Your Northeastern Huskies welcomed in the University of New Hampshire Wildcats for a Thursday night tilt at Historic Matthews Arena. UNH rolled into tonight’s game coming off a big upset over nationally ranked UConn while the Huskies blanked Holy Cross last Friday and elevated themselves into the top 5 in the NCAA rankings. As tonight’s game was the Skating Strides Game for Breast Cancer Awareness put on by NU and The Ellie Fund; the Huskies were rocking an alternate jersey with the traditional red and white but trimmed in pink. Pretty sharp sweaters.
The first period opened up fairly even in game play. Both teams had some early bids, but the Huskies had more high danger chances and started to tilt the ice more as the period progressed. The stars of the first period were the netminders as both ‘tendys were tested throughout the opening 20 minutes. Gwyneth Phillips showed why she’s leading the nation in every conceivable goaltending statistical category with a ridiculous left leg save with less than 4 mins played in the first. Completely sprawled out she denied a UNH point-blank bid from Jada Christian at the bottom of the RW circle. Filthy Phillips on display for the home crowd.
The middle stanza was more of the same with some nasty mixed in. The physicality ramped up as the second progressed and the teams were trading chances. With just over 3 minutes played, Maureen Murphy uncorked a clapper from the right side of the high slot and the rebound popped to Megan Carter who had dropped down the left side of the slot. You’ve all seen how Capt. America tosses that shield around, right? Well, that’s how Captain Canada does it too, but she does it with a wrister. Up and over the glove and the Huskies were on the board.
UNH would not go quietly into the night (unfortunately) as they tied it up with less than 5 minutes left in the period. A 3:2 break for the Wildcats ended up in a goalmouth scramble and the puck leaked through Phillips pads for Emily Pinto to sweep into the open net. I’m surprised this one wasn’t whistled dead as Phillips had the puck covered (in my humble opinion.)
I don’t know if you’ve watched this team much this season, but they are not the type to roll over. Less than 2 minutes later, the Huskies got the lead back on Chloe Aurard’s 15th of the campaign. Aurard lugged the puck into the zone and found Alina Mueller who was breaking down the right side. The Captain corralled the puck and then put it back to Aurard at the far post for the tap in and the lead. Ironically, Aurard was in the perfect position for the breakout as she was hauled down coming out of the UNH zone (no call – check out my surprised face). If she wasn’t tripped up, she wouldn’t have been in that spot for the outlet. The Hockey Gods are always watching.
The teams opened the 3rd playing 4v4 on the clean sheet and that was about the only clean thing going in the final frame. This game had devolved into a bit of a sloppy contest. It looked a lot like some of the beer league games I play in (albeit at a much much faster pace), the Huskies were looking for the cross ice highlight feeds while neglecting the short passing-move your feet game that works so well for them. With a little more than 4 minutes left friend of the podcast, Taze Thompson walked out of the corner and beat Harnett far side over the blocker. I mean, I’ve been waiting this entire season to write this: It was a Lazer from the Tazer! If you haven’t already listened, you can find Thompson’s interview here.
With a late penalty on Carter, the Wildcats pulled the goalie for the extra attacker to go 6:4 in the Huskies zone. What’s the best way to counter the extra attacker? Ummm I’d say Aurard and Mueller would fit the bill. Aurard broke up the play in the NU zone and fed Mueller into the UNH end. Mueller went back to Aurard and she put home the dagger.
Up next for the Huskies is the first round of the Beanpot on Tuesday vs. BU
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