Northeastern falls No. 1 Ohio State, 3-0, in semifinals of NCAA women’s hockey tournament

Photo by Jim Pierce/Northeastern Athletics

DULUTH, Minnesota—With nothing to lose and a three-goal deficit to make up, the fifth-seeded Huskies (34-4-1) opened the final period with increased aggression. But they were unable to crack an Ohio State defense led by national player of the year finalist Sophie Jaques and junior goalie Amanda Thiele, who made 16 saves.

The 3-0 loss to No. 1 Ohio State marked a third straight painful defeat at the NCAA Women’s Frozen Four for the Huskies, who suffered losses in overtime of the 2021 championship game and in double-overtime of the national semifinal last year.

They had arrived with a 22-game winning streak but were too often pinned in their zone. When they did break free, the Buckeyes prevented Northeastern from sharing the puck for promising shots near goal. 

The experienced Buckeyes (33-5-2), featuring 10 players who were making a third straight appearance in the Frozen Four, demonstrated why they were favored to defend their national title. 

The outcome would have been worse if not for the career-best 50 saves by Northeastern senior Gwyneth Philips, who on Friday was named national goalie of the year. 

It was an especially sad outcome for the seven players who were ending their Northeastern careers—led by graduate students Mueller, Chloé Aurard and Maureen Murphy, the nation’s most accomplished front line this season.

It was also the final Northeastern game for Mia Brown, Kate Holmes, Alexa Matses and Maude Poulin-Labelle. 

The loss culminates a sensational 86-10-4 run by the Huskies over the past three seasons.

Ohio State leads Northeastern, 3-0, entering the final period

With 1:16 remaining in the second period, Ohio State senior defender Hadley Hartmetz gave her Buckeyes a 3-0 lead on a goal from the blue line. Northeastern goalie Gwyneth Philips appeared to be screened on the play by OSU forward Jenna Buglioni.

The goal was upheld after an extended video review. The officials appeared to decide that Huskies defender Megan Carter had shouldered Buglioni into Philips’ space. 

Through two periods, Gwyneth Philips has made 35 saves—three short of her career-high set last weekend in Northeastern’s 4-1 NCAA quarterfinal win at fourth-seed Yale. The score would be more lopsided if not for several terrific saves made by the national goalie of the year. The Huskies have been outshot 38-7 overall.

Buckeyes go up, 2-0, over Northeastern in second period

As Maureen Murphy was skating off the ice, having lost her stick on a hard check, the puck found its way to Ohio State junior wing Makenna Webster. She blasted a shot from above the circles for an unassisted goal that gave Ohio State a 2-0 lead with 8:42 remaining in the second period.

That big goal by the Buckeyes came after a disappointing power play by Northeastern.

In a fifth minute faceoff, Northeastern freshman Lily Shannon was knocked down by Sloane Matthews, who was penalized two minutes for cross-checking. At that point the Huskies had been outshot 6-0 in the period and 24-4 overall. 

Just 34 seconds into the Huskies’ power play, Alina Mueller was tripped by Ohio State’s Paetyn Levis—giving Northeastern a two-skater advantage for the next minute and a half. But the power play was tentative after their top line went to the bench. One of the best scoring sequences came from Buckeyes’ star defender Sophie Jaques, their leading scorer, who broke away to threaten a shorthanded goal.

Northeastern trails Ohio State, 1-0, entering second period

Overall, the Huskies were outshot, 18-4, in the opening period. But the bulk of those Ohio State shots came in the opening nine minutes.

Ohio State’s shooting advantage was a mere 6-4 over the latter half of the period.

The key takeaways for the Huskies were the goaltending of Gwyneth Philips and the renewed play of their top-scoring line.

Philips gave up a rebound goal in the second minute but then held fast, turning away 16 ensuing shots. As Northeastern’s skaters adapted to the exceptional speed of Ohio State over the latter half of the period, the Huskies’ front line of Alina Mueller, Maureen Murphy and Chloé Aurard created legitimate scoring opportunities, including a breakaway by Murphy and an apparent goal by Aurard that was disallowed after video review.

The game is shaping up as coach Dave Flint had predicted. Can the Huskies create momentum and counterattack for the equalizer? Stay tuned.

Huskies’ opening goal is disallowed. Ohio State leads Northeastern, 1-0

The apparent scoring sequence began with Alina Mueller knocking the puck loose with a mid-ice check that launched a Northeastern counterattack. Maureen Murphy centered a pass that Chloé Aurard put away to the left post with 5:39 remaining.

After a lengthy video review, the goal was disallowed as Mueller was found to have passed the puck with her hand as she lay on the ice after the hit.

It was nonetheless another hopeful sign for the Huskies. Though they’ve been outshot 15-4 overall, the game has been evenly played since the opening 11 minutes. 

Northeastern coach Dave Flint anticipated that the Huskies would have to withstand an opening assault from Ohio State. They appear to have done just that. But the next goal will be crucial.

Ohio State takes quick 1-0 lead over Northeastern

Much as Huskies coach Dave Flint predicted, the defending champions were on the attack early. Just 76 seconds into the game, third-line forward Kenzie Hauswirth fired the opening shot off the stick of Northeastern goalie Gwyneth Philips. Center Sloane Matthews put away the rebound for a 1-0 Ohio State lead.

The Huskies were on the defensive in the earlygoing as OhioState was responsible for all 11 of the game’s shots on goal in the opening seven minutes.

Huskies dressed in black

The fifth-seeded Huskies took to the ice for warmups 35 minutes prior to the start of their NCAA women’s hockey semifinal. They are wearing their all-black uniforms with red and white trim. 

The Huskies are seeking to win Northeastern’s first NCAA title in any team sport. 

Riding on the strength of the nation’s best defense and its top-scoring line, the Huskies have been expressing confidence as well as respect for Ohio State, the defending national champion and favorite to repeat.

“The first five minutes Ohio State is going to come at us like it’s 10 players on the ice,” said Northeastern’s Dave Flint, who on Friday was named national coach of the year for the second time in three seasons. “We need to be ready to weather that storm.”  

No. 5 Northeastern vs. No. 1 Ohio State

The Northeastern University women’s hockey team (34-2-1) will take on defending champion and No. 1 seed Ohio State (32-5-2) in an NCAA semifinal at 3:30 p.m. (Eastern Time) today.

The game will be streamed on ESPN+ and Northeastern Global News reporter Ian Thomsen will be providing live updates from AMSOIL Arena.

The winner will advance to Sunday’s national championship at 4 p.m. ET (ESPNU).

On Northeastern’s Boston campus, a watch party will begin at 3:30 on the ground floor of the Curry Student Center.

The Huskies have won 22 straight games, including the Beanpot and Hockey East titles. They advanced to the Frozen Four with a 4-1 win over Yale last weekend.

In the other NCAA semifinal, No. 2 Minnesota will take on No. 6 Wisconsin at 7 tonight.