Well, the run came to a close earlier than anyone had hoped or anticipated. Your Northeastern Huskies fell in 2OT to the Minn-Duluth Bulldogs earlier tonight at the Frozen Four. Playing as the home team at Pegula Ice Arena; the Huskies controlled the tempo and pace for the majority of the contest but came up just short. This is a bitter pill to swallow as NU has to say goodbye to their 8 graduate students. These players embody what Coach Dave Flint and his staff preaches. These players have turned this program into a dynasty and have elevated NU Women’s Hockey to a perennial contender on the national stage.
I’d like to use this blog as an appreciation post. If you’re looking for game breakdown and play by play, this isn’t the spot for you tonight. I’m just going to share thoughts and observations about this team and what I watched the last 4-ish hours.
First I’d like to acknowledge the grad students: Lauren MacInnis, Andrea Renner, Brooke Hobson, Katie Cipra, Maddie Mills, Skylar Fontaine, Aerin Frankel and Tessa Ward. What you have done in your NU careers (except you Millsie but – 56g-57a-113pts in 102GP at Cornell – keep the change) is nothing short of incredible. You collectively have set an unattainable bar. Congratulations on finishing your collegiate careers without ever losing a Hockey East playoff game en route to winning 5 consecutive Hockey East Championships. In the wake of today’s result, please don’t lose sight of what you have accomplished together. I don’t think this record will ever be touched.
The line of Alina Müller, Chloé Aurard and Maureen Murphy was excellent all night. In all three zones their impact was felt and their chemistry jumped off the screen. Facing the top pairing all night and multiple double teams they still managed to have an impact on the game. See you next season at historic Matthews Arena – can I get an amen?
The Katy Knoll line with Skylar Irving and Mills on her wings was the heartbeat tonight. Generating chance after chance, playing puck control and possession any of these 3 could have been 1st star. Knoll dragged the entire UMD side multiple times and Mills was again a one-woman cycle. And Irving? Welcome to the national stage Skylar. Next year you’ll be featured in everyone’s game notes, no sneaking up on anyone.
The reconfigured “Honey Badger Line” with Mia Brown, Mickey Sindoris and the Little Wardo of Hate did what they do: played in your face and physical. Seriously, I still don’t think Sindoris knows what the puck looks like (the woman doesn’t look down at the puck ever!!) And I saw that reverse hit Wardo – very nice. Brown added speed and an offensive awareness that fit in perfectly with Sindoris and Ward.
Hobson and Fontaine played their usual top-level game. I hope people have appreciated what they have with this tandem. The level of game awareness, their offensive ability and the stout defensive play by both of them is tops in the women’s game. What’s ironic is that Hobson doesn’t get enough credit for her offensive side and Fontaine doesn’t get enough credit for her defensive side. I guess when you make it look this easy, that’s what happens. And don’t even get me started on Hobson’s edge work again, unreal!
Not to be overlooked on the back end, Megan Carter played unbelievable tonight. Efficient, strong on the puck and great gaps all night. They say prime time players elevate their games in the big moments and Carter did so tonight for sure. MacInnis was right there alongside too. Apparently smart hockey must be hereditary. This pair set the tone in the first when Carter bodied a UMD forward and they both played tenacious all night. Victoria Mariano and Lily Yovetich contributed big minutes as the game progressed and played very well despite coming in cold during OT.
In net Frankel was her normal self – which is to say: outstanding. Dialed in all night and out on top of her crease challenging shooters. Her ability to stay calm and track the puck is second to none. All night it was big save after big save, and the sequence at the end of the first overtime was insane. I’m not going to fanboy all over her again, you can listen to my interview with her for that. I don’t know if you’ll ever see this Aerin, but thank you again for coming on the podcast.
From laying out to block shots, to covering for each other defensively, to back checking all the way back: this team did all it could tonight. Do not let one moment, one game define you; you have achieved things together that not many teams have. You should all hold your heads high and be proud of your accomplishments.
Thank you for this run. Thank you for the hours of enjoyment you’ve provided me and hockey fans all over. Most of all, I want to thank you all for showing my 5-year-old daughter what it means to play like a girl. #HowlinHuskies