BOSTON – Game one of the Hockey East quarterfinals went to Northeastern as the host Huskies brought down UConn 6-2 at Matthews Arena Friday. UConn and Northeastern will battle it out in game two on Saturday, Feb. 25 at 3 p.m.
Junior goaltender Annie Belanger (Sherbrooke, Quebec) capped off the night with 34 saves, including 15 in the first period alone.
In a fairly evenly matched first period, UConn and Northeastern were scoreless for 19 out of the first 20 minutes before NU found the back of the net in the last minute to play.
Earlier in the game, the enemy Huskies were called for tripping eight minutes into the first, but UConn was unable to strike first.
Sophomore Rebecca Lindblad was called for bodychecking with just over two minutes to play in the period. Northeastern senior Heather Mottau capitalized for the rival Huskies with 31 seconds remaining on Lindblad’s penalty and less than a minute to play in first to give NU a late 1-0 lead.
Despite shots being near even 11-9 with less than five minutes to play in the first, Northeastern had a last minute offensive spurt, fueled by UConn’s penalty, to outshoot the Huskies 16-10 in the first.
Northeastern extended its lead 1:27 after play resumed in the second period. NU freshman Codie Cross gave the host Huskies a 2-0 advantage on a shot from the point.
After sitting out the back-half of the season due to injury, junior Theresa Knutson (Onalaska, Wis.) rekindled the energy and got UConn on the board three minutes after NU scored to make it 2-1 early in the second.
UConn had another strong power play performance later in the period, but the Huskies were unable to find the equalizer.
Northeastern scored two quick goals at the start of the final period, one off a misplayed puck the other off a breakaway, to take a 4-1 lead.
Junior Justine Fredette (Winnipeg, Manitoba) cut NU’s lead back to two goals after she tapped in a rebound off a shot from the point from fellow junior Cydnee Cook (Winnipeg, Manitoba). Harris picked up the secondary assist, her second helper of the day.
With NU leading 4-2, UConn kept Belanger on the bench after a timeout with over three minutes to play. Northeastern notched two empty net goals in the 1:56 that Belanger was not in goal to stake the final score at 6-2.
UConn and Northeastern meet again on Saturday, Feb. 25 for game two of the best-of-three series. Puck-drop is at 3 p.m. at Matthews Arena.