Huskies send off seniors with shutout win over Terriers


Lauren Salemo

Graduate student forward Alina Müller battles for the puck on a faceoff. Müller, who holds Hockey East’s all-time scoring record with 168 points, will graduate from the program this spring after five years as a Husky.

Amelia Ballingall, deputy sports editor

Emotions ran high on the last day of the regular season for Northeastern women’s hockey (30-2-1, 24-2-1 HE). Family, friends and fans flocked to Matthews Arena to send off the team’s seven graduating members in a rivalry showdown against Boston University (11-18-3, 9-14-3 HE). And the event did not disappoint — the Huskies and the Terriers spent 60 minutes locked in a tense battle, but Northeastern came out victorious, shutting out the visitors 4-0.

In a pre-game ceremony, each of the graduates shook hands with their coaches, accepted bouquets of flowers, and joined their loved ones on the ice to commemorate their time at Northeastern and contributions to the women’s hockey program. The seven honorees included two seniors — goaltender Alexa Matses and forward Kate Holmes — and five graduate students — defenseman Maude Poulin-Labelle and forwards Mia Brown, Chloé Aurard, Maureen Murphy and Alina Müller.

“[I’m] obviously excited for our seniors to send them out in the last regular season game,” said Northeastern head coach Dave Flint. “These games are always tricky because emotions run high.”

The game started slow for both teams. Although Northeastern dominated puck possession, BU put on heavy pressure through the neutral zone and neither team was able to get a shot in the opening minutes of play. 

Four minutes into the matchup, BU freshman defenseman Brooke Disher took a penalty for hooking, giving the Huskies a window to finally take the edge. But the Terriers fought back with a strong penalty kill and limited Northeastern’s chances for the duration of the two-minute minor.

Halfway through the frame, just a few seconds after BU notched its first shot of the night, Disher returned to the box, this time for tripping. 

Just 23 seconds into the power play, the Huskies got on the board. At the blue line, Murphy and Müller played with the puck. Müller aimed through traffic, her shot deflected by BU graduate student goaltender Andrea Brandlï and coming loose out front. Ready for the rebound, senior forward Katy Knoll flipped the puck over Brandlï’s pad to gain the lead. The tally marked Murphy’s 100th career assist. 

“All it was was simple. [Müller] got the puck on net, we outnumber them down low, Katy Knoll bangs in a rebound,” Flint said. 

The ice quickly took a turn in favor of BU when Northeastern sophomore forward Skylar Irving took a penalty for hooking. The Terriers peppered senior goalie Gwyneth Philips with shots, getting plenty of good opportunities, but the Huskies successfully ran down the clock to return to even strength. 

Despite the score and Northeastern’s consistent control of the puck, BU outshot the Huskies 10-8 in the first frame, and the home team was determined to not let that happen again. 

“We just had to pull it together,” Brown said. “We didn’t show up how we wanted to in the first period, so everyone bonded together to make up for it in the last two periods. We wanted to finish the regular season strong, so we just had to come together and finish it.”

The Huskies came back with a vengeance in the second period, only allowing the Terriers three shots in response to Northeastern’s 26. And the score reflected that —- the home team doubled its lead only 3:30 into the frame. 

From the corner of the offensive zone, Brown sent the puck toward the net. Northeastern junior forward Molly Griffin picked up the loose disc in front of Brandlï and wrapped it around the netminder, where it bounced off the skate of BU senior defenseman Nadia Mattivi and into the goal.

Just a minute later, Northeastern got another power play, a result of the Terriers’ mounting frustrations, but Brandlï stood firm between the pipes and BU killed off the penalty.

The Terriers soon got an extended advantage after overlapping penalties on Holmes and senior forward Megan Carter put the Huskies down a player for nearly four straight minutes, including 22 seconds of five-on-three play. But as Northeastern continued to dominate possession, it did not look like a BU power play — in fact, the Terriers were unable to notch a single shot the entire time they had the upper hand.

With 3:55 left in the middle frame, BU took yet another penalty, and with the extra player yet again, Northeastern made sure to show them who was top dog. 

A shot from Irving was blocked by Brandlï and bounced high into the air, but when the puck fell back down into the crease, Brown was there to knock it home. 

“We’ve been having some pretty good success with our unit and it’s pretty much just grinding it out, getting people in front of the net, and that’s exactly what we did,” Brown said. 

Although time was ticking down, the aggression between the rival teams was not slowing. Back-to-back penalties caged players from both sides in the waning seconds of the second period, and the third frame began four-on-four. 

At 10:37, less than a minute after time expired on BU’s last five-on-four advantage of the night, Northeastern sealed the game with a final goal from senior forward Peyton Anderson.

Freshman forward Lily Shannon intercepted a pass at the blue line, turning over the puck in the Huskies’ favor and racing it towards the goal. Shannon flew through the Terriers’ formation single-handedly, and while Brandlï blocked her attempt, she wasn’t able to get a glove on it and slipped far out of place. An incoming Anderson scooped the rolling puck into the empty net to tack on a fourth goal to her team’s already dominant shutout.  

The teams’ chippiness led to four-on-four play once again with 6:54 to go, and though no further penalties were called, the tension exploded across the ice for the remainder of the game. 

With the clock winding down on the regular season, it was time for one last showing from the graduating class. In the middle of play, with three and a half minutes left in regulation, Northeastern switched goaltenders, pulling senior netminder Gwyneth Philips from between the pipes to slot in Matses. And for the final shift, five of the remaining six seniors — Aurard, Murphy, Müller, Brown and Holmes — took to the ice for a celebratory finish. 

While senior night put to a close Northeastern women’s hockey’s most successful regular season on record — its 30 wins breaking its previous record of 28 — the team is not done yet. The Huskies return to Matthews Arena Saturday to kick off the Hockey East tournament. Puck drops at 2 p.m. for the quarterfinal matchup.