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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Huskies suffer heartbreaking shootout loss on Senior Night

Katy+Knoll+follows+the+puck+during+overtime.+Saturday+was+Northeasterns+fifth+overtime+game+during+the+month+of+February.+
Katie Billman
Katy Knoll follows the puck during overtime. Saturday was Northeastern’s fifth overtime game during the month of February.

Saturday night, the Northeastern women’s hockey team (23-10-3, 16-8-3 HE) finished its regular season with a 1-1 tie against the University of Vermont Catamounts (13-16-5, 11-12-4 HE) and a bittersweet send-off for the graduating class of 2024. A pre-game ceremony celebrated the careers of fifth-year Huskies Katy Knoll and Gwyneth Philips, graduate students Peyton Anderson, Megan Carter and Peyton Cullaton and graduate student transfer Becca Vanstone. After locking down a second-place Hockey East finish Friday night, the final game of the homestand was a low-stakes contest for the Huskies, but they still fought hard. 

“It was pretty special for our senior group,” said assistant coach Melissa Piacentini. “The game, at the end of the day, kind of meant nothing for rankings for that purpose, so it was kind of cool to see the kids just play the game they love and enjoy it on the bench.”

Behind a starting senior lineup, featuring Cullaton, Knoll, Anderson, Carter and Philips, Northeastern dominated possession early, but struggled to get a shot through Vermont’s traffic. The Catamounts put up 17 blocks against Northeastern, and were once again backed by a stellar performance from senior goaltender Jessie McPherson. 

It was a fast-paced game. Both teams were aggressive, forcing turnovers, and special teams governed the night. The first penalty came against Northeastern senior defender Lily Yovetich just three minutes into the game. The Catamounts’ power play struggled, but once they found themselves on the other end of it halfway through the period, they came alive. Vermont’s forceful penalty kill prevented Northeastern from setting up on the power play, and the Huskies knew they’d have to turn it around to stay in the game. 

In the waning moments of the frame, a holding penalty against Vermont freshman defender Hailey Eikos gave Northeastern some of the best chances it had all night, stretching into the beginning of the second period. 

Despite breakaways on both sides of the ice, Philips and McPherson put on dueling clinics, and nobody was able to score until the final ten minutes of the game. 

With 9:22 left on the clock, Northeastern, on the power play, beat out Vermont in transition. Focused on shutting down the rush from Knoll and Anderson, the Catamounts left the left side of Northeastern’s offensive zone wide open for Carter. With speed, Carter flicked the puck under the crossbar to get revenge from the previous night’s Vermont tally and put Northeastern on the board.

“She’s been dynamite for us,” Piacentini said. “I think her leadership shows on the ice … she’s the first one on the forecheck as a defenseman sometimes, so you can tell her passion for the game and how much she cares about this team by the way she plays.”

Carter’s fourth goal of the season was also her fourth in five games. It was assisted by Knoll and Philips, the netminder’s second career point, a fitting regular-season end for the senior trio.

However, a penalty on Carter with under three minutes left in the game gave Vermont a chance to even the score. With a well-placed cross-crease pass, junior forward Evelyn Blais-Savoie dished the puck to graduate student forward Lily Humphrey at the back door. Humphrey’s one-timer tied the game 1-1 with less than two minutes left in regulation. 

As the clock expired, Northeastern headed into its fifth overtime period in eight games. With a sudden death 3-on-3 bearing down on them, the Huskies won back the initial faceoff, a crucial advantage in the extra time. Faceoffs had been a challenge for Northeastern against UVM all weekend. In the two games, the Huskies won just 37 of 94 battles against the Catamounts, including a meager 38% faceoff record Saturday night.

The possession served Northeastern well, giving the Huskies some great looks on the net and through the open ice, but after five minutes of overtime, it was still a tie game. 

Gwyneth Philip stretches out her arm in front of the net. Philips was one of six graduating athletes honored during a pre-game ceremony Saturday night. (Katie Billman)

As the shootout round commenced, Philips and McPherson continued to prove themselves as absolute walls against each other’s shooters. They stood strong through five intense rounds of the shootout, but on the sixth, Vermont broke through. Sophomore defender Krista Parkonnen dangled around Philips, winning the extra conference point for Vermont and sending Philips sprawling to the ice in dismay. 

Despite the shootout loss, Northeastern is locked into a second-place finish in Hockey East and will host the conference quarterfinal next weekend. 

“They’re determined,” Piacentini said. “They want to get back to that national championship game just as hungry as ever, so it’s really exciting heading into the playoffs.”

Northeastern’s first opponent has yet to be decided, but in a single-elimination tournament, everything’s on the line, so the Huskies will have to fight hard no matter what. The Huskies begin the search for their seventh straight tournament title when the puck drops in Matthews Arena Saturday at 7:30 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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