It wasn’t exactly freshman orientation, not the sort that all newcomers to Northeastern University undergo, anyway.
It was more of a reorientation for NU coach Dave Flint.
After all, a season away to help guide Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics did net Flint a silver medal, but it also left him feeling a little like an incoming Huskies recruit.
Except that even the NU newbies were new to him, too.
“It was like my first day all over again,” Flint said. “When I got back from the Olympics, I forgot the code to get into my voice mail. We had 17 freshmen and sophomores, so it was like 17 freshmen to me.”
And visa versa.
While Flint, who came to NU in 2008 after four seasons at St. Anselm, was with the national team, the Huskies were being run by interim co-coaches Linda Lundrigan and Lauren McAuliffe.
The two were more than mere place holders.
In fact, they led Northeastern to its first ever winning record since the dawn of Women’s Hockey East back in 2002.
Moreover, it was Lundrigan, who returns as an assistant coach, and McAuliffe who brought in the Class of 2014.
It’s a talented bunch that includes Katie MacSorley, who stepped right onto the Huskies’ top line.
“I didn’t really have much say in it,” Flint said. “I’ll give Linda Lundrigan credit. She and Lauren McAuliffe had to run the show, plus do the recruiting. She found a real gem in MacSorley. They did a really good job.”
MacSorley was discovered in Stratford, Ont., playing for her hometown Aces, a girls program founded in 1935.
“I don’t think she was on too many people’s radar,” said Flint. “She’s been great for us.”
It’s fair to say that there are a host of coaches kicking themselves for overlooking her blip, particularly among WHEA bench bosses, who will have to put up with her for the next four years.
To Flint, MacSorley is a veritable puck magnet.
“You talk about kids who are always around the puck,” Flint said. “The puck always ends up on her stick. She’s kind of deceptive. She doesn’t look fast. She’s got those long strides. But she’ll sneak past you. And she’s got a shot.”
A shot that has beaten opposing goalies 11 times to date.
“She looks like she’s dead tired coming at you, and just snaps the puck home,” said Flint. “That’s how she scores her goals. She just snaps it under the crossbar. She’s been a nice addition.”
Northeastern hit the break at 10-4-4 (3-3-3 in WHEA) and has had to cope with the loss of forward Brittany Esposito, whom Flint calls “our most dynamic forward”.
Flint’s biggest challenge, save for retrieving his voice mail, has been to make (or remake) the Huskies in his own image.
However, as he heads out the hockey hinterlands to do a little recruting of his own, he’s feeling pretty positive about the way things are going.
“I’m trying to teach them a new system,” he said. “We’re playing a different system than what they played last year. Going through that was tough. It was pretty stressful the first month of the season, but now I’m seeing signs that they’re starting to get it.”
Now, about those passcodes.