No. 2 women’s hockey ends season with a 4-1 win over UVM, 13-game win streak


Jordan Baron

13 wins in a row for the Huskies, who finish the regular season with a 17-1-1 record.

George Barker, news staff

The No. 2 women’s hockey team’s spectacular regular season has officially come to an end after one more victory, this one coming against the University of Vermont Catamounts on the road. UVM looked strong in the face of excellent competition again, but just didn’t have enough finish to their game to top NU’s goal scorers and goaltender in a 4-1 Husky victory.

“[This weekend was] the biggest test we’ve had in a while. I think it was good for us to prepare for the playoffs, because that’s what we’re going to see, that type of intensity, and we need to be ready for it. I thought for the most part, we matched their intensity,” said head coach Dave Flint, who felt his team was better today compared to yesterday. “I think we had a couple little lulls in our play, but I felt like we recognized when we had those lulls and we ramped it back up. I think Vermont is a very good team that we could potentially see in the playoffs again, because I think they’re going to make a push in the playoffs.” 

UVM (6-4-0, 6-4-0 HEA) again gave NU (17-1-1, 17-1-1 HEA) a fight, forcing senior netminder Aerin Frankel to make 24 saves, including 11 in the third, but her strong play in net kept the Catamounts from finishing on all but one of their scoring chances. On the other end of the ice, the Huskies did a solid job of creating chaos in front of UVM freshman netminder Jessie McPherson and were able to score a couple breakaway goals too. Junior winger Chloé Aurard was able to secure her 100th career point in the second period of the game on an assist and grabbed point No. 101 on a nifty third period goal to ice the game for NU. 

“She’s been a huge part of our success the last few years, and she comes up with big goals or big plays time and time again,” Flint said. “The one thing I’ve seen really improve in her game is the defensive side of it, too. Tonight, it was great to see her get her 100th point.”

NU will finish the season as the top seed in Hockey East, priming them for a postseason tournament that looks quite different from ones from years past, including more single elimination contests. Flint’s belief that his team can succeed in the Hockey East tournament and beyond is one thing that’s remained true from last year’s tournament though, and a couple of wins against one of Hockey East’s top teams this year only affirmed that. 

“We got most of the parts back from last year and some good young kids. We’re playing well, and things are gelling for us right now,” Flint said. “Obviously, it’s different, and this year’s playoffs are just single elimination, so anything can happen. We need to be ready, and the important thing too is we got to stay healthy.”

Sunday afternoon’s goal came a bit quicker than Saturday’s, even though today’s first period featured fewer scoring chances for both teams. Knoll didn’t care though, taking a pass from Frankel 14 minutes into the game and ripping up the left wing, past one UVM defender and in between two more, showing the zone-to-zone speed and aggression that has become her calling card. Once she could bear down on McPherson’s net, she sent a shot with as much urgency as her skating, grabbing her 10th goal of the season and giving her goalie a coveted assist, the second of the season for Frankel and the fourth of her career.  

UVM showed flashes in the second period, mainly in the middle of the period, and looked poised to grab a game-tying goal. Excellent play by Frankel kept them from finishing on their flashes though, and after a TV timeout with just a few minutes left in the second, NU was able to get back on the board twice in two minutes. 

“I said to them, ‘Hey, the ice is tilted in the wrong direction right now. We need to take the momentum back from them … Let’s ramp it up and try to get a couple [goals],’” said Flint as he  described the timeout. “We flipped the tables on them, and I felt like the last five minutes of play was in their end a little bit more, and we got those two big goals.”

The first goal came on a two-on-one chance by junior center Alina Mueller and redshirt junior wing Maureen Murphy just after breaking the dam of UVM’s forecheck. Murphy carried the puck through UVM’s zone and held it long enough to force McPherson to cover the short-side post, at which point Murphy zipped a pass across to Mueller, giving Mueller an open net to shoot on for her ninth goal of the year. Two minutes later, an attempted centering pass from redshirt senior Andrea Renner was tipped by a UVM stick directly to the trailing senior blueliner Brooke Hobson, who put her full momentum into a shot as soon as she found the loose puck to beat McPherson and give her squad a 3-0 lead with a minute to go before the final intermission. 

UVM continued to fight though, and just under three minutes into the final stanza, showed signs of a comeback. Catamount sophomore center Hailey Burns won a faceoff to sophomore blueliner Sara Levesque, who sat on the puck for a second as traffic began to cloud Frankel’s view of the puck. Levesque then fired a shot that just escaped the Husky netminder’s glove for her second goal of the season. 

I thought [in the] third period, we weren’t great, but we did what we needed to do. Credit to [UVM], they came at us hard and they never let up once. [That’s] a sign of a good team,” Flint said. “We had to weather a couple storms, Frankel had to make a couple nice saves there in the third to keep the score what it was and Chloé stepped up with a big goal there to ice the game.”

UVM’s attempted comeback effort stayed afloat for a bit longer, until Aurard put her mark on the game with nine minutes to go. After a faceoff win in NU’s zone by the Catamounts, Aurard took it upon herself to steal the puck and fly all the way down the ice á la Knoll’s goal from earlier, and went from a top speed to a complete stop just inches away from McPherson, fooling the goalie and her coach to give herself a chance to pop in her 13th goal of the year, which ties her with Wisconsin senior forward Daryl Watts for the second most goals in the nation. 

“She came in and I thought she ran out of real estate in front of that goalie, and she made that quick move and tucked it back. It was quite a goal and that ultimately iced the game for us,” Flint said. 

The win sets NU’s final record at an absurd 17-1-1, with their last loss coming against Boston College (13-4-0, 13-4-0 HEA) Dec. 13 in their second game of the year. They hold the nation’s longest unbeaten streak with 16 wins and a tie since that contest and a 13-game win streak to boot. Their first playoff opponent is not yet known, as there are still more games to be played this weekend, but whoever has the arduous task of facing NU in the first round should be concerned.