Casey Pickett had a had trick, Katie MacSorley added two more and Kendall Coyne had four points as No. 7 Northeastern (16-5-2, 10-2-2 WHEA) rolled to an 8-0 rout of New Hampshire in the first women's college hockey game broadcast on the ESPN family of networks.
In an all-time record attendance for women's hockey at Matthews Arena, 1,227 fans watched as Northeastern scored four first-period goals that ended the game as a contest in the early going. Proceeds from today's game went to the Friends of Mel Foundation via Skating Strides 2011-12, which promotes breast cancer awareness through college hockey.
After a first five minutes with few quality chances, UNH nearly silenced the home crowd when Kristina Lavoie broke in unmolested on senior Florence Schelling. Lavoie deked across Schelling to the goaltender's left and had the Swiss international beat, but could only hit side netting from a tight angle.
Northeastern would then counter to take the lead through a superlative effort from its leading scorer Coyne. The two-time defending Hockey East Player of the Month fired a wrist shot over Lindsay Minton's cage, but when Kailey Chappell whacked the rebound up the boards, Coyne was right there to pick it up, walking in from Minton's right and burying her 18th of the season, a backhand wrister top shelf at 10:28.
Any pressure from the record attendance abated minutes later when the Huskies doubled their lead. Junior Kelly Wallace took a pass from sophomore Maggie DiMasi along the left wing and fired in a dangerous cross. Freshman Colleen Murphy, pinching in from defense and streaking down the slot, was perfectly positioned to touch it on net and through Minton at 13:15.
From there UNH, who registered just one shot amidst a nightmare first period, was decidedly on the back foot until the intermission horn sounded, and offered little resistance as Northeastern struck a knockout combination blow. Junior Rachel Llanes won a faceoff in the offensive zone and drew the puck to a charging Katie MacSorley, who gained a step on her defender and surprised Minton with a shot directly on goal that put the Huskies up three goals at 17:02.
They would need little time to net a fourth, after Lavoie went off for bodychecking following the goal. This time it was Coyne as distributor, finding junior tri-captain Casey Pickett, who had ghosted into the slot. Minton parried Pickett's first effort, but couldn't deny a second goal in just 22 seconds as Northeastern made the following two periods a formality.
The Huskies were content to keep possession through the middle frame, and had the legs to quell any of UNH's attacking ideas before MacSorley and Pickett put their stamp on the game. At 8:55, Pickett stripped Kayla Mork in the neutral zone and lugged it deep into UNH territory, sucking the Wildcats defense to her side. She hit MacSorley in front of the net, and though her first effort was saved, she whacked in the rebound for her seventh of the year.
It was Pickett's turn minutes later. Coyne won the faceoff, and with help from junior Brittany Esposito worked the puck to Pickett, who did the rest. The Wilmington, Mass. native dangled sweetly around the New Hampshire defense towards the slot area, firing her 13th of the year past the embattled Minton's left shoulder to further extend the lead. The Huskies would take their six-goal cushion to the locker room, enjoying a 32-7 shots advantage that fully encapsulated their domination on the day.
Northeastern began to salt away the third period on the back end of a power play thanks to Kristine Horn's elbowing minor late in the second. The Huskies did not convert the extra-skater chance, but soon put an end to the only shred of drama left in proceedings when Pickett cemented her hat trick. Murphy was looking for a second of her own when her slap shot from the blue line met Minton's pads, but Pickett, who showed an eye for goal all afternoon, pounced on the rebound for her first career hat trick. It was the first trick by a Husky since MacSorley netted three amidst a five-point effort against Providence on Nov. 11, 2010.
Esposito then deservedly got in on the act, deflecting freshman Ann Doherty's shot from the point past a beleaguered Minton to lock in the final score at 8-0. Taking a secondary assist on the play was Coyne, who tallied the early game-winner and three helpers on the day. Her four points on the day are a career high after a trio of three-point games already this season.
After the early breakaway chance, Schelling enjoyed a leisurely afternoon in the Northeastern cage, stopping 17 shots for her nation-best sixth shutout. Schelling finally locked down the shutout after allowing one goal in each of her last four games.
The Huskies return to action tomorrow afternoon at Matthews Arena with a 2 p.m. tilt against Hockey East bottom-dwellers Vermont. Northeastern has already defeated the Catamounts twice this season, by a combined score of 9-3.