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The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Huskies thaw against St. Cloud State, but freeze out Sacred Heart in Ice Breaker tournament

Ethan Valery
The Northeastern women’s hockey team huddles before a game earlier this season. The Huskies competed in the Ice Breaker Tournament at Sacred Heart University Oct. 20-21.

Between an always-changing lineup and strong out-of-conference opponents, the No. 10 Northeastern women’s hockey team (6-3-0, 2-1-0 Hockey East) has struggled to find a rhythm this season, which was evident when they traveled to Fairfield, Connecticut, this weekend to compete in the third-annual Ice Breaker Tournament. The contest featured four teams, each from a different conference: Northeastern, HE; Sacred Heart University, New England Women’s Hockey Alliance; No. 13 St. Cloud State University, Western Collegiate Hockey Association; and Lindenwood University, College Hockey America. Each team brought a different style of hockey, which was a challenge for Northeastern as the team fell to St. Cloud State Friday night before rallying to bite back with a win against the tournament’s host, Sacred Heart. 

Northeastern faced off against St. Cloud State first, dropping 2-0 in the Husky vs. Husky duel Friday night. 

Although the game didn’t go in Northeastern’s favor, the Boston Huskies didn’t go down without a fight. 

The midwestern Huskies came out of the gate swinging, pummeling Northeastern fifth-year goalie Gwyneth Philips after just a minute on the ice. However, the Huskies recovered, swinging back to a full-on defensive effort and blocking shots left and right. 

Halfway through the frame, St. Cloud State had a threatening attempt on net, but the Boston Huskies avoided an early deficit with luck, as the shot from fifth-year forward Taylor Lind bounced off the pipe and out of the danger zone.

Shortly after, Northeastern went down a skater when junior forward Skylar Irving headed to the box on a tripping call. They tightened up their penalty kill unit, and St. Cloud State only managed one shot throughout its power play. 

Not even two minutes later, Northeastern took another penalty, this time on senior forward Molly Griffin for interference. However, St. Cloud State’s power play picked right back up where it started, and they continued to put forth a weak special team all night long. 

Once Griffin was free, the Boston Huskies fought to close out the period on the board. They sent in shot after shot toward senior goaltender Sanni Ahola, to no avail. 

Although Northeastern narrowly outshot St. Cloud State 8-7 in the opening frame, the second period was the midwesterners’ time to shine. When the puck dropped once more, St. Cloud State looked the stronger team, notching 14 attempts to Northeastern’s four.

However, this mid-game strength only minimally helped the Minnesotans’ special units. The Boston Huskies took two more penalties in the middle frame — one on sophomore forward Mia Langlois for tripping and the other on sophomore defender Kristina Allard for body checking — but St. Cloud State only earned one additional shot per advantage. 

St. Cloud State may have looked like the stronger team, but it was still unable to find the back of the net, stopped time and time again by Philips, and both squads left the ice scoreless once more. 

With the Allard penalty coming just 11 seconds before the end of the second period, St. Cloud State came back not just refreshed, but with an additional player as well. 

However, Northeastern soon got its turn on the skater-advantage; seven minutes into the frame, the Minnesota Huskies found themselves at a loss with two overlapping penalties — a team penalty for too many players on the ice and a tripping call on graduate student forward Katie Kaufman. 

Northeastern managed a few attempts toward Ahola, but were unsuccessful, and skated off the 5-on-3 empty-handed.

Twenty-one seconds later, Kaufman made up for lost time. After taking the puck along the backboards, Kaufman turned at the goal line and sent it sailing just under the crossbar to give St. Cloud State the first tally late in the game. 

Northeastern tried to catch up, and even another penalty couldn’t stop them; in fact, during the player-deficit, the Bostonians made the sole shot of the two-minute stretch and kept the prowling Minnesota Huskies at bay.

With under a minute left, Philips skated off to give Northeastern the extra skater, but St. Cloud State got the lucky shot. Fifth-year forward Klára Hymlárová sealed the New Englanders’ fate with an empty-netter, locking the score at 2-0.

While the final score wasn’t exactly what the Northeastern Huskies hoped for, they came away with something much more valuable: experience against a top team. They struggled to gain initial possession at the dot but put forth a solid wall of protection on the penalty kill. Absorbing both the good and the bad, Northeastern took what it learned against St. Cloud State into Saturday’s consolation game against Sacred Heart, who had lost 4-2 to Lindenwood the night before. 

Although the Pioneers are the weaker team, Northeastern came into the game with something to prove. They secured a 4-1 win over the home team, putting themselves back on track as they capped off the tournament weekend.

When the match kicked off, the Huskies were clearly the dominant team. Junior forward Taze Thompson broke out early, earning a one-goal lead just three minutes in.

Thompson and Irving teamed up against a lone Sacred Heart defender as they took the puck down the ice. Saucing it back and forth, the pair looked for an opening as they neared sophomore goaltender Jillian Petruno, and Thompson found it. From the left faceoff circle, Thompson fired down low, straight toward Petruno, and the netminder was unable to keep all the gaps covered, losing the puck between her legs as it slid to the back of the net.

Northeastern’s early lead evidently caused some frustration among the Pioneers, and the team took a bench minor, finding themselves short-handed. 

The Huskies had landed in the box quite a few times the night before, so being up a player was a welcome change. 

Two minutes after the penalty ended, Northeastern doubled its lead with a goal scored once again by Taze Thompson. Irving’s initial attempt was easily swatted down by Petruno, and she was forced by pressuring defenders to dump the puck. However, Thompson was lurking just behind the action and dove on the loose puck, taking a swinging, turning shot that snuck just inside the right goalpost. 

A two-goal lead is the most dangerous lead in hockey, but the Huskies stayed locked in on the game and out of the box for the remainder of the period. In fact, nine seconds before the frame-ending whistle, Northeastern extended its lead, settling into a comfortable three-goal advantage after just 20 minutes of play.

In the right faceoff circle, fifth-year forward Katy Knoll flicked the puck easily back to Irving. It only took one touch for Irving to knock it into the far side of the net through traffic.

It was Irving’s first goal of the season, but it’s seemed imminent for weeks. The junior has played a role in half of the Huskies’ scores so far this season with nine assists on top of her sole goal, including a hat trick of assists in the Sacred Heart game. 

Northeastern kept its dominant stance going throughout the second period, perfectly replicating its shots-on-goal lead of 11-6 from the opening frame. However, the Huskies did start to lose a bit of their composure as the game wore on. While SHU had cleaned up its game after taking their third penalty at 6:37, Northeastern hopped on that train right where its opponents left off. 

Freshman forward Ella Blackmore and sophomore defender Jules Constantinople took back-to-back penalties for tripping and holding, respectively. While four straight minutes spent down a player wasn’t ideal for Northeastern, its penalty kill unit held firm, even notching a shot of its own. 

A mere 28 seconds later, Blackmore rallied back to tally the Huskies’ final goal of the game. Knoll and Blackmore broke past Sacred Heart’s defense, neither player slowing down throughout the entire sequence, and Petruno had no chance. In a split second, Knoll passed to Blackmore, who showed off her stick work, faking out the netminder before sending an easy backhand between the pipes. 

In the third period, the Pioneers turned up the jets. They outshot the Huskies 13-7, an astonishing turnaround from the first 40 minutes, but Northeastern had already created too wide a gap for them to catch up. 

However, one last Husky penalty allowed Sacred Heart to get on the board. Freshman forward Maddy Cipolla took a two-minute minor for tripping, and while the Huskies kept their penalty kill track record clean, the Pioneers found an opening shortly after. 

Junior forward Nicole Bessinger ended Philips’ bid for a fifth season shutout at 7:52, capping off the game at 4-1. 

The pair of out-of-conference games gave the Huskies a lot to work on, but also a lot to be proud of. While they were taken down by St. Cloud State, the No. 13 squad was unable to do so until the game had nearly run its course. They were also the strongest team at the dot across the board, leading in faceoffs in both matchups.

After an upset loss to Merrimack College the previous weekend, the Ice Breaker tournament gave the Huskies a bit of break from Hockey East, allowing them to take a step back, regroup and re-strategize. With some new experiences to feed off of in their back pocket from the out-of-conference opponents, the Huskies returned to Boston Friday night to face the College of the Holy Cross. 

They once again split the series, falling 0-1 in overtime at home before coming back to a 4-2 victory at Holy Cross. 

Northeastern’s next series begins Friday, Nov. 3 when the team faces its fellow Huskies from UConn. The puck drops at 6 p.m. in Matthews Arena.

About the Contributor
Amelia Ballingall
Amelia Ballingall, Sports Editor
Amelia Ballingall is a third-year speech language pathology and audiology major. She is sports editor for The News and previously served as deputy sports editor and deputy design editor. She is also vice president of membership development for Delta Phi Epsilon, the social media manager for Speech and Hearing Club and a Student Success Guide on campus. Amelia is looking forward to another great semester with The News!
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