NEW HAVEN, CT – The Northeastern Huskies women’s hockey team defeated the Yale Bulldogs 4-1 Saturday afternoon at Ingalls Rink to advance to the Frozen Four in front of a large crowd of Yale and Northeastern fans packing the arena. Lily Shannon struck first getting a perfect feed to break in on Yale’s Pia Dukaric and outmaneuvered the goaltender for Northeastern’s first goal at 4:22 in the second.
“I thought she had a great game today, all around, not just the goal.” Northeastern Head Coach Dave Flint said. “But you know for a freshman to step up today in a pressure situation like today and she answers with a big goal. And that wasn’t an easy goal, she got that puck in on her stick in tight and she had to get around the goalie really quick and their goalie’s really good. But I think once she scored that goal too. Everybody kinda like all right everybody relaxed a little bit and got a little shot of confidence.”
In the third, Chloe Aurard would strike with a smash from deep to add the ultimate game winner at 2:27. With Yale trying to get back into the game Alina Mueller was fed a pass across the goal area and blasted it into the open area she found at 9:37 to put their opponents in dire straits. Yale did not go quietly and at 15:22 Anna Bargman pounced on a rebound and knocked it in to get the Bulldogs some life. In the closing minutes, Yale pulled Dukaric and benefited from a Northeastern penalty, however Maureen Murphy stole the puck from a retreating Bulldog and carried it into the open the net at 19:20 to remove all hope of a comeback.
“I think it was a good effort by our team. I think it was a little bit of a slow start, turning pucks over in bad areas. But once we settled in I think got the nerves out a little bit, we definitely picked it up and I liked the way we played,” Northeastern Coach Dave Flint said.
“You could play that game a million times again and I don’t know that we’d win, but we’d score more than one goal,” Yale’s Susan Cavanagh Head Coach for Women’s Ice Hockey Mark Bolding said after the game. While speaking about the very offensive team in Yale not scoring more he conceded “to be held to one, all you can just say, Northeastern, you deserve it.”
“They were a real disciplined team,” Mueller said of Yale. “Definitely gave us less time than we normally have. They played really well, always five together, they were very compact.”
Yale took 39 shots in their effort despite only tallying the one goal. “It’s an absolute war out there at times,” Bolding said. “and you just don’t know when your chances are going to go in. You just keep pushing and pushing. I think that’s the beauty of where our game has grown. It’s intense it’s fast and furious and you do the same thing. You just keep putting pucks to the net on two good goalies and capitalize.” Bolding noted the team might have needed to get more “timely traffic” in front of the Northeastern netminder in order to find more rebounds that were available but Yale wasn’t in position to get.
Northeastern’s Gwyneth Phillips made 38 saves on the day and her contribution was noted by the team’s Captain. “Gwyn made some unreal saves, without her, we wouldn’t be sitting here,” Alina Mueller said.
Flint was asked about the experience level of many of his players and how that would affect his team going forward and he noted that “we have a good solid nucleus of kids who’ve been in this situation, but we also have a big group of young kids who haven’t but the older kids do a real good job of keeping the younger players calm and focused,” Flint said.
For Yale, what was left was disappointment. “Quarterfinals is…it’s the one that really stings you because you know you’re good enough to be in the Final Four, but somebody’s not going,” Bolding said. “and so the only factor now is you gotta lick your wounds and feel for our older kids they get a break, they’ve been working hard.”
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