Another Piece of the Puzzle

Your Northeastern Huskies traveled to The Whale in New Haven, CT today for a late matinee vs. the Yale Bulldogs with the winner moving on to the Frozen Four. This was the #4 seed hosting the #5 seed with very similar clubs that featured highly skilled offensive players, stout defenses and lights-out goaltending. It came down to who would blink first and who could capitalize on their chances. At the end of 60 the Huskies got it done with a spectacular performance by Gwyneth Philips, while showing a roster depth that should carry them far this postseason.

It’s always something to marvel at when the seeding comes out. As HC Dave Flint said in the postgame presser, “we can only play who’s in front of us, the schedule is done years in advance”. I mean it only seems right that the winner of Hockey East should travel to the (checks notes) team that got eliminated in the ECAC semifinals? Be that as it may, it was a great game played cleanly and without the on-ice officials getting in the way. This game was entertaining from the opening draw and the teams carried that momentum and pace through the final buzzer.

The game started off evenly enough with both teams feeling each other out in the first half of the opening frame. Alina Müeller had the first legit scoring chance of the game when she walked in from the high slot but was denied by Yale goalie Pia Dukaric. After the Bulldogs rang one off the pipe behind Philips; Megan Carter dented the Yale post later a few minutes later. Captain Canada hit that one flush, but the puck bounced out as opposed to in and The Hockey Gods kept this one even for the opening frame. The Huskies were playing conservative defense, very patient with their breakouts and methodical on their transitions. Both teams were loathe to make a mistake as this one unfolded.

Early in the second, the Huskies were the first on the board. After Skylar Irving corralled a clearing attempt at the Yale blueline, she found Lily Shannon driving the net. The Mayor of Kingston laid the pass right on Shannon’s backhand and the freshman caught it on her backhand and dragged it across her body to tuck it forehand-backhand past a sprawled out Dukaric. A super tough, highly skilled play in close to beat an outstanding goaltender. Ladies and Gentleman, watch out for Lily Shannon.

Yale momentarily tied it up later in the period, but the goal was correctly disallowed for a high stick. You could feel the momentum swing at this point as the members of the Dog House that made the trip and took over one end of Ingalls Rink made their voices heard. Yale was getting looks but Philips was on her game. The biggest obstacle for her in some games is keeping warm, seeing some pucks, and facing shots. Not tonight. Philips had her highest save total of the season (38) en route to her 34th win.

As the period wound down the play opened up somewhat as both teams had odd-man rushes that were denied by the goaltenders. Yale was clogging the neutral zone and forcing the Huskies to work their way along the wall; tough sledding for the Huskies all 200ft of the rink. The forecheck ramped up in the last half of the middle stanza as well, as Yale employed a 2-player aggressive look that was forcing the Huskies into some uncharacteristic “pizza slice” passes. At the horn for the 2nd intermission the SOG were 21 each and the Huskies took their 1 goal lead into the room. 20 minutes from Duluth.

Northeastern opened the 3rd with heavy pressure in the offensive zone. After a lengthy possession in the Yale end, Chloé Aurard got the GWG when she got a blade on Carter’s shot from the point. The Captain skated out of the RW circle with her head up the whole way and found Carter in the middle of the blue line. Maple Leaf Meg with the catch and release and put the puck on net where Aurard was backing up in the slot and the grad student re-directed the puck under the glove to put the Huskies up by a pair.

I mean, if you’ve been paying attention you would have known that Aurard was going to get the game-winner. The grad student simply knows how to handle bulldogs of all varieties.

I’d be remiss if I wasn’t able to give some shine to the 3rd line for this goal. They were instrumental in keeping the puck in the Yale zone and forcing an offensive zone face-off. The whistle allowed the NU coaching staff to roll out the Huskies top line for the go-ahead goal. Great job by Irving, Shannon and especially Mia Brown who kept the puck along the end wall while battling multiple Yale players.

Just before midway of the final frame, the Huskies broke in on a 2:1 with Müeller carrying and Aurard streaking down the LW. I mean you knew how this one was going to end right? Müeller dished to Aurard and opened up for the return pass. Aurard gathered in the feed, dusted it off and sent it back to Müeller for the one-timer. Short-side under the glove, ball game.

Yale got one back on what should have been a whistle as a Yale player caught the puck, tucked it away, took 3 strides and then dropped it out in front of her. Philips made the initial save, but Anna Bargman tucked in the rebound. It looked as if Yale would maybe mount a bit of a comeback, especially when they pulled the goalie on the power play but “Speedy” Maureen Murphy had other plans. With just 40 seconds remaining, Murph won a footrace and potted the empty netter to send the Huskies to the Frozen Four (again). Murphy was just a guest on the podcast so I guess The Morning Skate Glow Up is alive and well. You can check it out here. We’ve actually set up a Howlin’ Huskies play list on our YouTube channel so you can find all of our interviews in one place. It’s a great time filler if you have a long ride to the Midwest or something. You can find the playlist here if interested.

So now, your Huskies head out to the Frozen Four in Duluth, MN with a matchup vs. the #1 seed Ohio State on the horizon for Friday at 3:30pm. #HowlinHuskies

Some observations from around the rink:

  • Listen, Matthews Arena is the berries, but The Whale? Ingalls Rink? What a great unique venue (could have used some video boards for replays, but that’s nitpicking). Really enjoyed the day there, even if I had to stare longingly at Todd across the way.
  • The Huskies were outshot today by a fair margin, not an everyday occurrence.
  • Jules Constantinople played a “home game” and had quite the crowd on hand to cheer her on. Nice piece by the local news featuring the freshman too.
  • Yale center Elle Hartje #4 was a monster at the dot today going 27-8. Unreal.
  • Maude Poulin-Labelle made a huge play in the first as she laid out to knock the puck off the stick of a Yale attacker and out of the zone. I’m not saying that Yale would have scored, but that was a pivotal play in the early stages of this one.
  • I’ve decided that the road blacks have some serious swag.
  • Philips was a monster during numerous sequences today. Yale could have easily hung 4 or 5 on the Huskies if it wasn’t for her efforts.
  • Abbey Marohn was shedding fore-checkers like a matador today. Nice to see another facet of her game along with shutdown defense and eating pucks.
  • Rumor has it that New Haven has legit top-tier pizza. Your intrepid blogger did his absolute best to get his hands on some, but was shut out at all 3 of the places he tried. There were at least 75 people deep in lines out front and when I called, I was told that takeout would be upwards of 2 hours. Is the hype real?
  • The line of Taze Thompson, Katy Knoll and Peyton Anderson just missed on a number of opportunities today. There’s a big game out of this line on the horizon.
  • Lily Yovetich was eating Yale forwards’ lunches all game. And if she didn’t eat their lunch? She bullied them for their lunch money instead, great game by Yovetich.
  • The Yale HC was a class act in the postgame presser. Mark Bolding went out of his way to compliment the NU squad and told the gathered reporters (and one blogger) that he hoped that the “Huskies run it all the way” and ended his time with “Go Huskies”. Great sportsmanship on display.
  • Alina Müeller is a top 3 finalist for the Patty Kazmaier award. If you watch her play, you can’t tell me that she shouldn’t win.
  • Your Huskies roll into the Frozen Four as the definitive “Beasts of the East” (credit to DK)
  • I had an awkward interaction pre-game when I introduced myself to Meg Carter’s dad in the restroom. I was walking by and saw the jersey and before I could stop it, my mouth went “are you Meg’s dad?” I apologize cause there’s nothing worse than bathroom chit-chat. Of course he was gracious and polite (Canadian), but please relay my apology.
  • Some hype videos to hold you over until Friday.

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You can read more about Brownie 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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