Women’s hockey swept in series at Colgate

Women’s hockey swept in series at Colgate
Third-year goalkeeper Brittany Bugalski made 59 saves across the Huskies' weekend at Colgate University. Photo courtesy Jim Pierce, Northeastern Athletics

The Northeastern University women’s hockey team rode offensive chemistry in their series sweep of Boston University last weekend. The Huskies were able to put up nine goals combined in their two games against their Hockey East rivals. However, the team fell mightily short in this weekend’s two-game series at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. The Huskies were shut out 3-0 in Saturday’s game and lost again Sunday by a score of 5-2.

“I thought after the BU game our first line was clicking really well,” head coach Dave Flint said. “They had finally started to gel, but then against Colgate we just couldn’t get anything going. We had some chances to score some goals, but we weren’t able to bear down on those opportunities.”

The Raiders jumped on the scoring early in the first period Saturday as they went up after a power play goal 6:44 into the game when third-year Jessie Eldridge walked in through the slot and fired a shot that snuck by NU’s third-year goaltender Brittany Bugalski. It was the fourth straight game in which the Huskies allowed their opponents to get the first goal.

Flint was disappointed in how his team came out of the gate and emphasized the need to get off to a hot start.

“We had talked about wanting to start fast going into Sunday’s game, and wanting to jump on them [Colgate] in the first 5 minutes,” he said. “We didn’t do that at all, as we came out completely flat.”

The Raiders took advantage of the slow start in both games for the Huskies. The first period of Saturday’s game ended with the Raiders up 1-0, and they soon added to that lead. It was Colgate third-year Shae Labbe who got the unassisted goal 6:19 into the second period after her shot hit the crossbar and bounced across the goal line.

Eldridge found the back of the net again in the third period to close out the scoring for the game with a 3-0 final score.

The Huskies were unable to get anything going on the offensive side of things, something that was highly frustrating coming off of the offensive production they enjoyed during the BU series a week earlier.

“Our compete level and our execution just wasn’t there [against Colgate],” Flint said “As good as we were against BU in creating offense and executing our plays, we were equally as bad against Colgate. We need to find consistency and we need to execute better as a team.”

Flint, although upset with his team’s offensive lapses during the Colgate series, also recognized the immense defensive abilities of the Colgate squad.

In Sunday’s game, the Huskies once again found themselves in a hole early. Colgate was on the board a little over eight minutes into the game, with a goal from third-year Bailey Larson who jammed home a loose puck in Bugalski’s crease.

Just four minutes later, the Raiders struck again to make it a 2-0 advantage. Labbe added another point to her weekend performance, firing a shot on net that was bobbled by Bugalski. Labbe’s linemate, fourth-year Megan Sullivan, was able to bury home the rebound.

Colgate continued their dominant play and tacked on two more goals in the second period to make it 4-0 for the home team heading into the last period of play.

One of the bright spots of the otherwise disastrous weekend performance by the Huskies was the third period of the game, in which the Huskies were able to spoil Colgate’s shutout efforts thanks to goals from first-year forward Veronika Pettey and fourth-year forward McKenna Brand. Despite the momentum, Northeastern fell 5-2.

“Colgate is a very good team; they’re big, strong and fast,” Flint said. “The goals were tough to come by for us, and on top of that we weren’t strong defensively. You put those two together and that’s really a recipe for disaster. That’s ultimately why we were 0-2 on the weekend.”

Pettey’s goal was her fourth of the season, tying her with Brand as team leaders in points. Flint has been impressed with Pettey’s play and noted that she is being rewarded for her strong performances thus far.

“We’re actually going to move [Pettey] to center since she is playing so well. She’s going to be getting more responsibilities on our power play unit,” Flint said. “She’s a really hard worker and she’s good with her stick, so we hope that she will continue to gain confidence and keep playing at the level she’s been playing at.”

Looking ahead to next weekend’s series at Syracuse, Flint said the Huskies need to focus on being mentally prepared for the game ahead of puck drop.

“We have to find a way to be ready to go right from the start,” he said. ”We can’t keep spotting team’s goals early because then we end up playing catch-up for the whole game.”

Nevertheless, the Huskies will aim to learn from the weekend series at Colgate and move forward. On the coaching side of things, some sweeping changes for line configurations are in order, something that Flint is hoping will help guide the offense toward finding their groove again so the team can get back to competing and winning games.

“We’ve made some pretty significant changes to the lines, so we’re going to see how that goes,” Flint said. “We’re just going to have to keep making adjustments until we can get some consistent offensive production from our lines.”

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