Hockey East games end with weekend victories

Hockey East games end with weekend victories

Losing two close games to cross-town rivals Boston College and Boston University in the Beanpot must have lit a fire under the women’s hockey team, who swept rival Vermont this weekend at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vt.

The Huskies (7-23-1, 6-14-1 Hockey East) earned their first shutout of the season in the second game Sunday with a 3-0 victory over the Catamounts (3-27-2, 1-17-1 HE) in their final Hockey East game of the season. Northeastern finished its conference games in seventh place with 13 points.

Sophomore forward Nikki Petrich and freshman defender Erin Reil each had two assists in the game, while senior goalie Marisa Hourihan made 23 saves. It was a relatively easy night for Hourihan, who had to make 89 saves combined in the two previous games.

“I didn’t feel like I was doing anything,” Hourihan said. “For the most part, we are down in shots; it’s a huge change to play Vermont after facing BU and New Hampshire, such a large significance in the amount of shots you see.”

Junior forward Jessica Coppney scored the Huskies first goal 9:37 into the first; a rebound shot off assists from freshman forward Ali Bielawski and Reil. It was Coppney’s fifth of the season, and also the third straight game Reil had scored a goal.

“Erin’s doing a great job for us,” Petrich said. “She’s really stepped it up, she knows how to play defense and really understands offense.”

Reil earned her second assist of the game on junior forward Ashley Bielawski’s third period power play goal with 6:22 left in the frame. Petrich fired a shot after a pass from Reil, only to be blocked by Vermont’s sophomore goalie Jenilee Roy. Ashley Bielawski was in front to capitalize on the rebound, giving Northeastern a 2-0 lead on her 10th goal of the season. The Huskies added their final goal with 3:38 to play. Junior forward Marie Desrosiers’ goal was off a feed from junior forward Crystal Rochon.

The Huskies outshot Vermont 13-1 in the final period, giving Hourihan her fourth career shutout and a fitting end to her Hockey East career.

“It’s really nice to finish the schedule with a sweep,” Hourihan said. “With the hard season we’ve had, it’s just a good way to go out this season. You don’t want a bus ride back with two losses under your belt.”

The victories against Vermont marked the second time Northeastern has posted back-to-back wins this season, and while the team is locked in seventh place in the division and no longer eligible for a playoff spot, there is always hope for next season.

“Maybe next season the playoffs will accept more teams,” said assistant coach Linda Lundrigan. “With our new recruiting class, which includes a lot of defenders, we’ll be able to win those one-loss games we’ve consistently lost this season. One thing to be optimistic about is that, of our seven wins, six are within the conference, so we’ve taken care of that.”

The Huskies began the weekend sweep with a 2-1 win on Saturday. Desrosiers scored the game-winning goal with 1:23 remaining in regulation, while Rochon scored Northeastern’s first goal in the second period. Hourihan made 19 saves in the victory.

Consecutive wins have been a rarity for the Huskies all season, and for many of the players, the bus ride home after a victory in enemy territory can be soothing to one’s conscience, Hourihan said.

“It’s fun and good,” she said. “Just very relaxing to be around everyone. You just don’t think about the game, after you lose it’s hard to say anything. You can’t have a good time after you lose, you feel guilty.”

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