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Shooting for a title

The Northeastern University women’s hockey team won 22 games last season, but lost in the semifinal round of the Hockey East playoffs and failed to qualify for the NCAA Tournament.

Head coach Dave Flint characterized last season’s disappointing end as a motivating factor for this year’s squad, which is ranked No. 10 in the nation in United States College Hockey Online preseason poll.

“They know how close they have been the last two years and now they’re ready to take that next step,” Flint explained in a preseason interview. “I have high expectations because I know what we are capable of accomplishing.”

The Huskies will have their first chance to show off their newfound grit when they open the reg­ular season on Friday at Colgate.

This season’s roster will feature three freshmen and a new starting goaltender. Sophomore goalie Chloe Desjardins, who won two games and sported a sleek 2.01 goals against average as a freshman, will take over net-minding duties from Florence Schelling, who was drafted by the Montreal Stars of the Canadian Women’s Hockey League.

Flint praised his new starting goalie’s athleticism and drive to win. “Her work ethic is unmatched,” he said, “and she has a really high compete level.”

Last season Northeastern’s offense outscored opponents 104 to 51. This year’s team should find the back of the net with similar ease.

Incoming freshman forward Paige Savage will skate with Kendall Coyne and Casey Pickett on Northeastern’s top line and could challenge the duo for offensive supremacy on the score sheet. Pickett and Coyne accounted for one-third of the team’s offense last season, combining to tally 44 goals and 42 assists.

“Paige is a power forward with a scoring touch,” Flint has said of the team’s new offensive star, who scored 30 points in 27 games in the Junior Women’s Hockey League. “She will give us some much-needed size and strength up front.”

Flint can’t wait for the puck to drop on the regular season. He has good reason to believe in the red and black’s chances of raising a Hockey East Championship banner this spring.

“We’re fun to watch and we play a wide-open and very aggressive style of hockey,” Flint said. “We’ll use our speed to our advantage and it will be tough to contain us.”