The Northeastern Women’s Hockey team hosted Cornell University this afternoon for the first of a pair at historic Matthews Arena. The Huskies rolled in with an unbeaten streak that goes back to early October; sporting an overall 14-2-1 record while Big Red came into the matinee with a 4-5-1 record on the season.
This game was a revenge game on many counts, with no story line larger than how it went the last time these 2 squads squared off. Way back in the 2019 NCAA Quarterfinals, Cornell got the W in overtime against the Huskies. During today’s game NESN color analyst Paige Capistran (NU ’20) admitted that thinking about that game still makes her angry, and you’d have to assume that the players that are still on the squad remember it the same. Cornell on the other hand, had only 3 players on the roster today that had any NCAA hockey experience prior to this season.
Not to be overlooked as a motivation, this was Maddie Mills first time squaring up against her former team. The graduate student transfer was a key part of Big Red’s women’s hockey program during her undergraduate years, and she had to have this game circled on her calendar once the schedules came out. I’m sure there were no program secrets that she shared with the NU coaching staff prior to the game.
Sophomore Deanna Fraser made her first career start in net for Cornell while all-universe goalie Aerin Frankel manned the pipes for Northeastern. Frankel was coming off being named as goalie of the month for Hockey East (as well as notching the all time NU save record last month…not a big deal), just adding another award to her ever increasing bio. If Fraser was looking for career inspiration, it was roughly 200 feet away in the Husky net. Northeastern controlled the tempo and pace from the opening face-off and dominated zone time during the opening period. The Huskies employed an aggressive forecheck and were keeping the Big Red skaters pinned in their own end for long stretches and it looked like this one was going to be a cakewalk.
Mills drew a penalty with a net drive late in the first and Chloe Aurard put the Huskies ahead on the ensuing power play. The Huskies PP was working the puck around the zone and steadily creeping tighter and tighter driving the Cornell defenders closer to their own net. Aurard walked down the left wing and let a wrister go from the dot that beat Fraser over the glove. 1-0 and the Huskies were off and running.
Until they weren’t. Less than 30 seconds later, Cornell tied it back up when Gabbie Rud beat Frankel over the blocker. It looked as if the puck wrong footed the NU netminder and while it wasn’t clear on the replay, the puck might have ticked off Sklyar Fontaine to get by Frankel. With the teams tied as tied time was running out, Tessa Ward was run behind the Cornell net with no call (don’t know how you missed it stripes, you were looking right at the play) and responded with a crosscheck that the ref definitely saw and that sent the Huskies to the PK to open the second. I’ll say this about Ward, she can play on my team any day (let’s be honest, she could play with her skates on the wrong feet and still wheel all of us). All hustle and she is relentless in puck pursuit. If any of you have a kid starting out in hockey and want to know how to play the game the right way? Put a spotlight on #42.
Cornell couldn’t capitalize on the PP with the fresh sheet, but they were getting their chances. During an odd-man rush with Fontaine chasing on the backcheck, Brooke Hobson laid out and inadvertently deflected the puck to a Cornell trailer. Frankel stopped the initial shot, but the puck bounced to Lily Delianedis all alone at the left post and Cornell had their first lead of the afternoon. The lead sparked Cornell’s game (at least defensively) and all 5 skaters on the ice were back in the slot during every Northeastern possession making it nearly impossible to get pucks on net. Megan Carter finally solved the blockade when she let loose a rising shot from the left point that Skylar Irving got a stick on and deflected it past Fraser. The play went to a review to determine if Irving’s stick was above the crossbar and it was ruled a good goal. Must be all the netfront work the Kingston native has put in at The Bog over the years. Tie game heading into the third.
Fontaine broke the deadlock when she scored her 4th goal of the season to give NU the lead for good. That’s her first GWG of the season, which goes along nicely with her 17th apple to lead the entire NCAAWH for assists by a defensemen… not a big deal. Alina Mueller (future Beijing Olympian for Switzerland, again…. not a big deal) won the face-off to Aurard who found Fontaine at the blue line. The Double Deuce corralled the puck and took 2 strides to her left and put the puck on net where she beat Fraser 5-hole.
The Huskies could smell blood in the water and it was only through the efforts of Fraser in the Cornell net that this one didn’t approach double digits. How she didn’t get 3rd star of the game for her effort is beyond me, but they didn’t ask me for my input. Hobson got the ENG to finish off the scoring for the day, proving that The Hockey Gods are always looking to even things out.
Arein Frankel… wanted for robbery
Both teams get right back at it tomorrow on NESN. Same time, same rink, same result? #HowlinHuskies #HockeyEast