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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

Late-game antics put No. 13 Northeastern back on top of UNH

Katy+Knoll+gets+ready+for+the+faceoff.+Knoll+scored+the+game-winning+goal+27+seconds+into+overtime+in+Saturdays+game.
Erin Fine
Katy Knoll gets ready for the faceoff. Knoll scored the game-winning goal 27 seconds into overtime in Saturday’s game.

In a Saturday afternoon matinee, the No. 13 Northeastern Huskies (20-9-1, 13-7-1 HE) finished off their weekend series against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (12-14-2, 9-10-2 HE) in style. It was the pair’s third matchup in two weeks and Northeastern’s third win against the team. The Huskies completed their season sweep of the Wildcats with a surprising late-game rally, taking the matchup into overtime and finishing it off 4-3.

“Next week, we’re going to get back on track,” said head coach Dave Flint. “We once again found a way to win a hockey game and get valuable points. That’s a credit to the team, but if we’re going to be successful down the stretch and in the playoffs, we need to clean a lot of things up.”

The Huskies scored on their first shot of the night. Two minutes and 41 seconds into the game, sophomore forward Lily Shannon weaved from end to end with the puck. Her feed out front was deflected off the skate of UNH senior defender Brianna Legros, but freshman forward Peyton Compton was ready, picking the puck off the stick of UNH graduate student forward Mikah Baptiste in the crease and backhanding it over freshman goaltender Sedona Blair’s right pad. 

But after that, the Huskies struggled to find opportunities. The Wildcats kept them to the perimeter, clogging up passing lanes and forcing turnovers, holding the Huskies to just seven shots on goal in each of the first two periods. While Northeastern did a good job getting pucks in deep and sending it through the crease, there was nobody there to finish the play.

With little scoring chances on either side and a lot of recent competition between the two teams, tension ramped up quickly. The Wildcats and Huskies traded heavy hits, and Northeastern graduate student forward Megan Carter was the first to take the fall, heading to the box on an interference call halfway through the first period. 

Although the Huskies were able to push UNH back through the neutral zone, they were never able to clear the puck, and the Wildcats proved dangerous on the power play. It was the first of three power plays for UNH, with one per period, but Northeastern shut them down on every attempt, maintaining its nationally top-ranked penalty kill

After being outshot by UNH 13-7 in the first period, nearly doubling their count, the Huskies knew they needed to turn it around. However, they still found themselves on their heels quite a bit. Over and over, the Huskies were forced to dump the puck, but unable to chase it down and found a hard time getting control in the offensive zone. 

Even on the power play, off a two-minute minor on Wildcats graduate student forward Tamara Thierus, Northeastern struggled to set up in the zone. 

Although they had difficulty gaining offensive zone opportunities, the Huskies were able to limit UNH’s chances much more. 

Half of the Wildcats’ shot total in the period came from a power play, so while they dominated up a man, their five-on-five play was depleted. The Huskies kept UNH out of any high-danger zones, keeping a tight formation in front of the net.

Two and a half minutes into the final period of play, however, the Wildcats broke through, finally able to punch past Northeastern’s defense. Junior forward Brooke Hammer centered the puck from the left wing, finding senior forward Nicole Kelly. Kelly beat out Northeastern’s blue line, taking on fifth-year goaltender Gwyneth Philips one-on-one. She lifted the puck over Philips’ pad as she went sprawling to the ice, tying the game 1-1.

Nicole Kelly scores a goal for UNH to tie up the game. Northeastern defeated the Wildcats 4-3. (Erin Fine)

Just a few minutes later, the Wildcats doubled their tally. Skating through the low slot, graduate student forward Jada Christian flicked the puck past Philips to give UNH the lead. 

“They’re always a tough team to play and they always give us a good game,” fifth-year forward Katy Knoll said. “I think they definitely challenged us these two times.”

Halfway through the period, Northeastern got a massive advantage when UNH senior forward Chavonne Truter was sent down the tunnel with a five-minute major and a game ejection for contact to the head. 

However, what started as a chance for the Huskies to even the score ended with them even further behind. 

With two minutes left in the power play, Kelly took the puck all the way up the ice. With Northeastern junior defender Tory Mariano the only thing between her and the net, Kelly took the chance, firing around Mariano and tucking the puck in under the crossbar. 

With five minutes left to play and a huge opportunity wasted, the night looked like it was heading towards a UNH victory. But this game was all but over. 

The Huskies took a timeout with two and a half minutes left in the match and once Northeastern gained possession of the puck, Philips headed off the ice for the extra attacker. 

“I said, ‘Hey, here’s your opportunity. We dug ourselves a hole. We have an opportunity to dig ourselves out. What are we going to do?’” Flint said.

Although they hadn’t been able to score in a five-on-four, a six-on-five was all Northeastern needed to get back in the game. After pulling Philips for an extra skater, sophomore defender Jules Constantinople backhanded the puck to center, where junior forward Taze Thompson stood all alone. With a clear look at Blair, Thompson was able to pick a spot and fired blocker-side, putting Northeastern within one. 

Forty-one seconds later, Shannon closed the gap. Carter put the puck on net and her teammates stuck with the rebound. After her first shot bounced off Blair’s pads, Shannon scooped the puck over the netminder’s outstretched leg to tie the game 3-3 with less than a minute to go.

“I think we’re definitely a third-period team and we have that mentality, so the third period comes, [and] we’re like ‘Oh, we really need to step on it,’” Shannon said. 

Just like in Thursday night’s game, Northeastern and UNH headed into overtime. On the opening shift, the Huskies finished the game. Knoll had been showing her speed all game long, and this time it paid off, as she deked around UNH’s skaters, skating backwards. Knoll made the game-winning goal look easy, whipping the puck past Blair top shelf to hand Northeastern the 4-3 win. 

“[Carter], [Irving], and I just have fun with it,” Knoll said. “We tease our speed and hopefully confuse other teams a little bit with just how much we overlap and criss-cross and it seems to be working.”

With three goals in less than two minutes, the Huskies beat the odds. They fired up the jets, stayed in the game and kept up their stamina to finish strong. 

This victory extends Northeastern’s winning streak to seven, but next weekend will be a test of its systems. The Huskies host No. 11 University of Connecticut Friday, who shut them out in both games of a home-and-home series earlier this season. The game will be part of Northeastern’s annual Skating Strides Against Breast Cancer fundraiser, featuring a live jersey auction in the lobby of Matthews Arena. The puck will drop on this Husky versus Husky matchup Friday at 6 p.m.

About the Contributor
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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