Northeastern advances to Hockey East championship after 3-1 semifinals victory


Kayla Shiao

The Northeastern women’s ice hockey team beat University of Maine 3-1 in the Hockey East semifinals.

Julia Yohe, news staff

The Northeastern women’s ice hockey team (29-4-2, 21-3-2 HE) beat University of Maine (15-19-1, 12-13-1 HE) 3-1 in the Hockey East semifinals Wednesday night.

For the Huskies, the victory was another step toward a fifth-straight Hockey East title.

Wednesday’s meeting was the fourth of the season for the two teams. Northeastern came out of each of the previous games victorious, beating Maine 3-0, 8-1 and 2-0. The Huskies were confident about securing a semifinals win, and the Bears wanted revenge. 

The game had a slow start. NU’s offense lacked its usual grit and speed in the beginning of the first period. The puck spent much of the first period in the Northeastern zone, putting pressure on the defensemen, who stood their ground. Despite Maine’s attacks on Frankel, the Bears only racked up three shots on goal in the first period. 

Northeastern’s offense was still asleep at the start of the second period, but graduate student forward Maddie Mills’ hooking penalty woke them up. Mills, invigorated by her time in the penalty box, broke the scoreless deadlock and put the Huskies on the board just 10 seconds after her penalty ended. As Mills brought the puck up the ice, she was surrounded by Maine’s defense. She passed the puck to senior forward Chloé Aurard, who pushed it into Maine sophomore goaltender Jorden Mattison’s pads. The puck bounced off the goalie into the air, and Mills smacked it down into the net. Mills’ goal was also assisted by senior forward Alina Mueller. Mueller assisted all three of Northeastern’s goals Wednesday night, bringing her record-breaking career assists total to 121.

To add to its misfortune, Maine received a two-minute minor for hooking shortly after Northeastern’s first goal. Northeastern senior forward Maureen Murphy, following Mills’ lead, scored a goal of her own one minute into the Husky power play. Murphy leads the NCAA in power play goals scored. This was her 13th of the season.

The second period ended with a cross-checking penalty on Northeastern junior forward Katy Knoll. Despite Maine’s advantage, Northeastern’s 2-0 lead remained undisturbed for the last two minutes of the second period.

Six minutes into the third period, a body-checking penalty sent Northeastern graduate student forward Tessa Ward into the penalty box. This time, the Bears were determined to use the  power play. Junior forward Ida Kuoppala snuck the puck past Northeastern graduate student goaltender Aerin Frankel a minute into the power play, decreasing NU’s comfortable lead to one.  

Murphy pushed one final shot into the net with 10 minutes left in the game, bringing the score to its final 3-1 and reinstating Northeastern’s two-goal lead. Murphy is now tied for first in the NCAA for most goals scored this season with 29.

Northeastern continued its bid for an unprecedented fifth-straight Hockey East title in the Hockey East championship against University of Connecticut March 5 at Matthews Arena. Northeastern won 3-1 and will now advance to the NCAA championship.