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Women’s club hockey team wins Division I national championship

The Huskies — backed by outstanding goaltending, veteran leadership and solid team play — rolled through the competition last weekend to win the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I national championship. Courtesy photo.

The Northeastern women’s club ice hockey team has captured the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I national championship, continuing a remarkable run of success that has defined the program.

The team capped its thrilling tournament run last weekend in Wooster, Ohio, by defeating Minnesota 3-1 in the championship game.

The victory marked the end of an up-and-down year for the team, which began the regular season 8-0-1 but finished with a 16-10-1 record. Players and coaches regrouped in the playoffs, during which the club stormed through the competition.

“I can’t say enough about this team’s collective character,” said first-year head coach Chris Walsh. “The players bounced back in big way.”

The Huskies won all three of its round-robin tournament games and then shut out the University of Massachusetts in the semifinals, 4-0, to advance to the championship.

Goalie Chelsea Dietz was named tournament MVP, stopping 128 of 131 shots in five games for a 0.60 goals against average and .977 save percentage. “Throughout the whole tournament, she was a rock in net for us,” Walsh said.

Team captain Meredith Harclerode (five goals) and Nicole Fox (three goals, three assists) earned First Team All Tournament honors.

Walsh said Harclerode and Dietz inspired the squad with outstanding leadership, and he noted that strong play in both the offensive and defensive ends of the ice contributed to the team’s success. He also praised assistant coaches Craig Lee and Brian Walsh for their commitment to the team.

Dietz and Harclerode helped start the club hockey program five years ago to give more women on campus the opportunity to play the game they love.

The championship capped the fourth full season for the team, which won the Division II national title in 2010. The squad moved to Division I in the 2010-11 season, but lost to Michigan State in the finals last year.

Dietz said the loss fueled players to work hard to win it all this season. “It’s overwhelming,” said Dietz, now a graduate student in Northeastern’s six-year physical therapy program. “This is the best way to go out.”

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