Husky fish fry: Northeastern smokes LIU in opening weekend series

Senior+forward+Katy+Knoll+faces+off+against+LIU.

Valerie O'Neill

Senior forward Katy Knoll faces off against LIU.

Julia Yohe, deputy sports editor

The Northeastern University women’s ice hockey team (2-0-0) opened its 2022-23 season this weekend, sweeping Long Island University (0-4-0), or LIU, in a two-game series. The Huskies beat the Sharks 3-1 Friday, Sept. 30 and 10-1 Saturday, Oct. 1.

The series followed a surprising victory in a preseason exhibition game against Boston’s professional women’s hockey team, the Boston Pride, a game that gave the Huskies a confidence boost ahead of the season.  

Throughout the first game of the weekend, the Huskies were scattered, misjudging passes and letting the puck fly loose in the first period. Neither team scored in the first 20 minutes. 

The Huskies gave up the first goal of the game — a rare feat — when LIU senior forward Mikayla Lantto slid the puck past NU senior goaltender Gwenyth Philips just under six minutes into the second frame.

Thirty-seven seconds later, LIU’s sophomore goaltender Tindra Holm slammed her pads to the ground a split second too late, allowing a slapshot fired by NU senior forward Peyton Anderson to squeak under her, tying the game 1-1.

Freshman defenseman Jules Constantinople earned the second Husky goal midway through the third period. Six minutes later, freshman forward and extra skater Holly Abela finalized the Husky victory with the third and final goal.

The win was welcomed, but head coach Dave Flint said he felt there was work to be done.

“That was one of those games we just had to grind out,” Flint told The News following the game. “It wasn’t our best game, but it’s the first game of the year. I knew there were going to be some bumps in the road.”

Friday’s match was only the second time the team — which has 10 new faces this season — was able to play on the ice in a game setting together. By Saturday afternoon, the Huskies had all their bumps smoothed out. 

“[The team] did some video before the game, went over a few things we needed to clean up,” Flint said. “The first few weeks are just ironing out some little details, and I thought they did well.” 

In Friday’s game, LIU’s Holm only let in three of 63 shots on goal. On Saturday, Northeastern’s offense was tight and smart, sending Holm’s brick wall of defense toppling to the ground with three goals in the first period.

Eight minutes into the first period, graduate student defenseman and University of Vermont transfer Maude Poulin-Labelle took to the ice. Up against the boards and looking to protect the puck, Poulin-Labelle lifted the puck into the air and flung it over three Northeastern players and two LIU players. The puck came down just in front of a scrambling Holm and slid sluggishly beyond the crease. The Huskies were up 1-0.

Graduate student forward Alina Mueller added to Northeastern’s lead, seamlessly evading LIU defense, pulling the puck in front of the net and flicking it up over Holm’s head. 

A mere 16 seconds later, Abela scored her second goal in her second game as a Husky, pulling the score to 3-0.

“This has been such a surreal weekend,” Abela said after Saturday’s game. “I’m so happy to be here with this group of girls playing with them. It’s so awesome.”

The first period ended with an LIU penalty against senior defenseman Lauren Spino that would bleed into the top of the second.

Holm turned her net over to freshman goalie Annie Abramson for the second and third periods. Northeastern’s starting line, packed with Mueller and fellow graduate student forwards Maureen Murphy and Chloe Aurard, dominated the second period, taking the ice to begin the second and finish out the power play. 

Twenty-seven seconds in, Aurard softly and effortlessly lifted the puck into the air with her stick and pushed it behind Abramson’s head, scoring Northeastern’s first power play goal of the season.

Another power play came to the Huskies two minutes into the second period, giving Murphy the opportunity to score the team’s second and final power play goal of the game. 

Two minutes later, Mueller notched her second of the game. While Northeastern junior defenseman Lily Yovetich sat in the penalty box for interference, Mueller stole the puck from LIU’s offense and flew up the ice, scoring the Huskies’ first short-handed goal of the season.

By the end of the second period, the Huskies were up 6-0.

The momentum Northeastern gained in its first six goals propelled it towards four more points in the first 10 minutes of the third period, scored by senior defenseman Katy Knoll, freshman forward Lily Shannon, Abela and Mueller. 

Mueller’s goal, at just under 10 minutes into the third period, was Northeastern’s last of the game. Upon scoring, Mueller completed her first career hat trick with the Huskies.

With seven minutes left in the game, Flint substituted senior goaltender Alexa Matses for Philips, giving Matses her first ice-time of the season.

The Sharks finally found a way to penetrate Northeastern’s defense in the final three seconds of the game when sophomore defenseman Bri Eid snuck a puck past Matses behind the crease.

Flint said he felt more relaxed after Saturday’s game.

“No gray hairs today,” Flint said. “I thought we played well from start to finish … we got the pucks to fall today. It helped when a couple went in early. It takes the pressure off everybody, they’re not gripping their sticks tight, … I thought everybody played great.”

The Northeastern Huskies will return next weekend for a two-game series against the University of Connecticut Huskies, playing first at Matthews Arena Friday, Oct. 7 at 2 p.m.