By the Numbers:
Record: 13-13-3 (9-10-2 Hockey East)
Goals For: 2.90 per game
Goals Against: 2.72 per game
Save Percentage: .905 (90.5 percent)
Power Play: 24-of-108 (22.2 percent)
Penalty Kill: 88-of-111 (79.3 percent)
Northeastern is the definition of a .500 team. Not only does its record sit at the mark, but it scores 2.9 goals per game while conceding 2.7, its shooting percentage is 9.4 while its percentage against is 9.5, its shots per game rate is 30.8 while its rate against is 28.8, and it has scored 24 power-play goals while conceding 23. Simply put, the Huskies are the model of equality. On the other hand, this team isn’t one to be underestimated: Northeastern has knocked off No. 1 Wisconsin and No. 2 Boston College. The Huskies sit three points above Boston University in the Hockey East standings, and they would have been favored to reach the championship game if they weren’t matched up with BC to open the tournament. Northeastern enters the tourney on something of a slide, going 1-3-1 in its last five games.
Players to Watch:
1) Lauren Kelly
Kelly’s 16 points from the point are good enough to make her the fifth highest-scoring defenseman in Hockey East. Her 11 power-play points place her in the top five in the entire conference, and she’s currently the fourth best power-play scorer with six goals, just three behind BC’s Daryl Watts. When the Huskies go on the power play, teams will pay if they don’t key in on Kelly.
2) McKenna Brand
Brand is the lone Northeastern player in the top 10 in points on the season (27) in Hockey East. She serves as both a playmaker and goalscorer, leading the Huskies in goals (12) and tying Veronika Pettey in assists (15). At 5-on-5, Northeastern clearly plays through Brand—alongside her scoring totals, she’s managed to lead the team in shots on goal (104). If opponents can prevent her from flinging pucks on net, the Huskies will be much easier to defend.
3) Veronika Pettey
Pettey is fourth in freshman points scoring on the year (23) and is tied for 18th among the Hockey East scoring leaders. She is also tied for the team lead in assists, and her scoring rate is a healthy 13 percent. Northeastern has to be thrilled to have a first-year player meshing so well with her linemate, Brand, as she looks to be the future of the program. Her performance in the Beanpot could have a huge impact on where the Huskies finish the tournament.
Northeastern fell to BC in the final, 2-1, letting Kasidy Anderson’s early tally go to waste as Kristyn Capizzano and Erin Connelly found the back of the net for the Eagles to earn the win. The Huskies beat Harvard in the opening game, 4-1, riding two goals from Paige Savage to victory.
All-time Beanpot Record: 48-26-1
Beanpot Championships: 16
If the Huskies exact revenge on BC in the opener, they would be set up for a more favorable matchup in the title game—making their quest for a Beanpot-leading 17th title a little less rigorous. They’ll need Kelly, Brand, and Pettey to play their best hockey of the season to get past the Eagles for the second time this year, but most importantly they need the best performance possible from goaltender Brittany Bugalski. The junior’s two performances against BC exemplify the two paths that Northeastern can go down in the tournament. If she plays as well as she did against the Eagles in the Huskies’ 4-2 win on Jan. 12, when she recorded 26 saves—or turns away 42 shots like she did against BC on Feb. 9, 2016—Northeastern could win the Beanpot.
On the other hand, it’s important to note that Bugalski’s save percentage on the year is below .900. If she can’t exceed that number this week, the Huskies may not win either game they play in the Beanpot. Her backup, Aerin Frankel—a freshman—has played in 13 games this year and registered a .926 save percentage. If Bugalski doesn’t play well, Northeastern could turn to its first-year goaltender, but the Beanpot isn’t the best place to decide on a new starter. The onus will be on whoever the goaltender is—the Huskies defense is sixth out of nine teams in Hockey East. They’re going to need a solid goaltender performance in order to advance, and that hasn’t been in the cards for much of this season. The offense should come through, since it currently sits at third best in the conference, but it still needs defensive support to keep up with the high-flying offenses of BC and BU.