The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

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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No. 12 Northeastern drops to unranked Vermont behind controversial call

Megan+Carter+takes+the+puck+down+the+ice+for+Northeastern.+Carter+took+a+big+hit+during+a+penalty+kill+in+Northeasterns+Friday+night+game+against+Vermont.+
Jessica Xing
Megan Carter takes the puck down the ice for Northeastern. Carter took a big hit during a penalty kill in Northeastern’s Friday night game against Vermont.

On paper, it was a game the Huskies should’ve won. But that’s not how the chips fell when the Northeastern women’s hockey team (23-10-2, 6-8-2 HE) hosted the University of Vermont Catamounts (13-16-4, 11-12-3 HE) in the first game of their weekend homestand Friday night. 

“We played better tonight than we have in the past couple of weeks,” said head coach Dave Flint. “Tonight, we actually did a lot of really good things, had some good looks, hit three posts, had some pucks right on the doorstep that we just couldn’t get in.”

Holding Vermont to just 17 shots, Northeastern controlled the majority of possession and earned plenty of quality chances, including the three post shots. However, with mistakes on both sides of the ice, it was difficult for either team to find a way through. There were a couple moments when the Catamounts burst through with an odd-man rush, capitalizing on a Northeastern mistake, but the Huskies’ backcheck was on them in a heartbeat, proving their standing as the third best scoring defense in the NCAA.  

With both teams desperately seeking their last few Hockey East points before the playoffs, hoping for a last-minute jump in the rankings, tensions arose and each team found themselves on the wrong side of three penalties. 

While the Catamounts were able to notch just a single shot per man-advantage, Northeastern fought hard for a goal on their opportunities. In the waning seconds of the first period, Vermont sophomore defender Krista Parkonnen headed to the box on an interference call and the Huskies were buzzing. Tallying six on-target attempts in their two minutes, the Huskies didn’t miss a beat between periods. 

“[They were] doing all the right things,” Flint said. “The power play’s moving the puck well and creating some good chances.”

However, with UVM senior goaltender Jessie McPherson fresh off an upset shutout of No. 11 Connecticut, the Catamounts stayed protected. McPherson posted 29 saves against the Huskies, including some sprawling cover-ups on Northeastern’s dangerous rebound chances. 

Northeastern fifth-year netminder Gwyneth Philips boasted a similarly impressive night, allowing only one goal, another positive addition to her nationally fourth-ranked 1.216 GAA record. However, that Vermont goal came through on a controversial call.

Six minutes into the second period, UVM was on the power play, with sophomore defender Jules Constantinople caged away on a blatant hooking penalty. During the Catamounts’ advantage, Vermont freshman defender Natalie Zarcone lifted an elbow toward the face of Northeastern graduate student defender and captain Megan Carter, sending her down to the ice clutching her head. As she struggled to get up, clearly shaken from the contact, Catamounts graduate student forward Lily Humphrey squeezed a shot past Philips short-side. 

The play went under review, but despite the high-angled elbow, the referees decided the video was “inconclusive” and it was a fair power-play goal for UVM, putting the visitors up 1-0.

After the tough call, the Catamounts wasn’t willing to give up the lead, throwing themselves on the ice to stop pucks and plays. Meanwhile, Northeastern pounded the crease. While the scoreboard displayed 29 shots on goal for the Huskies, it didn’t show that they had more than double that number of tries, a combination of blocked shots, pipe-ringers and near-misses.

With Vermont’s D-core standing strong and McPherson not letting in a single chance, the Huskies were forced to pull Philips in the final minutes of the game. They staved off the Catamounts for a while, hoping the extra skater would allow them a chance to break through and tie the score, but with exactly one minute left on the clock, freshman forward Kaylee Lewis sealed Vermont’s win with an empty-netter.

Although the upset loss ended Northeastern’s 12-game undefeated streak and left a dent in their nationally top-tier penalty kill, Flint isn’t worried about how this affects the team’s future. 

“I’m always ok with a loss before playoffs just to kind of reset, get us a little grounded and focused,” Flint said. “So we just need to bounce back tomorrow.”

With Boston College losing to UNH the same night, Northeastern cemented its spot as Hockey East’s second-ranked team heading into the conference tournament. The Huskies have one more game left on their regular-season slate, a revenge match against Vermont Saturday night. And they have something more to fight for. Saturday night is Senior Night, and the Huskies will fight to honor their seniors and reclaim dominance over the Catamounts when the puck drops at 7:30 p.m. 

About the Contributors
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!
Jessica Xing, Photo Editor
Jessica Xing is a third-year graphic design major with a minor in journalism. She has previously served as deputy photo editor and design editor and is excited to continue working with photographers for The News this semester.
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