6X Hockey East Champs

Your Northeastern Huskies welcomed in the Providence College Friars for a matinee at Historic Matthews Arena to determine supremacy in Hockey East. This was the 4th tilt between these 2 clubs this season with NU holding the edge, albeit it with a razor’s margin as each team won 1 game with a shootout to determine the other game (Huskies got that one). This game was played on the edge of history as the Huskies were looking for their 6th straight crown as the Friars were looking for their first title since winning three in a row from 2003-2005. At the end of 60, the Huskies got it done winning their 6th straight Hockey East crown. Read that again: 6th straight Hockey East Championship. Holy shnikes.

The teams opened up fairly even which was expected when the #1 and #3 seeds face-off. The Huskies rolled out the 600 Point Line to open the game and the playoff vibes were palpable throughout the rink. How much did this squad want it? Opening shift The Captain set the tone, as Alina Müeller went down to one knee to block a point shot. Oh yeah, the Huskies came to play today.

Unfortunately so did PC as they scored on their first shot on net after about 7 minutes played. Noemi Neubauerova put a point shot on net that deflected off a Husky player in front and past Gwyneth Philips to give the Friars the early lead.

The Huskies continued to push the pace as the period progressed and the squad seemed to get a lift when Mueller beat Hope Walinski clean only to hear the puck ding off the crossbar. It’s a funny dynamic when you put shots off the pipes; some teams hang their heads and think, why can’t we get one past this ‘tendy? While some teams get a lift from clanging one, thinking they’ve got this goalie figured out. Guess which category these Huskies are in?

With less than 5mins to go in the opening period, Mueller got the Huskies on the board when she finished off her own rebound. Captain Canada (Maple Leaf Meg?) Meg Carter carried the puck into the PC zone and found (friend of the podcast) Chloé Aurard in the high slot. Aurard managed to get the shot on net despite having PC players draped all over her and Mueller goosed Aurard’s shot on it’s way to the net. Walinski made the initial save, but Mueller followed up and tucked in the loose change on the backhand. Money Mueller for sure. To whomever decides these things: Just give her the Patty Kaz already.

In the middle frame the physicality ramped up as did the Huskies pace. I’ve long bashed the on-ice officials for their lack of consistency and general incompetence. However, not THESE officals. Hats off to Kelly Cooke, Chelsea Rapin, Kaitlin Hayes and Laura Schmidlein as they were spot on in this one. A championship game should be decided by the players not by Stripes. They let the ladies play while keeping them safe and not letting it get out of hand. Well done. Quick note to the Hockey East powers that be, let’s keep this officiating crew as your #1 unit.

Carter gave the Huskies their first lead of the day with about 7mins gone in the middle frame. The Huskies had just come off the PP and in that “vulnerable minute” as the penalty expired, Carter got her cookie. Mueller drove down the LW wall and pushed the puck over to Maureen Murphy who moved laterally before dishing to Carter at the left point. Carter improved her angle and let a wrister go that found home. If you listened to the most recent podcast (featuring Coach Carpenito and Chloé Aurard), you heard us discussing how Carter lays off the clappers. This was a perfect example of that ideology. If she had wound up with a big back scratcher, it would have likely been blocked and gone back the other way. Stick taps for the Mayor of Kingston Skylar Irving, who drove the net bringing the defense into an already crowded blue paint. You can score that one as the GWG for Carter.

Philips was tested in this one as the Friars were getting some chances, but of course, she was up to the task. In case you forgot she leads the country (and known universe including both the Marvel and DC Extended Universes) in GAA, Save % and dubs. NU had some sloppiness in their own end and wouldn’t/couldn’t/didn’t lay off the cross-zone passing which translated into some good looks for PC. I mean “good looks” is a relative term when Philips is in net.

The Huskies opened the final frame on the power play, and you know how that ends right? Murphy walked in from the LW wall and put a shot on net that leaked through Walinski and Aurard was at the paint to sweep it home. Dagger inserted and the Huskies were off an running.

But the Huskies weren’t done yet. I mean, it’s a bold strategy to keep putting these beauticians on the power play, but if the other team is going to keep taking dumb penalties what are you going to do? Turn down power plays? I think not. This time it was The Premier Power Forward in Women’s Hockey Today Katy Knoll who worked the puck up the LW wall to Maude Poulin-Labelle at the point. MPL put the puck on net and Taze Thompson re-directed it far side over the shoulder of Walinski. The Huskies have officially slipped the chain.

At this point it was all over except for the clock. The Friars pulled the goalie with just over 2mins to play to make it interesting but it was too little too late.

Ladies and Gentlemen your 6x Hockey East Champion Northeastern Huskies!

Some thoughts from around the rink on this snowy Saturday:

  • The entire D corp played outstanding today. I wanted to give them some shine
    • The hockey world is lucky Tory Mariano and Meg Carter don’t play together regularly. Holy smokes what a shut down pair. And stick taps to Mariano for sending a PC player into the shadow realm and then calmly looking at the ref like “what’s up?”
    • Lily Yovetich played her butt off today. Physical when she needed to be with quick sharp outlets, just a tremendous performance. I asked HC Dave Flint in the post game press conference (not a big deal, your boy Brownie rubbing shoulders with BIG J journalists) about her performance this afternoon and he commented how Yovetich has been improving game by game and they give her the toughest assignments. Also, I wanted to give Yovetich some love, even though it was called, that was a great hip check Lily. I’m officially a Yove-stan.
    • Abbey Marohn and Jules Constantinople held a clinic today on how to shed fore-checkers and initiate offense. Great edge work and on-ice vision by both of them. Numerous times they dusted PC forwards and started the offense going back the other way. Just superb transitions.
    • You think Maude Poulin-Labelle is glad she transferred over? Some key defensive plays where she laid out to deny a bid and then (just like the entire D) was eating pucks. She gets credit for her offense, but Pouin-Labelle was lights out defensively today.
  • I don’t think Katy Knoll glided today. She was on her horse from her first shift to her last. Knoll brought great energy and determination today and played like her hair was on fire. No word yet if she damaged the side boards when she steamrolled a PC player into them in the 2nd period.
  • I owe Gwyneth Philips an apology. I’ve been putting 2 L’s in her last name all season, AND I’m so arrogant that I was like “I can’t believe they spelled Fort Philips wrong on the sign”. Hand up, I’m the donkey here. Sorry Gwyn.
  • Glad to see Alina Müeller actually take her tourney MVP trophy with her this time. I was going to mention that to her in the press conference but I didn’t want to upset Delaney.
  • Now listen, I’m not going to toot my own horn (if you’ve ever listened to our podcast you know I NEVER do that), but I’d like to point out that of the 7 players to register a point today, only Poulin-Labelle, Carter and Murphy have not come onto the podcast. Just saying that if you should happen to get asked (psst Murphy), it might bring you some luck. I mean they don’t call it The Morning Skate Glow Up for nothing. In case you haven’t listened (and if you haven’t, frankly how dare you), here’s the list:

Before I leave you with a number of photos and videos of these weapons, I’d like to take a moment to step back and realize what these graduate students have accomplished. For their entire time at Northeastern, (5 seasons for 3 of them!!) they have never lost a Hockey East playoff game. That is literally something that will never be duplicated and I for one, am happy that I was here to witness. Alina Müeller, Chloé Aurard and Mia Brown congratulations! Maureen Murphy and Maude Poulin-Labelle arrived fashionably late to the party from PC and UVM respectively, but also haven’t lost a Hockey East playoff game in NU colors. What a wagon. Onto the NCAA’s. #HowlinHuskies

You can read more about Brownie in his bio down below or follow him on Twitter @Abrow28

Author: Brownie

A legacy that was born on the frozen rivers in Northern Saskatchewan then later forged on the ponds of New England. Playing with the heart of a warrior and the soul of a poet; always living by the credo handed down by generations of beer-league beauties that came before him. Skate Hard - Quick Changes - Win the Parking Lot.

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