy of Brian Bae, Red and Black.

Senior forward Matti Hartman positions herself in front of the net in a game against Holy Cross last year.

George Barker, deputy sports editor

Women’s hockey continued to dominate at Matthews Arena Sunday, as the Huskies bested the visiting UNH Wildcats 4-1 in their home opener off the back of two goals from sophomore forward Chloe Aurard and a ridiculous 49 shots on net.  

The Huskies (5-0-0) dominated possession for the majority of the game, doubling UNH (3-2-2) in the shot column as they peppered redshirt sophomore goaltender Ava Boutilier with pucks all game long. She was sharp, but not perfect, giving up just three goals on 48 shots. Northeastern’s Aerin Frankel had a strong game herself, turning away 23 of 24 shots against her. 

“I thought we played hard, I thought we moved the puck well, we generated a lot of offense. Once we got our legs going, I liked how we played,” said head coach Dave Flint. “All the lines were going. Credit to their goalie, she played a great game. It might’ve been five or six to one if she hadn’t been on top of her game.”

The first period was all about the netminders, as the Huskies hung up 14 shots on net while UNH answered with nine challenges for Frankel. Neither goalie made any mistakes, and the period ended scoreless. 

The best chance for NU came when they were handed a one minute five-on-three chance. The Huskies generated a lot of pressure, but they ran into a brick wall as Boutilier made multiple tough saves. Her best moment of the period came when she robbed NU junior defender Skylar Fontaine with a gorgeous cross-crease glove save to keep the game scoreless entering the first intermission. 

The second period was more of the same. Frankel and Boutilier were both strong, as they faced quality scoring chances but neither team cashed in until the Huskies finally broke the drought in the 13th minute of the period. 

The Huskies had a long chance on the man-advantage, as UNH was whistled for a delayed penalty and weren’t able to touch the puck for over a minute. The Huskies didn’t wind up scoring until just after their penalty ended, when freshman forward Katy Knoll laced a pass through traffic that Fontaine sent into the back of the net. Freshman forward Jess Schryver was also credited with an assist. 

NU’s next goal was about as backbreaking a score anyone could muster: a short handed tally with just eight seconds left in the period. Sharp puck handling by sophomore forward Alina Mueller opened up a scoring chance for the Huskies on the kill and she sent a shot on net. Boutilier stopped Mueller’s attempt, but Aurard cleaned up the bouncing rebound and sent a sharp shot five-hole to cash in on the kill. 

“Usually on PK when Alina skates I just follow her in the middle but just kind of stay back in the case we have a turnover,” Aurard said. “She brings the puck to the net and I just followed her shot. On the rebound, the goalie was not there, luckily it went in.”

NU’s penalty killers had a strong game overall, as they not only managed a short-handed tally but they kept the Wildcats from scoring on any of their six power-play opportunities. 

“They’re doing what we ask them to do. They’re disciplined,” Flint said. “I don’t want us taking as many penalties as we have been. They stay within our system and do what we ask them to do and we’re successful there.“

NU’s puck dominance continued in the third, as the Huskies continued to keep the Wildcats off the board and put pressure on Boutilier. 

Aurard found the back of the net again to increase NU’s lead to three. Boutilier stopped a shot from Schryver, but couldn’t control the rebound in traffic. Aurard located the puck and beat the diving netminder to score her second goal of the game in the eighth minute of the third period. Mueller was also credited with an assist on the play. 

With under four minutes to play, UNH looked to crawl back into the game, pulling Boutilier for an extra attacker. The strategy paid off at first, as senior forward Nicole Dunbar finally beat Frankel to shrink the NU lead to two goals. 

It wouldn’t last long though, as the cage on UNH’s side remained empty and junior forward Veronika Pettey iced the game with an empty-net tally from just outside the zone to lock up the 4-1 victory. 

“I just like how we’re playing, we’re progressing every game and we’re getting better every game,” Flint said. 

With the win, the Huskies move to 5-0-0 and 2-0-0 in Hockey East. They’ll look to keep their momentum going when they head down to Providence Friday to face off against the Friars (2-2-2).