BOSTON — It was going to be historic; that much was guaranteed. Who knew it would be one for the ages too?
New Hampshire and Northeastern saw to that by hooking up in the women’s half of the Frozen Fenway double-header, won in rousing fashion by UNH, 5-3 in what is believed to be the first-ever women’s college hockey game held outdoors.
The Wildcats erased a two-goal third period deficit with four unanswered tallies, two of them by freshman Kristin Lavoie.
The first of those came with 5:30 left on the big center field clock at snow-swept Fenway Garden, er, Park.
“It was the most unforgettable moment (in my life),” said Lavoie, who hails from Fonthill, Ontario. “I’ll never forget it. I’m speechless.”
“Could you script it any better?” said Wildcats’ coach Brian McCloskey. “I mean, the setting, the history, the weather. Things beyond your control conspired to make it a pretty unique day.”
A full-blown goal glut seemed to be in the works, after the teams hooked up for three goals (two of them by the Huskies) in the opening 3:59.
Northeastern freshmen Brittany Esposito and Casey Pickett scored 1:12 apart to make it 2-0, with Esposito surprising UNH starting goalie Lindsey Minton with a 20-foot wrister at 1:29.
“It was a great feeling,” said Esposito. “Coming here, all we wanted to do was win. I didn’t care who scored, as long as we won. Unfortunately that didn’t happen.
“It was one of the coolest feelings, watching the puck go in the net. I couldn’t control myself, and I jumped as high as I could.”
Pickett’s goal came on a wraparound, after she pilfered the puck behind the net.
Wildcats’ fourth line winger Shannon Sisk got that goal back just 18 seconds later. Cruising in front of Huskies’ goalie Florence Schelling, Sisk waited as Sarah Cuthbert kicked the puck to her from out of the corner. Sisk’s one-timer beat Schelling through her pads.
The score held until 7:28 of the second stanza, when Esposito scored her second of the game on a one-timer of Annie Hogan’s centering feed to make it 3-1.
That left the Wildcats with a two-goal hole to dig out of against the stingiest defense in the Nation.
“I think when we were down, we took a step back (and said) ‘OK, we’re at Fenway, but we still have to win these two points,’” said senior left wing Micaela Long.
The comeback bid began in earnest when Julie Allen swatted in her own rebound at 1:30 of the third.
Long followed with the tying goal at 11:02, making it 3-3.
That set the stage for Lavoie’s game-winner, when she stretched to tip Long’s feed past Schelling.
“I was going to the net hard,” said Lavoie. “Luckily it went on my stick and went in.”
Lavoie pocketed an empty-netter with 15 seconds remaining, capping the story book day.
“We were down two goals, but we knew we could do it,” said Allen. “I know the weather was a factor, but we knew we had it in us. Just coming away with a win. Just amazing at Fenway. History.”
History that will never be repeated.