Dogfight at Matthews Arena: Northeastern beats UConn 3-2


Sadie Parker

The Northeastern Huskies will be on the road until Dec. 4.

Vitoria Poejo and Sarah Barber

Tensions were high on the ice during Saturday’s Hockey East matchup between No. 1 Northeastern  women’s hockey (11-2-1, 10-2-1 CAA) and No. 2 University of Connecticut (11-2-2, 6-2-2 CAA). It was a dogfight at the historic Matthews Arena, but Northeastern came out victorious with a 3-2 comeback to end the match. 

The last time these Huskies battled it out was during the teams’ run for last year’s conference championship, a game where NU came out victorious, securing their place in the final.

Despite the final score in Saturday’s match, Northeastern struggled to make contact with the goal for the first portion of the game. Defenseman and graduate student Skylar Fontaine and freshman forward Skylar Irving spent two minutes in the penalty box — Fontaine for tripping, Irving for hooking — which resulted in a power play for UConn. 

The 5-3 advantage gave UConn forward Viki Harkness the opportunity to sneak one past goaltender and graduate student Aerin Frankel to bring UConn up 1-0. The visiting Huskies didn’t limit their aggression to the first period, with another goal by UConn’s Katie Thurman in the second, putting them ahead 2-0 with 7:49 left to play. 

“Things like that are gonna happen, and I just had to come out and put [the penalty] behind me, grind to get a goal or help my teammates get a goal and just be as stable as I could as a defenseman,” Fontaine said. That effort was clear — Fontaine was credited with two assists and four shot attempts throughout the match. 

With 18 shot attempts to end the first period, Northeastern had to quickly make sense of UConn’s aggressive defending to take control of the game. 

“The first 10 minutes we were good, but we had those two back-to-back minor penalties and everyone kind of deflated,” head coach Dave Flint said. “UConn was doing a really good job of defending and bottling us up, so we talked [after the first period] about a few changes there to create opportunities.”

Northeastern saw a bit of a reprieve with a power play in the 15th minute giving them the edge and enabling senior forward Chloé Aurard to score the Huskies’ first goal of the match. 

Aurard later left the ice injured, and her current status is unknown, but her goal was the catalyst the team needed. 

The Huskies fought hard in the final period. With momentum on her side, graduate student and forward Maddie Mills tied the game during a second Northeastern power play, and captain defenseman Brooke Hobson made the game winning shot with 5:31 left in the final period. 

“Being down 2-0 is not a place we want to be often, so getting that game-tying goal is just very reassuring,” Mills said.

Northeastern’s comeback put obvious pressure on UConn — down one goal with less than a minute to go, the visiting Huskies opted to leave their net open in a last-ditch effort to bring the game into overtime, but found the attempt unsuccessful. 

“Every time you come into the arena, you never know which way it’s gonna go, and you need to come in prepared. I think that’s something we learned today, we need to give it our all, all the time,” Mills said. “Moving forward, we’re going to take today and use it as an example to keep going, have each other’s backs and promote bench energy.”

The Huskies will travel to New Jersey to play Princeton University Nov. 26 before heading home to play Cornell University in Matthews Arena Dec. 4.