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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Northeastern skates scoreless through regulation, historic six-year championship win streak cut short in overtime loss to UConn

The+Northeastern+womens+hockey+team+huddles+at+center+ice.+The+Huskies+skated+to+a+25-11-3+record+on+the+2023-24+season+and+finished+second+in+Hockey+East.+
Sofia Sawchuk
The Northeastern women’s hockey team huddles at center ice. The Huskies skated to a 25-11-3 record on the 2023-24 season and finished second in Hockey East.

It was a tragic end to a climbing season. After losing their high-scoring top line to graduation at the culmination of last year, the Northeastern Huskies had to restructure and find scoring potential in new places. And they did in a strong latter-half swing down the home stretch. So it was heartbreaking when, like déja vu, a late overtime goal in a championship game ended Northeastern’s year and the collegiate careers of some of its star players.

There’s no doubt Northeastern fought every minute of its final game, but so did Huskies rival and first-seed University of Connecticut, and the pair skated their way to overtime after a scoreless 60 minutes. It took nearly the entire extra period for someone to break through. With tired Huskies up and down the ice, Connecticut scored with 35 seconds left to clinch the Hockey East Championship 1-0.  

The game started fairly even, with 10 shots on goal per team in the first period, but Northeastern held the advantage on possession. However, the away Huskies were trapped to the perimeter and struggled to get a shot to UConn junior netminder Tia Chan as the blue and white jerseys blocked 24 shots through the three-plus hours of gameplay. 

With Chan on one end and Hockey East Goalie of the Year Gwyneth Philips on the other, it was a goalie vs. goalie game. Chan put up 39 stops while fifth-year netminder Philips notched a career-high 51. 

All Huskies played a relatively clean game to start and the first penalty didn’t come until 6:29 into the second period. It was a much-needed break for Northeastern, who had just gotten their first shot of the frame after facing tremendous pressure from their opponents. 

While the visitors earned a few dirty-area shots in their 5-on-4 advantage, the first time Chan had really been tested, the goaltender came up with some big saves.

The Northeastern women’s hockey team huddles at center ice. The Huskies skated to a 25-11-3 record on the 2023-24 season and finished second in Hockey East. (Harriet Rovniak)

UConn tried to get something going in transition, one of the most dangerous aspects of its game, but couldn’t execute on their couple 2-on-1 chances. Although they were winning puck battles, the home Huksiesmissed passes in big moments and Northeastern was able to turn it back around. 

However, a minute and a half into the third, the visitors had to fight to stay alive. After maintaining five players for more than 40 minutes, Northeastern found itself cut down to three skaters when junior defenders Kristina Allard and Tory Mariano simultaneously headed to the box on two separate hits. 

Faced with a 5-on-3, Northeastern stood tall. However, with UConn closing in, things got messy. With seven seconds left on the dual penalty kill, captain and graduate student defender Megan Carter earned a five-minute major and a game ejection for contact to the head, which cut her collegiate career short.

Northeastern made it through all seven minutes unscathed, thanks to some sturdy backstopping work from Philips, and the visitors weren’t stuck in their zone the whole time. Behind Philips’ nine saves and Northeastern’s seven defensive blocks, the red and black were able to generate a couple shorthanded chances and minimize UConn’s pressure. 

Just like in the previous two periods, Northeastern finished off the final frame strong. The away Huskies had some of their best chances in the final few minutes of regulation, but were shut down by graduate defender Claire Peterson, who wouldn’t let anything through to Chan. 

When the fourth period kicked off, a full 20 minutes of 5-on-5 sudden death, it was clear players were tired. Huskies fell down left and right, and transitions grew messy, but that didn’t stop them from putting their all into the game. UConn had a great start to overtime, and some stand-up defensive work — highlighted by a diving puck knock from Peterson — kept them alive through an overtime power play and a near-breakaway from freshman forward Peyton Compton.

With 35 seconds left in overtime, both teams needed a break, but before the buzzer could sound, UConn scored the game-winning goal, ending the game. 

Graduate student defender Ainsley Svetek took a shot from the point, and a deflection inside the crease, credited to sophomore forward Megan Woodworth, sent it into the back of the net.

However, celebration was put on hold for a few moments as the goal went under review. Between freshman defender Rylie Jones taking a huge hit headfirst into the boards right before the play, Woodworth in the crease, and a kicking motion, the referees had plenty to look at. But Woodworth didn’t interfere with Philips’ range of sight or movement and her foot never made contact with the puck, so it was ruled a good goal, and UConn took home its first-ever Hockey East championship title. 

Meanwhile, the loss meant the end of the road for Northeastern. Its tumultuous season was bound to finish somewhere, but the end of the Boston Huskies’ historic six-year tournament win streak was not what they were hoping for. 

However, they stretched it as far as they could, and with plenty of young talent — including Jones, freshman forward Allie Lalonde, and sophomore forward Lily Shannon — shining through to the very last minute, the Huskies will be back in the fall no doubt in hot pursuit of their next victory.

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!
Harriet Rovniak, Photo Editor
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