Historic Northeastern women’s hockey season ends with overtime loss to Cornell in NCAA quarterfinals

Northeastern’s Veronika Pettey lunges for the puck en route to scoring Northeastern’s first goal of the game in the third period. Photo by Jim Pierce for Northeastern University

The Northeastern women’s hockey team’s memorable season ended on Saturday at Matthews Arena, where the Huskies lost a 3-2 thriller in overtime to the Cornell Big Red in the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.

The Huskies, playing without injured top scorer Alina Mueller, battled to the end. Trailing 2-0 midway through the third period, Northeastern turned the tide with goals from Veronika Pettey and Skylar Fontaine to force overtime. In the extra frame, Cornell scored a breakaway goal at the 5:19 mark to end the game.

Afterwards, Northeastern head coach Dave Flint credited his team with a hard-fought game and giving Cornell “all it could handle.”

“Disappointed with the outcome, obviously,” Flint said, “but I liked how the team competed, how they battled. They didn’t give up right until the end. That’s been our M.O. all year, the way we’ve played.”

The loss concludes a successful and historic season for the women’s hockey program, which had been ranked third in the nation since late December. Northeastern finished with a 27-6-5 record, despite playing the fifth-toughest schedule in the nation, according to USCHO.com. The team’s 27 wins are tied for the second most in a single season in program history.

Northeastern won the Hockey East championship for the second consecutive season. This year’s championship game ended in dramatic fashion last weekend, when forward Kasidy Anderson scored the winning goal in overtime.

In January, the Huskies played two games against Clarkson University in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in the first-ever NCAA Division 1 women’s hockey games played outside North America. The first game ended in a 3-3 tie, and Northeastern won the second match, 3-1.

The Huskies celebrate after Northeastern’s Skylar Fontaine scores a game-tying goal in the third period to even the score at 2-2. .Photo by Jim Pierce for Northeastern University

Northeastern also made the NCAA tournament this season for the third time in four years.

Flint said after the game that the Huskies had a great season, and he thanked the seniors for their leadership, which, he said, played a big part in the team’s success.

“The future is really bright for Northeastern’s women’s hockey,” Flint said.   

The 1,401 fans in attendance witnessed the first NCAA tournament matchup hosted by Northeastern’s women’s hockey program. And it was a good one.

Cornell jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period. Neither team scored in the second, though the Huskies started to take control as the period wore on. Northeastern had three power-play opportunities in the second period but failed to convert despite several scoring chances in which shots sailed wide and trickled in front of the Cornell net.

Northeastern goalie Aerin Frankel, who this season was named the Hockey East Goaltender of the Year, made big save after big save in the second and third periods to keep the Huskies in striking distance.

Northeastern finally broke through midway through the third period to cut Cornell’s lead in half. Andrea Renner stole the puck near the red line, streaked into the Cornell zone, and fired a shot that hit the goalie and bounced in front of the net. That’s when Pettey lunged for the bouncing puck with her stick and swatted it into the net as she fell to the ice.

Fontaine tied the game with 5:29 left in the third period, when she ripped a shot past Cornell goalie Marlène Boissonnault’s stick side, setting the stage for overtime.

Northeastern men’s hockey advances to Hockey East semifinals

In men’s hockey action, the Huskies advanced in the Hockey East tournament, sweeping Maine in their best-of-three series in the quarterfinals at Matthews Arena. Northeastern will now play in the semifinals on Friday, March 22 at TD Garden in Boston.

The Huskies celebrate following Brandon Hawkins’ power-play goal in the second period. Photo by Jim Pierce for Northeastern University

Northeastern, which is ranked No. 9 in the country, won 2-1 on Friday night, when Austin Goldstein scored a breakaway goal in overtime. The Huskies blocked a season-high 27 shots, and goalie Cayden Primeau made 41 saves in the victory.

On Saturday night, Northeastern jumped out to a 2-0 lead. Biagio Lerario scored the first goal with less than two minutes remaining in the first period, and Brandon Hawkins scored the second goal on the power play early in the second period. Maine cut the lead in half later in the second, but the Huskies held on for the 2-1 victory behind 33 saves from Primeau.  

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