Inside the Clincher

by Becca Gaddy

The women’s hockey team continued to make history since winning the Hockey East Championship for the first time ever last season. The team went 27-6-5 this season as they clinched the Hockey East regular season title – and second consecutive conference championship.

This season the team faced their neighborhood foe, Boston College, five times, going 3-2 in the series. The final meeting at the Hockey East championship, like the first at Matthews Arena in November, was a decisive overtime victory. 

With the energy of the championship win still buzzing, four integral members of the team reflect back on their second Hockey East Championship win, and second nail-biting overtime win over the Eagles.

Senior captain Kasidy Anderson: “We knew where we went wrong in the losses and what we did right when we beat them. I made sure I focused on getting the team ready to be all over them.”

Sophomore defender Skylar Fontaine: “Individually, for some reason I wasn’t as nervous. I think because as a team were always so united and have each others back. So I think my teammates helped me just relaxed and go out there and just be confident. As a team we went out there and were like we just need to play our game and go in expecting their best game and that we would have to go in as hard as we can just to win this game.”

Anderson: “I think one of the most important messages we said was that when we are a unit and play together then we are not easy to beat. BC may have all these big names and player, but I don’t think any other team in the NCAA has a bond like our team has.”

Sophomore goalie Aerin Frankel: “I was just focused on not over-moving. I’ve talked to my coaches a lot about that recently. Just playing simple and going back to the basics. I know that they have a lot of good shooters but if i was in position I knew I would be able to make the first save. I knew I could rely on my defense to clear out loose pucks and limit the opportunities that they got.”

The overtime thriller was a close game from the start. The first goal of the game was scored by Northeastern’s Andrea Renner on a power play just before the end of the first period.

Junior forward Andrea Renner: “I just jumped on the ice and then I saw Skylar skate the puck into the zone. She was kinda fumbling with it a little bit but then she collected it really well. I think she was trying to toe drag and shoot. The shot kinda hit off their shin pad or skate. I was just trying to go to the net and see what would happen and when the puck came off of her stick it came right to my stick as it went through their feet. I shot it and it happened to go in. When it happened, I kinda blacked out for a second and as I turned around everyone was jumping on me. It was a pretty cool feeling.”

Fontaine: “I remember looking up at the clock and there was about two seconds left in the power play. I was like crap their player is going to come out and i’m either going to get the puck taken from me or something. Matti just fired it across the ice and I took it, skated, and I knew I didn’t have a good shooting angle from where I was so I tried cutting in and shooting. It ended up hitting weird and bouncing off into Renner’s stick and she just shot it and it went in.”

Frankel: “It was good we scored first because a lot of times it puts the other team back on their heels. I know that when we get scored on first then it’s hard to respond to that.”

Fontaine: “It was a huge momentum thing for us. We needed that first goal. We just needed to calm the nerves I think. Our match up going in was that they won two and we won two and it was going to be a big game. That first goal was huge for us.”

Boston College evened the score two minutes into the middle period, resulting in a 1-1 stalemate that would hold until the final frame.

Frankel:  “I felt some pressure. But I would say that times when I am at my best I am most composed and calm.”

Renner: “Aerin bailed us out a lot because with a good team like that, you have to keep your game simple and I don’t think we were doing that. We knew we needed to simplify.”

Anderson: “Once we started to realize that we were getting away from what’s working, we turned back and started simplifying our game. In the third period I think we completely dominated they really had no time or space with the puck. We knew how important the next goal was.”

Fontaine: “We just needed to keep working hard and pressuring them. One way or another someone was gonna win and we were determined for it to be us. As a team we were all just staying united and supportive and just trying to keep each other positive.”

Alina Mueller’s goal with 4:07 left to play put the Huskies up 2-1, and looked to be the winner the defending champions needed..

Fontaine: “It was on a power play and I remember I was like ‘Oh my god, someone just shoot it, shoot it please.’ She was coming around the top and I was like, she’s going to fire this right now. Her shot is insane and she has such a great aim. I was thinking if she shoots this right now its going in.”

Renner: “I was in the box, so I was just banging on the box door trying to get her attention. It was just so exciting. I had to celebrate by myself but I just saw the whole bench go crazy and it was just a great feeling overall.”

But with five seconds left in regulation, BC’s Kali Flanagan tied the game to send the two teams into overtime.

Frankel: “I was honestly in shock for a while after they scored the goal. I knew what they were trying to do. I think we all went over the fact that they were going to try to win the faceoff back to that player who was set up for a one timer, but we lost the face off cleanly. The girl got the shot off almost immediately as the puck got to her stick. I was in shock when I saw the puck come right by me and couldn’t even believe that it had even happened.”

Frankel: “In between the third period and overtime everyone was talking about just taking a deep breath and relaxing. We had been in big games before, we had been in overtime before, and we had been successful in overtime before. We had been there before. It was going to come down to heart and who out worked the opponent.”

Fontaine: “We went in the locker room and told ourselves that that part of the game is over, on to the next. This is completely different and we can’t focus on the past. We need to focus on this 20 minutes and that’s all.”

A turnover in the neutral zone resulted in the puck finding its way to Anderson’s stick, and her overtime goal secured the back-to-back title for the Huskies with 12:39 gone in overtime. 

Fontaine: “I think it was their defenseman or their forward who just flipped the puck super high and it went over everyone and I was the last one back. I remember seeing it coming and thinking oh no I have to stop this. So I went on one knee and stopped it with my hands and just wanted to get rid of it so fast because I didn’t want someone to poke me and go on a breakaway. So I hit it off the boards and fired to Kasidy.” 

Renner: “I know that pretty much everytime Kas gets the puck it’s dangerous. I know that she has a huge size advantage to a lot of players in the NCAA. So I knew that once she lowered her shoulder and carried it across her body I knew it was going to go in.”

Anderson: “I remember as soon as I saw the puck coming towards Barnes I was like she is going to whiff this right to me. As soon as I saw the puck I jumped on it and when I got it I knew I was going to lower my shoulder and stick my left leg out to protect it. Coach Carp always jokes that I go back hand and I went back hand and flicked it over her blocker. I knew that to score on this goalie you needed to move her laterally.”

Frankel: “It didn’t really set in until we were on the way home and I just was like wow we just won Hockey East and just beat a really good team, BC. It’s just a testament to the kind of team we are.”

Anderson: As soon as I watched it go in, I sprinted to the boards. I didn’t really hit me that the game was over like I was just excited to score. For that to be the game-winning game, that was even more meaningful.”