NORTHEASTERN TIES HARVARD, 3-3, BUT FALLS IN SHOOTOUT AT BEANPOT
Senior goaltender Leah Sulyma makes 32 saves for Huskies
CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. - Leah Sulyma made 32 saves and eight different Huskies registered points, but a late rally from No. 10 Harvard tied the game, 3-3, where the Crimson prevailed in a shootout over Northeastern in the first round of the Beanpot held at Boston College.
Rachel Llanes, Casey Pickett and Lori Antflick each notched a goal for Northeastern (14-9-6, 6-7-4 Hockey East) who will play in the consolation game next Tuesday against either Boston College or Boston University.
Alyssa Wohlfeiler kept the Huskies alive in the shootout with a goal, but Josephine Pucci sealed the victory for the Crimson when she beat Sulyma as the fourth
The Huskies scored the first two goals of the game, but the Northeastern defense, coupled with the stellar goaltending of Sulyma, had to hold off an early Harvard power play when Stephanie Gavronsky took a checking penalty 6:32 into the proceedings.
After NU killed off the first Crimson power play of the game, Dani Rylan stepped off the bench and led an aggressive forecheck that earned the Huskies their first power play of the game.
The Huskies wasted little time capitalizing on the ensuing power play chance. Wohlfeiler kept the puck alive on the left half-wall and pushed it to Maggie DiMasi on the left point. With Llanes planted right below the left faceoff circle, DiMasi put a shot on net that Llanes deflected past Laura Bellamy (15 saves) for the 1-0 lead. The sophomore forward's 11th strike of the season came with 9:31 gone in the first.
Claire Santostefano kickstarted the play that led to the second Husky strike. The freshman forward forced a turnover at the Harvard blue line and skated into the right side of the offensive end. Her initial shot was kicked away by Bellamy, but Pickett joined the play and knocked home the rebound for her sixth goal of the season. The goal came at 11:36 of the first frame.
The Northeastern penalty kill had a heavy workload to begin the second stanza, but once again the PK held its own and killed off two back-to-back minors to build momentum for the period.
That momentum led to the Huskies' third goal of the contest when Siena Falino fished a puck away from the left corner and found a wide-open Antflick on the doorstep. The senior forward deposited the puck past Bellamy for her sixth goal of the season at the 5:12 mark of the period.
Harvard got on the board with a power play goal at 12:21 of the second stanza. Kate Buesser wristed a high shot over Sulyma's blocker for her 10th goal of the season that cut the Husky lead to 3-1.
Northeastern nearly made it 4-1 with seconds remaining in the second. Llanes got the puck behind the Crimson net and slipped a pass out front to Katie MacSorley. The pass narrowly slipped by MacSorley's stick, however, and the game remained 3-1 in favor of the Huskies.
It was a perfect period for the Husky shooters, as Antflick capitalized on NU's only shot of the period.
Sulyma was called upon again early in the third to make big saves and she obliged, stoning several Crimson grade-A opportunities. The Crimson finally broke through at the 15:46 mark of the third period when Ashley Wheeler tallied her third goal of the season to make it 3-2.
Just under a minute later, Marissa Gedman earned her fourth goal of the year to even the score, 3-3. After head coach Dave Flint called a timeout, the Huskies had a couple late chances but couldn't beat Bellamy.
In the overtime Harvard outshot Northeastern, 5-0, but Sulyma made two spectacular saves to force the shootout period.
The Northeastern penalty killers went 5-for-6 and Sulyma made six saves while killing penalties. The Huskies have now killed off 23 of its last 24 penalties, a streak that began on Jan. 23 against Providence.
The Huskies will be back in action on Friday, Feb. 11 when they travel to Boston University to face the No. 3 Terriers at Walter Brown Arena to begin a home-and-home series. Puck drop on Friday will be at 7 p.m.