Women’s hockey keeps win streak alive with 2-1 win over Maine

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Women’s hockey keeps win streak alive with 2-1 win over Maine

Freshman forward Katy Knoll secured the game-winning goal against Maine.

Freshman forward Katy Knoll secured the game-winning goal against Maine.

Samantha Barry

Freshman forward Katy Knoll secured the game-winning goal against Maine.

Samantha Barry

Samantha Barry

Freshman forward Katy Knoll secured the game-winning goal against Maine.

George Barker, deputy sports editor

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Northeastern women’s hockey came up with its seventh straight victory Saturday at Matthews Arena, defeating the visiting Maine Black Bears by a score of 2-1 off the strength of freshman forward Katy Knoll’s third-period tally.

Spectators were treated to a physical goaltending battle, as the Huskies (12-1-0, 9-1 HEA) sent 39 shots on goal, but were turned away all but two times. Maine (5-6-2, 3-5-1 HEA) managed 21 shots of their own to earn a goal, but couldn’t beat NU’s NCAA-best penalty kill unit on any of their five power plays. The teams combined for 22 penalty minutes.

“I thought it was a good game and we played well. I would’ve liked to see us capitalize on a few more chances,” said NU head coach Dave Flint. “Credit to Maine though, their goalie played well but they were also really disciplined. They limited odd-man rushes and contained us. Happy we came out on the winning end.”

Junior goalie Aerin Frankel shined with 20 saves while Maine senior netminder Carly Jackson did her best to keep the Black Bears close with 37 saves of her own. Each goalie had their fair share of highlight reel stops. 

The Huskies have now allowed just two goals in their past five games and haven’t surrendered more than one tally since Oct. 12 against Syracuse. 

“It starts with your goaltending, we have amazing goaltending so we are lucky there. It is also a credit to our D. They do what they’re supposed to do, they’re steady. The team has bought into a defensive game,” Flint said. “I always preach that if we are good in our own end and take care of that, we will be successful, and we have been so far.”

The game started with an on-ice celebration of head coach Dave Flint’s 211th program win, making him the winningest coach in NU women’s hockey history. 

“It was a pretty special ceremony, having my family here and my parents were up in the stands. I’m very appreciative of the university for recognizing that and it was a really special occasion,” said Flint, who also recently picked up his 300th career win as a head coach. 

After the ceremony, Flint’s squad got off to a hot start and dominated puck possession while prodding Jackson with plenty of shots. Jackson faced a whopping 20 shots in the first period, but was strong and only allowed a single goal. 

“It was a good game, they were competitive. We knew they were going to be, they have a great goalie behind them, so for us it was really about getting traffic in front of her and getting our shots through,” Knoll said. 

The persistent Husky attack finally broke through with a little over six minutes remaining in the first on a nifty goal from junior blueliner Skylar Fontaine. Sophomore forward Alina Mueller took the puck behind the net and found Fontaine near the edge of the faceoff circle. Fontaine crushed a crisp one-time goal from her knee top shelf, giving the Huskies a 1-0 lead heading into the second. 

The tally brought Fontaine’s point streak up to an impressive six games while Mueller’s assist brought her own streak to five games. Sophomore forward Chloe Aurard was credited with an assist as well, bringing her point total up to 15 on the season. 

The second period brought a bit more of a balanced game to the ice. NU and Maine traded shots, a drastically different reality compared to the first period. After a quiet first where she faced only six shots, Frankel had a more difficult test, particularly on a Maine power play that started in the 13th minute. Maine finally cashed in halfway through the second, making them the first team to score against NU since UNH did Nov. 15. 

A three-on-one breakaway chance for the Black Bears gave sophomore forward Celine Tedenby an open net that Frankel couldn’t slide across to cover, allowing Tedenby to tap it in off a sharp pass from fellow sophomore forward Ali Beltz, who had drawn the Husky netminder away from her teammate. Freshman forward Ida Kuoppala also earned an assist on the game-tying goal for her breakout pass to Beltz to kick off the scoring chance.

Tempers seemed to spark a bit in the third after what was a physical game throughout. Three quick penalties were called at the beginning of the frame, triggering a couple of power-play and four-on-four chances. Defense and goaltending stayed sharp, though, as Frankel and Jackson continued their strong games. Near the end of the period, a scramble in the Huskies’ zone sent a Maine Black Bear flying into the boards, but no penalty was called after an official review. 

After a seemingly continuous onslaught of shots that Jackson turned away, the Huskies finally broke through for the game-winning goal. Knoll followed junior defender Brooke Hobson’s shot, punching it in from Jackson’s pads to give the Huskies a late one-goal lead they would take to the end. Mueller earned her second assist of the game for her redirection of Hobson’s shot, giving her nine points in her last five games. 

“Thankfully, on my goal, we had a nice tip by Alina on Hobby’s shot, and I was able to crash the net. [The puck] was loose a little so I was able to put it in, and that was really what we were preaching all throughout the game, especially in between the second and third,” Knoll said. “We knew it was going to be a hard 20 minutes in the third, so we really needed to get people in front of her, and that is what we did.”

The Huskies face Maine tomorrow afternoon at 2 p.m. for what should be an exciting rematch at Matthews.