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Women’s hockey looking to the East

The Northeastern University women’s hockey team is one of the best clubs in the country and has a strong chance of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in March. We asked head coach Dave Flint about the competitive nature of Hockey East play, the implications of winning next week’s Beanpot and the importance of junior goaltender Florence Schelling, who has posted a 2.09 goals-against average and .927 save percentage in 23 games.

Hockey East features three teams in the top 10 in the country. How does playing in college hockey’s best division impact your club’s style of play?

Hockey East has come a long way in a short period of time. It’s very competitive, from the top to the bottom, so we have to bring our best game every time we hit the ice. There aren’t any easy wins anymore.

The Huskies face off against Harvard in the first round of the Beanpot next Tuesday. Aside from the immediate impact in the standings, what would winning the tournament mean for the club, Hockey East and rest of women’s college hockey?

Aside from bragging rights, the Beanpot has national implications because all four teams — Northeastern, Boston College, Boston University and Harvard — have been nationally ranked this year and have a shot to make it to the NCAA Tournament. Winning the Beanpot would also give us confidence and momentum going into the Hockey East playoffs.

What’s your team’s greatest strength and how important is it in determining the success of the club?

We’re very strong at the goaltender position, which gives us a good chance to beat anyone on any given night. That gives us a lot of confidence. I also think we have good team chemistry, which is an important piece of the puzzle.