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March 22, 2017

Minutewomen swept by Huskies

Coming off of a bye week, the Massachusetts women’s club hockey team suffered back-to-back losses Saturday and Sunday against undefeated Northeastern.

Northeastern (11-0) came out strong at the Mullins Center Saturday afternoon, striking first just two minutes into play with a goal from forward Madeline Bilodeau. McKenzie Powers followed Bilodeau’s lead, scoring the Huskies’ second goal of the first period at the 17 minute, 59 second mark. Powers leads her team with 18 points, along with ranking fifth in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division II.

After allowing the two goals, UMass’ defense stepped up and stopped Northeastern’s offense for much of the period. However, with two minutes remaining, Karoline Perdios came through for the Huskies with the period’s final goal.

The Minutewomen (5-5) came out in the second half looking to make a recovery. At the 17:15 mark, freshman Heather Paonessa won the face off and passed the puck to fellow freshman Stephanie Schlosky to put Massachusetts on the board.

UMass kept up its strong defensive stand until the 9:05 mark, when forward Hannah Berry scored another goal for the Huskies, which led to a fifth goal four minutes later from Meredith Harclerode.

Massachusetts could not generate any offense for the remainder of the second period and the entirety of the third period. Northeastern scored its sixth and final goal at the 1:14 mark, taking the 6-1 victory.

“Mentally, for whatever reason, we came out flat in the first period,” UMass coach Chris Cobb said. “We did get better in the second period and much better in the third period.”

The Minutewomen were outshot by their opponent, 34-21, with freshman goalie Katie Avery saving 28 shots from the Huskies’ offensive attack.

Despite a second loss while on the road at Matthews Arena for Sunday’s game, UMass’ defense stepped up and improved by cutting the goals scored by Northeastern in half.

At the 11:13 mark, Betsy Reigel was called for body checking, giving the Huskies a five-on-four power play opportunity. Northeastern took advantage of the power play at the 9:30 mark with a goal from Christine Fuchs to take the 1-0 lead.

The Minutewomen defensive line and goaltending held strong throughout the second period, fending off a constant offensive attack from the Huskies. Despite two power play opportunities, UMass’ offensive line could not find the back of Northeastern’s net.

Cobb said after the game that he plans on working mainly on power plays, along with fixing a couple things defensively to prepare for upcoming games.

Powers scored her second goal of the series 11 minutes into the third period, which increased her team-leading points to 18. The Huskies scored their third and final score in the last minute of play from a Harclerode assisted goal by Karoline Perdios, taking their second victory of the weekend and remaining undefeated.

Cobb feels that his team played well on Sunday and just had trouble generating goals.

“We played our best game Sunday. We didn’t really change anything, just played better,” Cobb said.

Kelsey Magrane stepped into the goalkeeper position for the Minutewomen, saving an impressive 39 shots on goal. UMass’ offense did not see much improvement in game two, being outshot again, 42-18.

The Minutewomen will have just two days to prepare for its next matchup against Robert Morris. The Colonials will travel to the Mullins Center for a two game series Wednesday and Thursday night. Robert Morris comes into this series in second place of the ACHA Division I with 27 points. Along with being ranked second in the nation, the Colonials have won two out of the last five National Championships.

The Colonials also boast an offensive challenge to UMass in the form of forward Bridget Katz, who leads her team and the division with 35 points and 23 goals. Teammate Ramey Weaver is not far behind in fourth place with 31 points.

The Minutewomen will head into the Robert Morris series in third place of the Eastern Women’s Collegiate Hockey League behind Rhode Island and Pennsylvania State. Northeastern plays in Division II of the ACHA, so the two losses do not affect Massachusetts’ standing in its league.

Geena Lombardi can be reached at glombard@student.umass.edu.

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