BOSTON, Mass. - Senior Florence Schelling celebrated her Hockey East Goaltender of the Month award in shutout style, and freshman Kendall Coyne had a hand in all three goals to extend her season-long point streak as the No. 9 Northeastern Huskies (7-1-0, 2-0-0 Hockey East) defeated Connecticut (1-8-2, 1-2-0 Hockey East), 3-0, on Friday night at Matthews Arena.
The 23-save shutout is Schelling's third of the season and the thirteenth of her career. She had previously blanked Colgate on Oct. 8 and Yale on Oct. 22.
Coyne broke the deadlock with five minutes to play in the first with help from junior Brittany Esposito, who intercepted a UConn pass in the neutral zone, sending it right to Coyne in her increasingly familiar mode of rocketing in behind the defense. Bearing down on Connecticut goaltender Alexandra Garcia from the right side, Coyne dragged the puck across the mouth of goal on the backhand, then quickly switched to the forehand and roofed her fourth goal of the season to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead.
A sin-free first period quickly gave way to a middle frame in which sophomore Katie MacSorley found her way to the penalty box for bodychecking in under a minute. It seemed that after outshooting UConn in the first period, 13-6, NU would start the second on the back foot.
Instead, Northeastern doubled its lead through its top marksmen. Coyne, whose speed was felt at all points on the evening, won possession in the neutral zone and found junior tri-captain Casey Pickett streaking into the slot. Pickett buried her sixth of the season, ending a four-game scoring drought for the team's leading goalscorer.
MacSorley's was the first of four penalties Northeastern would kill in the period; the middle pair, Pickett's tripping minor and Coyne for holding, yielded 47 seconds of five-on-three time for Connecticut that went begging. Sophomore Maggie Brennolt went off for tripping at 16:52, but Sami Evelyn's interference penalty nine seconds later negated the advantage.
The goaltenders' stalwart play shone through over the first two periods. Pickett was unfortunate not to score on multiple occasions, with Garcia denying numerous odd-man rushes ending in an open chance for the junior tri-captain. On this night, however, Schelling's standard was just too high; the Swiss international stopped 23 shots, including 14 in the second period, and held steady through a barrage of middling UConn chances made difficult by screens and scrums in front of net.
Northeastern granted Connecticut more opportunities in the third period - a miscommunication on the bench led to a minor for too many players on the ice, and senior tri-captain Stephanie Gavronsky went off for tripping not long after the bench minor was killed. But no matter how many Huskies were on the ice, the Northeastern defense, which has had a propensity for heightening the late drama, tonight sealed its defensive zone airtight, allowing just three shots in the final period.
In the game's final minute, UConn pulled Garcia for an extra attacker, and Coyne put the exclamation point on a comfortable victory with her second goal of the game, an empty-net marker with 25 seconds to play. Sophomore Maggie DiMasi assisted the play and continues to share the distinction, with Coyne, of having scored in every game in which she has played.
Both teams of Huskies will make the journey to Storrs, Conn., where tomorrow's rematch is scheduled for 4 p.m.