Women’s hockey splits a weekend series at Niagara

Women’s hockey splits a weekend series at Niagara

By Jewel Della Valle

The women’s hockey team had a big hole to fill in the net with the graduation of star goalie Marisa Hourihan last season. After some goalie shuffling to start the season, it looks like the Huskies found the player to fill Hourihan’s skates.

Junior goalie Sarah Belliveau combined for 55 saves in NU’s two-game split at Niagara this weekend. She notched her first collegiate shutout by stopping 22 shots in Saturday’s 3-0 win, followed by 23 stops in Sunday’s 6-3 loss, earning Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week honors.

“[The shutout] felt really good but I definitely can’t take all the credit for that because the girls played amazingly,” Belliveau said. “I only had 22 shots and they were easy shots to stop so I was really thankful to the girls for that.”

At 18:55 in the first period, with both teams playing four-on-four, sophomore defender Erin Reil broke a scoreless tie with what would be the game-winning goal. Freshman defender Ginny Berg was credited with the assist.

The teams continued to battle through the second and third period, with neither scoring until the end of the third.

With 2:13 left in the game, senior forward Nikki Petrich got the Huskies some breathing room with a power play goal assisted by freshmen forwards Chelsey Jones and Lindsay Berman.

Sophomore forward Cassie Sperry put the game away with 36 seconds left, scoring on assists from Petrich and senior forward Ashley Bielawski.

“Sarah Belliveau had a tremendous game [and] came up with some really key things for us,” said head coach Laura Schuler. “We were just able to capitalize offensively. [We] were just right on as far as being first to every loose puck [and being] really aggressive on our penalty kill.”

The 22 shots blocked by Belliveau marked a season low in shots allowed by the Husky defense.

“A lot of it was us doing the little things and being smart, getting the puck deep when we didn’t have the numerical advantage,” Schuler said. “The smarter we played, the more opportunities we had in their offensive zone instead of being in your own defensive zone.”

Northeastern looked ready to carry Saturday’s win into Sunday’s contest when senior co-assistant captain Crystal Rochon scored 29 seconds into play. Jones and senior co-captain Amy Goodney were credited with the assists.

But seven minutes later, Shannon Moulson, a Niagara defender, got the Purple Eagles started on a scoring drive that crushed the Huskies’ hopes of a weekend sweep.

Niagara scored three quick goals in the first period, twice in the second and once in the third before the Huskies could get back on the board. Niagara forward Mary McKinnon scored a goal and tallied three assists on the day.

With the score 6-1 and the third period almost half over, sophomore forward Ali Bielawski scored with assists from sophomore forward Missy Elumba and freshman defender Katy Applin. The Huskies cut the lead in half at 13:34 with a goal from Berman. Ali Bielawski and Elumba were credited with the assists.

“We came out really short in the second period,” Schuler said. “We got two goals against us but we weren’t playing aggressively. We weren’t playing the same game that we were playing the day before.”

Schuler said she made line changes to start the third period.

Sophomore forward Colleen Sanborn’s line, with Ali Bielawski and Elumba, played “tremendously.” The Huskies outshot Niagara 17-5 in the third period.

“[Sanborn’s line] had eight shots on net for us and two goals so we actually won the third period 2-1,” Schuler said. “It’s just unfortunate that we weren’t ready to play in the second period.

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