Huskies prove top-dog status in 3-2 preseason triumph over Boston Pride


Taina Lorenzana

Sophomore defenseman Taylor Guarino clashes with The Boston Pride in a race to the puck.

Julia Yohe, deputy sports editor

Northeastern University’s women’s ice hockey team made a roaring debut Sunday afternoon with a 3-2 victory over the Boston Pride

The Huskies faced the Pride, a professional women’s ice hockey team in the Premiere Hockey Federation, in a preseason exhibition scrimmage at Matthews Arena.

The game served as a boost in Husky morale after a frustrating season-ending loss in the semifinals round of the NCAA’s Frozen Four in March. The Huskies, fresh off their fifth-straight Hockey East Championship win and enjoying a second consecutive trip to the Frozen Four, fell 1-2 to the University of Minnesota Duluth in overtime.

Despite the tournament defeat, Northeastern’s 2021-22 season was nothing to be ashamed of. The team came home from the national championship with a 31-5-2 overall record.

Although the 2021-22 season saw key players like defenseman Skylar Fontaine, goaltender Aerin Frankel and 10 others graduate, this season welcomes 10 new players — eight freshmen and two transfer students — into the teams’ vacancies. 

“Honestly, going into the game, I was like, ‘Hey, I hope we can hold on,’” coach David Flint told The News after the game, reflecting on the Pride’s roster, which includes Olympians, All-American players and two Patty Kazmainer winners. “But I thought overall we played good from the goal line out. A lot of positives to take away from that game.”

The exhibition was a warm-up for Northeastern; it provided a chance for the veterans to start developing on-ice chemistry with the new additions to the team, gave the rookies a taste of high-level hockey and helped Flint gauge where his team stands going into the regular season. 

“I thought [all the freshmen] were pretty solid,” Flint said. “[There were] little freshmen mistakes, but overall, they impressed me. I really wasn’t sure how this was gonna go. We kind of threw them right to the wolves. You know, they’re playing high-level, way higher than they’re used to playing, and they held their own and did fine.”

The team’s Harvard transfer, sophomore forward Taze Thompson, played a key role in securing two of Northeastern’s three goals. Aided by speedy senior forward Katy Knoll and dexterous sophomore forward Skylar Irving, Thompson fired the puck past Pride goaltender Corrine Shroeder just 48 seconds into regulation.

The offensive line took to the net again eight minutes later. As Thompson, Irving and Knoll sailed towards the crease, Irving fired a shot into Shroeder’s pads. Knoll, a reliable and consistently aggressive player, quickly found the puck and drilled it into the net on a rebound before Shroeder could recover from the first save. The Huskies were up 2-0.

Surprised by Northeastern’s ferocity and determined to make a comeback, the Pride amped up its efforts in the second half of the first period and lit into Northeastern senior netminder Gwenyth Philips, blasting shot after shot into her gear.

Philips, who spent the last three years patiently waiting on the bench and serving under Frankel, stood strong under the Pride’s professional-level pressure, letting only two goals in.

The first came under a poorly-timed Husky line change. With no Husky defense in front of the net to stop her, Pride defenseman Kali Flanagan earned the Pride’s first point with just under three minutes left in the first. 

Two minutes later, with just 23 seconds left in the first period, Philips miscalculated the puck’s location and dove out of her crease, creating a perfect window for Pride forward McKenna Brand to gently flick the puck beside Philips into the net. Northeastern graduate student forward Mia Brown swooped into the net to stop the puck, but to no avail. The Pride tied the game, and the first period came to a close.

The second period was slow and uneventful. Northeastern’s defense came back to the ice groggily, allowing the Pride to maintain control of the puck through most of the period. Though the second period saw no increase in score, both teams grew much more physical than they were in the first. The players’ physicality landed the teams one penalty each.

By the third period, the Huskies were a completely revamped team. They were forceful and energetic, obviously on the prowl for another goal. 

The period also saw a shift in Husky goaltending. Both senior goaltender Alexa Matses and sophomore netminder Paige Taborski fought the puck in the final period.

For Taborski, it was her first chance to show off her skills on Northeastern ice. Because the 2021-22 roster had four goalies, Taborski, the youngest of the four, was taken on as a redshirt. Against the Pride, however, she earned her spot on the bench.

“This is her first real action,” Flint said of his newest goalie. “She got tested and she did awesome.”

Led by captain and graduate student forward Alina Mueller, Northeastern secured its third goal and increased the score to 3-2.

The three-time Olympian, alongside graduate student forwards Maureen Murphy and Chloe Aurard, used her familiar agility and creativity to overpower Shroeder’s defense.

The clock ran out with the Huskies still in the lead. 

Following regulation was an informal three-on-three overtime practice period. Knoll scored her second goal of the scrimmage, driving the Husky victory home. 

Northeastern’s regular season will begin Friday, Sept. 30 with a two-game series against Long Island University at Matthews Arena. 

Flint said he and his team are excited for opening weekend and prepared for the rest of this season.

“With this team, the sky’s the limit,” Flint said. “We’ve got a ton of talent. We’ve got some really good veteran leadership. So, for us, we’ve just got to bring it every day and be ready.”