Your Northeastern Huskies hosted the University of Maine Black Bears for the back half of a pair at historic Matthews Arena. The score was closer than last night, but the end result was the same as the Huskies get the W with a 2-0 final score.
The opening period saw the Huskies jump on the Black Bears and dominate play with zonetime and possession. Even during an early Maine power play (soft call Stripes, 10ply for sure), the Huskies were generating offensive looks and having no trouble with outlets and transition. NU outshot Maine 19-3 in the first period and that margin held fairly consistent for the tilt (46-14SOG for the game). For the 2nd game in a row, Tessa Ward was out there setting the tone with relentless pressure up and down the ice. The only blemish on the opening frame was Chloé Aurard taking a shot off the hand and having her day finish early when she did not return. Luckily, Skylar Irving had her skating legs going early and was a demon on the fore-check again this afternoon. Once Aurard exited the game, the makeshift line of Irving, Katie Cipra and Andrea Renner took over with their dogged play all 200 feet of the sheet. Between those 3 and Ward: Honey badgers gonna honey badger.
All Galaxy goalie Aerin Frankel manned the pipes for NU again today and faced off against Jorden Mattison in net for the Black Bears. Frankel secured the shutout (her 9th of the season which leads the NCAA – not a big deal) and with today’s W is now the all-time leader in Hockey East for wins with a staggering 71 decisions. Just adding to her already packed bio. Mattison should not be overlooked as the sophomore set her own career high with saves and was the solitary reason that NU didn’t hang 10 on the Black Bears this afternoon.
Frankel had her best save of the day when Maine broke in without about 8 minutes left in the 2nd period with an odd man rush. Frankel exploded off her line and was out on top of the crease to challenge the shooter. Blocker save – keep the change. Minutes later, Maddie Mills and Emma Jurusik had a heavy fore-check sequence that ended up with Jurusik drawing a penalty with her strong wall work behind the Maine net. On the ensuing power play, Mia Brown laid a sweet drop pass to the trailing Irving who let go a beauty of a drag snap from the top of the RW circle. Skylar Fontaine was set up outside the crease for the backup between the legs redirect. For those scoring at home that’s a PP-GWG for Fontaine. Great heads up play by Frankel on the PP before the score. She came out above the dots to outlet the puck back up into the offensive play and helped keep Maine penned in their own zone. Small play that won’t show up on the scoresheet, but crucial to the goal.
That score held until midway through the final frame when Mills cashed in on another power play. Fontaine (new career high in apples) at the top of the zone fed Mills at the RW circle and then drove the net. Mills walked across into the slot and skated left and shot right where she beat Mattison through a crowd in front over the shoulder. Great play all around, and as we’ve discussed before: good things happen when you go to the net! Great play all around and if you are a coach out there, get video of Brooke Hobson and Fontaine working the top of the power play. The way they work the puck as a tandem (and as individuals) is impressive to say the least. They can both walk the line and are relentlessly hunting for the overload. Great stuff.
Maureen Murphy was held off the score sheet today (I know, I was surprised too), but she was all over the ice. Murphy has dangles for days and speed to spare, she might be the most dangerous player on the squad heading into the postseason. Megan Carter and Lily Yovetich both had strong games on the back end this afternoon with Carter doing her best impression of a brick wall against a Maine forechecker late in the third.
The score held for the final and the NU Huskies stuck around to get a little hardware after the game. For the 3rd season in a row and the 4th time in program history, NU becomes the Hockey East regular season champs and have earned themselves the #1 seed. The old barn will be rocking with home ice advantage.
She not only plays solid defense; but also blocks shots, scores goals and enough apples to open an orchard: and now she babysits??? Fontaine shown here passing the torch to the heir apparent.