Maggie DiMasi's end-to-end run gave the Huskies the game-winning goal as No. 7 Northeastern (21-6-3, 14-3-2 WHEA) won its fourth in a row, in a 3-1 decision over Maine this afternoon at Matthews Arena.
DiMasi's rushed from her own goal line Senior Florence Schelling enjoyed a relatively light workload in net, stopping 18 shots. Freshman Colleen Murphy opened the scoring midway through the second period, and after Maine cut a 2-0 lead in half, freshman Kendall Coyne iced the game with her fourth goal in four games.
The Black Bears were off to a good start when senior tri-captain Stephanie Gavronsky hooked Brittany Dougherty to give Maine a momentary man advantage at 2:24. A minute later, however, Dougherty returned the favor with a tripping minor to put the teams at four a side. After a sputtering first few minutes in which Maine controlled the tempo, Northeastern eased its way to a decided shot advantage, with Coyne, junior Rachel Llanes, and graduate tri-captain Dani Rylan all going close in the opening minutes.
The Huskies' momentum stopped momentarily when Gavronsky made a return trip to the box, for bodychecking at 10:26. Dawn Sullivan and Myriam Croussette caught sight of goal, but their efforts were well saved by Schelling, who was coming off her nation-leading seventh shutout of the season.
Maine regained a foothold in the game through the remainder of the opening period, with Croussette and Brittney Huneke testing Schelling, but a lax first ended scoreless, with the home side enjoying a 10-8 shots advantage.
Strong forechecking from Coyne earned Northeastern its first full power play when Missy Denk tripped her up at 3:16 of the second period. The NU power play, which entered today's game with just one goal in its last 12 attempts, came up empty once again.
It would be in four-on-four play, however, that Northeastern would draw first blood. Coyne and Danielle Ward each went off for slashing at 9:32; on the ensuing faceoff, Llanes drew the puck straight back to Murphy, who went top shelf over Brittany Ott's left shoulder to give Northeastern a 1-0 lead. It was Murphy's third goal of the year and second against Maine - on Oct. 28, Murphy scored her first collegiate goal, a power play game-winner in the Huskies' 3-2 win over the Black Bears.
Minutes later, in a scene similar to the teams' first contest of the season, Coyne broke free of the Maine defense and in on Ott. On Oct. 28, Coyne had converted a penalty shot to open the scoring; here, however, Ott stoned her wrist shot to maintain the one-goal deficit
After a whislte at 15:08, Ashley Norum elbowed junior Kelly Wallace to the ice to give the Huskies a third power play. Northeastern put all the pressure it could on Ott, but quality chances for Coyne and freshman Ann Doherty went begging. Nevertheless Northeastern continued to dominate a second period in which it outshot Maine, 19-4.
Maine entered the third period with renewed vigor and soon drew sophomore Sonia St. Martin's fourth penalty over the two-game series, a bodychecking minor at 1:24. Dominique Goutsis had the Black Bears' best chance, but Llanes got a piece of her shot to make it easy pickings for Schelling.
Northeastern would then make it 2-0 after a fantastic individual effort from DiMasi. Freshman Lucie Povova deflected a Maine shot into the corner, where DiMasi picked it up; in a decidedly Orr-esque run, Northeastern's number four lugged it from coast to coast, pulling up at the right faceoff circle and firing past Ott at her near post to double the NU lead at 6:57.
After looking dormant over the first five periods of the two-game series, Maine's offense finally came to life through its leading scorer, Brittany Dougherty. Chloe Tinkler launched a shot in from the left point that Schelling parried to the weak side, but Dougherty pounced on it and lofted it up over Schelling's left shoulder to bring Maine back within a goal at 9:12. It was Schelling's first goal against in over 100 minutes; she had not conceded since 14:30 of the third period of Tuesday's Beanpot final against Boston University.
With eight minutes to play, however, Northeastern's top guns iced the game. Junior Brittany Esposito intercepted a pass in Maine's defensive zone and fired straight on Ott, who made the save but lost sight of the puck, which settled between her skates. Coyne burst in and poked the idling puck through Ott's legs for her 26th goal of the season.
Maine's only true offensive chances for the the remainder of the game came after DiMasi was sent off for bodychecking at 14:43. Northeastern killed the penalty with relative ease amidst a perfect 4-4 day on the penalty kill. The Huskies' ease when down a man was emblematic of their suffocating overall defense, which limited the Black Bears to 19 shots.
Northeastern has two regular-season games remaining, beginning at Providence on Friday. The Huskies will conclude the regular season Sunday against Providence, in a 4 p.m. start at Matthews Arena.