BOSTON — Goaltender Florence Schelling and Northeastern University survived an onslaught of 46 shots to beat Boston University, 4-2, and move on to the Hockey East Championship.
BU started the game firing with 25 shots in the first period alone. The Terriers largely monopolized the puck, firing multiple shots at Schelling at a time. They had at least two people in front of the net for almost every shot, able to send rebounds back at the goal.
At 15 minutes into the period, after 21 shots, BU broke the uneven 0-0 tie. Forward Jenn Wakefield took the puck into the corner then came out and fired the shot past Schelling.
“I knew BU was going to come out hard and I was trying to tell our team if we could weather that storm in the beginning and keep it close, if we stay in the game we’re going to build some momentum,” said Northeastern coach Dave Flint. “And that’s what happened. We hung around and we’re a pretty dangerous team when you let us hang around.”
Schelling kept the Huskies in the game in a first period when she saw the most action. Northeastern only managed nine shots in the frame, and didn’t record its first until a power play in the ninth minute when BU had already taken 14 shots of its own. However, thanks to Schelling’s efforts, the Huskies were only down a goal when the first buzzer sounded.
“It really keeps our spirits high,” said captain forward Alyssa Wohlfeiler of Schelling’s play. “When we see her play like that, we know it’s going to be a great game and that we’re going to be in it the whole game.”
Things started changing for the Huskies in the second period. They started clogging the lanes, blocking the Terriers’ passes and shots, only allowing BU to get the puck on the net six times. Also, they started getting better shots of their own.
Ten minutes into the frame, Wohlfeiler put Northeastern on the board for the first time. She fired a shot toward the net from just off the right corner. BU goaltender Kerrin Sperry sprawled out in an attempt to stop the puck, but it slid past her.
Just four minutes later, defenseman Julia Marty gave the Huskies the lead. Center Rachel Llanes won the faceoff and fed the puck to Marty, who then fired a one-timer past Sperry.
BU, however, was able to tie the game back up with just over two minutes remaining. As she passed in front of the net, Wakefield sent a shot past Schelling glove side.
It did not take Northeastern much of the third period to respond. Less than two minutes in, forward Claire Santostefano fired a shot over Sperry’s shoulder from just left of the goal. That gave Northeastern the lead once more, but BU refused to give in easily. The Terriers attempted 31 shots, 15 on target.
“While we has some good chances, I think that was when Florence Schelling stood tall,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “I think we tried to hard in the third period to get back into the game and were a little overzealous in our reads to give them a few chances.”
Schelling set conference records for most saves in a period with 25 and more saves in a Hockey East playoff game with 45. However, the latter was broken just three and half hours later by Providence College’s Genevieve Lacasse with 58 saves in a loss to Boston College.
The Huskies sealed the game with another goal from Wohlfeiler. She carried the puck into the zone, looked to pass, and took a backhand shot over Sperry’s pad. Northeastern managed to hold BU off for the remaining seven minutes to record its first win over the Terriers this year.
“I think the last 10 [minutes] was probably the longest; I kept looking up at the clock and it was barely moving,” said Flint. “When it got to be about the five-minute mark, I think I settled down a little bit because I felt like we were doing the little things right.”
This game was the fifth meeting of the season between BU and Northeastern, and the fourth in a month. The previous meetings had resulted in three Terriers victories and a tie in the Beanpot consolation game.
Additionally, it was the second Hockey East playoff victory in Northeastern’s history, the first coming last weekend against University of Connecticut in the quarterfinals.
The shirts Northeastern has worn in the postseason read “Why not” on the back. The program has been building step by step under Flint, qualifying for the tournament, than earning a higher seed, and not advancing to the finals. So, why not the Huskies for their first Hockey East Championship?