The Huskies fell, 5-3, tothe University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Wildcats, ranked fourth in thenation, on Friday afternoon at historic Fenway Park in the first-ever outdoor women’s college hockey game.
The 12-4-2 Huskies, ranked ninth,were prepared to put on one heck of a show for up to 38,000 spectators, said co-coach Lauren McAuliffe. “Anyone who sees us will like what they see, and it will hopefully open their eyes to how fast-paced the women’s game is.”
“It’s an Olympic year,” concurs Northeastern senior forward Annie Hogan, one of the team’s three co-captains. “The U.S. women’s team is looking pretty good, and women’s college hockey is making noise. The sport is growing.”
UNH bested the Huskies, 2-1, in the teams’ first match-up of the season. But after two periods of play on Friday, Northeastern held a 3-1 lead. Unfortunately, a four goal, third period rally by New Hampshire swept away any hopes of the Huskies coming out on top in this historic matchup.
Despite the dissapointing result, McAuliffe was proud of the way her team played. “Hopefully the game was reallyentertaining for everyone who was there,” she said in a postgame press conference. “The outcome is absolutely not what you hope for, but we’re proud of what our girls did out there.
“Like we said going into the game,we wanted to showcase thebest hockey we can, andUNH andNortheastern did a pretty good job of that.”
Last Friday’sgame at Fenway could build the audience for women’s college hockey as Brandi Chastain’s game-winning shootout goal against China did for U.S. women’s soccer in the 1999 FIFA World Cup. “This is the kind of sea-changing event that captures previously untapped audiences,” said George Gardner, Northeastern’s associate athletic director of external affairs.