Women’s hockey drops third straight in midweek loss to Maine

Women’s hockey drops third straight in midweek loss to Maine
Fourth-year forwards Denisa Krisova and Tori Sullivan run the fast break in an earlier match against Clarkson / Photo by Patrick Leung

By Caroline Ingram, news staff

The Northeastern women’s hockey team traveled north Tuesday night to face the 7-5 University of Maine Black Bears in a midweek league game matchup.

The squad entered the game hoping to rebound from two difficult losses coming at the hands of the Providence Friars the weekend prior. However, the Huskies struggled on the offensive side of the puck, falling short by a score of 4-2.

Neither team was able to strike in the opening frame, but the Black Bears were quick to post a score just 32 seconds into the second period.

Following the game, head coach Dave Flint voiced his disappointment with the team’s overall effort and performance.

“We had issues in generating offense,” he said. “We came out flat and could never really recover from that slow start. We didn’t have any [competitive spirit] in our game which as a coach is a very frustrating thing.”

With the challenge of an early deficit facing them, the Huskies continued to battle, focusing on generating quality shots on goal and rebound chances. At 6:07 of the second, the Huskies were able to even the score after second-year defenseman Ashley MacMillan’s shot from the point was redirected by second-year forward Matti Hartman, who was parked out front of the net.

Not long after the Huskies tied it up, the Black Bears pulled ahead yet again with a shorthanded breakaway goal by first-year forward Michelle Weis.

Flint mentioned how although third-year goalie Brittany Bugalski has had some big-time saves and quality performances, the team is looking to first-year backup Aerin Frankel for upcoming games.

“Brittany has been good for us, but she’s been a little inconsistent,” Flint said. “Frankel is going to get the start on Friday [against Merrimack]. She has earned that opportunity and we’ll see what she can do.”

Just over two minutes following the short-handed goal let up, the Black Bears struck again with a one-timer score from third-year defenseman Alyson Matteau, which snuck inside the right post of Bugalski.

With approximately five minutes left in the second period, the Huskies pulled a bit closer. Second-year forward McKenna Brand was able to force a turnover along the boards and sent a bullet pass to first-year forward Veronika Pettey crossing through the slot for a quick wristshot.

One area in which the Huskies especially struggled was on the power play, which was unlike their previous games. In the series against Providence a week earlier, the Huskies scored three power play goals against a penalty kill unit ranked in the nation’s top 10. However, it was a different story Tuesday night, as the team went 0-for-5 on the man advantage.

“I felt like we were passing too much around the perimeter rather than taking shots when we had quality chances to,” Flint said. “Maine did a good job of getting in the shooting lanes, but ultimately we didn’t shoot as much as we should have.”

The third period was a back-and-forth battle between the teams, with the Huskies desperately searching for an answer and the Black Bears clinging to their one-goal lead. The final blow to the Huskies’ hopes for a comeback was notched just past the midpoint of the third, with a Maine goal by fourth-year forward Catherine Tufts, her second goal of the game.

Flint said that goal in particular was a huge blow to the team.

“After Maine made it 4-2 with time running out, the team felt pretty deflated,” he said. “We didn’t have much of a [competitive] level going for us at any part of the game. After the first period I wasn’t feeling too confident about the game, based on how we performed in those opening twenty minutes. We kind of just went through the motions in the second and third periods.”

Overall, it was a disappointing and ugly loss for the Huskies, who have now dropped three straight games.

“Maine is always a tough place to play at, especially on a weeknight, but we don’t want to make any excuses for ourselves,” Flint said. “Maine simply outworked us for 60 minutes.”

The Huskies will face Merrimack in a home-and-home weekend series before looking to avenge this loss to Maine when they see them again in two weeks.

“These next two games [against Merrimack] are must-win games for us,” Flint said. We’ve lost three in a row now in conference, and we can’t afford to give up too many more. We need to find a way to right this ship and get the job done.”

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  1. Pingback: Women’s hockey splits weekend series against Maine – The Huntington News

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