Northeastern women’s hockey endures tough weekend in Vermont

Northeastern women’s hockey endures tough weekend in Vermont
Huskies display sportsmanship after a 5-3 win against UConn Jan 19. in Matthews Arena. / Photo by Alex Melagrano

By Caroline Ingram, news staff

The Northeastern women’s hockey team traveled north to Burlington, Vermont, over the weekend to face off against Hockey East foe, the University of Vermont Catamounts, at Gutterson Fieldhouse.

The Huskies went into the weekend series looking for two much-needed wins as their season quickly winds down. Although the Catamounts do not hold the best season record, sitting at seventh in Hockey East with a 6-16-4 overall record prior to the series against Northeastern, the Huskies were aiming to ignore the standings and get the job done.

“Going into the two games [at UVM] everyone knew it was a big weekend,” head coach Dave Flint said. “I tried to stress to the team that despite [UVM’s] record, they still beat some top-ranked teams like Minnesota and Clarkson this season. We knew it wasn’t going to be easy against them.”

In Friday’s game, UVM struck first at 7:22 of the opening period with second-year forward Eve-Audrey Picard sliding the puck through the five-hole of third-year goalie Brittany Bugalski in net for Northeastern. The Huskies were able to even up the score less than two minutes later, as fourth-year forward Lauren Kelly ripped a wrist shot that beat second-year UVM goalie Sydney Scobee.

Heading into the locker rooms, the Huskies held the 10-5 shot advantage and dominated the majority of the period. However, the second period was a different story.

UVM struck three different times in the second period, beginning with a tip-in goal less than three minutes into the second by fourth-year forward Kourtney Menches. Later in the period, Picard struck again, redirecting a shot from the point from fourth-year defenseman Katherine Pate. After the goal, Bugalski was pulled from the Northeastern net and replaced by first-year Aerin Frankel. The UVM lead was extended by three before the period’s end, as third-year defenseman Sammy Kolowrat fired a low shot past Frankel.

The period came to a close with UVM holding the 4-1 advantage. It was a messy middle period for the Huskies, and Coach Flint voiced frustration in how his team played for the stretch of time that featured the three consecutive UVM goals.

“We weren’t picking up sticks in front of our net, so [UVM] got some of those goals off of reflections, which is not a great way to let up goals,” Flint said. “We’ve been struggling all year with this, and us coaches have tried to stress to the team how the pucks go low to high and it’s imperative that we eliminate [opposing team’s] tip-in opportunities.”

In the third period, fourth-year forward Taytum Clairmont cut the NU deficit to two a little over five minutes into the period, with a strike on the power-play.

The Huskies did a fair job of generating offensive opportunities throughout the third period, but Scobee was up to the task in net for the Catamounts.

“I give credit to their [UVM’s] goalie, because she was great in net for them, as she has been all season long,” Flint said. “She’s a big, athletic goalie who takes up a lot of the net, and she made some huge saves for them all weekend long.”

Ultimately, NU pulled Frankel with about two and a half minutes left in the game to add the extra attacker, but were unable to capitalize. UVM’s fourth-year forward Mackenzie MacNeil sealed the win for the Catamounts with the empty-net goal 48 seconds before the final buzzer.

In the Saturday matinee match-up, the Huskies were looking to bounce back and split the series. The team started strong, controlling the first 10 minutes of play and almost getting one past Scobee early, with an odd-man rush and scoring chance for third-year forward Kasidy Anderson.

Coach Flint said the Huskies missed scoring opportunities throughout the weekend series.

“We definitely squandered lots of offensive chances,” Flint said. “We actually outshot UVM in the games, but we weren’t taking smart chances, and we were unable to find our way to the dirty areas to put home rebounds and tip-in goals, which is how UVM scored most of their goals on us.”

First-year defenseman Brooke Hobson and UVM’s Picard were tagged for matching penalties after a scuffle in front of the NU net. UVM second-year forward Ali O’Leary was then called for a checking penalty, putting the Huskies on a 4-3 man advantage for more than a minute, but they were unable to convert. As Picard’s penalty expired, she hopped on the ice and quickly gained possession of the puck, firing a shot on Frankel which generated a big rebound. Picard tried on the rebound shot, and scored on her third shot attempt with a wraparound goal.

In the second frame, with UVM up 1-0, the Huskies were able even the score as Kelly fired a shot in Scobee’s direction, which deflected off of her back and found its way to the back of the net.

In the final period of the fast-paced game, second-year forward Andrea Renner put the Huskies ahead for the first time in either game after rocketing off a top-shelf shot. The game then tilted back in UVM’s favor with another goal by Picard, who skated into the NU goal along the right hand side before deking to the left and beating Frankel.

With just over five minutes to go in the game and second-year forward Matti Hartman in the box for a hooking call, UVM third-year forward Alyssa Gorecki scored a one-timer on the power-play.

The back-and-forth nature of the game continued until the final buzzer, as second-year defenseman Codie Cross tied up the game for the Huskies with 2:04 left in regulation.

The game looked as though an extra session would be in order to decide the winner, but in the waning seconds of the game, Picard finished off the hat trick, scoring a rebound goal for the game-winner with just 11 seconds left. It was a heartbreaking loss for the Huskies, who held the shot advantage for the second straight game.

Following the game, Coach Flint expressed his thoughts on the team’s adjustments from the game Friday into Saturday’s matchup.

“I thought we played hard and we battled more in Saturday’s game, but [UVM] got a little puck luck at times, and that’s what happens when things are going well for a team,” Flint said. “They were creating their own opportunities, and at the end of the day we have to find a way to be better in our own end, especially late in the game.”

In the coming week, the Huskies will look to regroup and refocus for their last couple of games of the season, which will feature a matchup with third-ranked Boston College in the first round of the Beanpot tournament.

“We have to figure it out as we’ve got a limited number of games left,” Flint said. “We need to be better from the goal line out. I told the team back in October that it’s not about how you play in October, it’s about how you play in February, and now we’re at that point in the season, so we need to get rolling.”

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