No. 3/4 women’s hockey secures hard-fought 3-1 win over visiting UNH


Jordan Baron

The Huskies defended well, allowing UNH just one goal in their win Friday night.

George Barker, news staff

The No. 3/4 women’s hockey team picked up another win Friday evening, squeaking out a win over the visiting University of New Hampshire Wildcats by a tally of 3-1. Once again, the Huskies had a bit of a slow start in the contest, but were able to ride a strong first period from senior goaltender Aerin Frankel, an overwhelming shot total and impressive forechecking in the final two periods to a victory. 

“I’ll take a win any day of the week. I think we still have quite a few things we need to clean up. I thought at times our execution was good, and I thought at times our execution was not so good,” said associate head coach Nick Carpenito. “I think moving forward, both myself, our staff and our team knows that we have a lot more to offer.”

Frankel’s strong play earned her yet another NU (4-1-0, 4-1-0 HEA) record, as her 62nd career win set a new standard in the NU record books. 

“It’s obviously an honor to be up on that list with some of the best goalies that have come through this program, but … I feel like it’s a team record and I think we’ve had such a strong team these past few years,” Frankel said. “They’ve made my life pretty easy.”

The Huskies got considerably better as the game went on. In the first period, Frankel and strong forechecking by their third line kept them afloat on tilted ice. NU flipped the script in the latter two periods though, taking control of the shot total over the last 40 minutes and outshooting the Wildcats 34-12. 

“Earlier in the game, there were longer spurts that we weren’t moving our feet, and as the game went on, I thought that, we were cleaning up that aspect quite a bit,” said Carpenito.

He felt that the team didn’t leverage their speed enough throughout the contest. In the first period, that showed up most prominently in NU’s own zone. 

In what’s becoming a theme for them though, they ran into a strong goaltender, as redshirt junior Ava Boutilier boosted her career .929 save percentage by turning away 38 of the 40 shots she faced. Frankel played well throughout, starring in the first and third periods to keep the Huskies’ slim lead alive, stopping 25 of UNH’s 26 shots on net. 

The Huskies’ first goal came on a wonderful shift from senior forward Katie Cipra, who first made a veteran play to hesitate before dumping the puck into the UNH zone, giving her linemates a chance to pour over the boards. Her brief pause gave senior defenseman Lauren MacInnis a chance to rob UNH of the puck and dish it back off to Cipra, who showed off her stickwork with an impressive deke just in front of Boutilier followed by a strong top-shelf backhander to break the seal on the game, giving Cipra her first goal of the season and the Huskies a late first period lead. MacInnis picked up an assist for her effort, the first point of her campaign thus far. 

“[Cipra’s] got some of the best hands I’ve seen in a long time … She makes it look effortless. If you give that kid a little bit of space, she’s going to make you pay and to have somebody with that talent on our fourth line … I think it speaks so much to our depth and I think it’s a reason why we’re so successful,” Carpenito said. 

Frankel had to work hard in the closing minutes of the first to keep that lead alive, as the Husky skaters struggled to control the tempo of the first stanza. A few costly turnovers gave UNH multiple golden scoring chances, but as usual, Frankel was strong enough to turn them away. 

The Huskies’ second goal came from a tip-in by their leading scorer, sophomore center Katy Knoll, who now has three goals early in the season. After being outshot 14-7 in the first, they bounced back and got plenty of shots of their own, one of which initially came from sophomore blueliner Megan Carter from the edge of UNH’s zone. Carter sent a flying puck toward the net, but on it’s way, Knoll redirected it, making the shot a bit too tricky for Boutilier to stop, giving the Huskies a 2-0 lead early in the second.

The two-goal lead would be cut to one just over eight minutes later though, as an odd-man rush for the Wildcats gave them their first and only tally of the evening. Freshman Lily Yovetich took the passing option away from UNH freshman center Brianna Brooks, so Brooks opted to shoot instead. Frankel got her body on the shot, but the puck had just enough momentum to get over Frankel’s effort and sneak into the goal midway through the second, bringing the score to 2-1. 

“It was definitely a little bit of an unfortunate bounce. I think I made the stop and the puck actually bounced up and went behind me,” Frankel said. “There’s some tough bounces that we’re gonna run into … and that’s just hockey. The puck bounces a lot of different ways, but I think we responded really well to it, so I got no complaints.”

The Huskies fell back a bit on their laurels again in the third period, but strong goaltending by Frankel kept their one-goal lead alive long enough for freshman Ani FitzGerald to draw a major penalty just under eight minutes into the last period. Freshman Nicole Kelly was whistled and given a game misconduct for making contact with the NU winger’s head. 

But for the 19th time this season, the power-play unit was held off the board. Like their series against Maine, the power-play unit got the puck into dangerous areas, but they were held up by missed shots and strong play by their opposing goalie. NU’s power-play squad has yet to score a goal this season, but the five minute stretch on the man advantage gave them the momentum they needed to carry their one goal lead into the end of the contest. 

“I thought we had great chances, and I think that there are a couple things that we didn’t execute quite the way we wanted to. All it takes is one, and I really do think that the floodgates are going to open for us on the special teams,” Carpenito said. “The opportunities are certainly there, we just got to figure out how to get it  past the goalie.”

The Huskies had one penalty of their own to kill at the end of the third, as FitzGerald picked up a minor for goaltending interference. That half of NU’s special team’s unit got the job done though, blanking the Wildcats’ power-play unit for the fourth time in the contest to close the game out, and as Boutilier left her net to give the Wildcats a six-on-four advantage, senior forward Tessa Ward was able to pot a third goal NU to ice the game and secure her first of the season, a much deserved reward for her and her line’s excellent forechecking throughout the contest. 

“[The third line’s] job is to grind down the opposition and get on pucks quick, get pucks behind their [defense]… Mia [Brown], Tessa [Ward] and Peyton [Anderson], they have speed, they have grit, they have heavy shots,” Carpenito said. “They do a really good job creating turnovers and turning those turnovers into opportunities. The floodgate is going to open for that line really quick if they keep doing what they’re doing.”

The Huskies’ next contest will come tonight at 6 p.m. again against the Wildcats, this time in Durham, N.H., where NU will look to win their eleventh straight meeting with UNH.