November 5, 2009

Lady Huskies roar out of gate

by Mike Zhe

Northeastern is not winning games by goalie Florence Schelling alone, though she is an awful nice last line of defense.

One month into the season, and perhaps no team has been as pleasant a surprise as the Huskies, who bring a 7-1-1 record into this weekend’s play, are ranked No. 9 and are one of just two unbeatens in Hockey East.

Schelling has backstopped the fast start, showing the form she flashed at times a year ago. Her 0.74 goals-against average and .970 save percentage lead Division 1.

“The goaltending is an absolute critical factor,” said Northeastern co-coach Lauren McAuliffe, who is sharing bench duties with Linda Lundrigan (Melrose, Mass.) as head coach Dave Flint (Merrimack, N.H.) spends the year with the U.S. national team. “But we’re putting more goals in the net than last year. That was a focus of our recruiting.”

It’s been players like senior Lindsay Berman, a career 15-goal scorer coming into the season who has four already – three of them game-winners – and a team-high nine points who’ve stepped up their play.

“That’s just huge,” said McAuliffe. “To have (nine) games and one player with three game-winners is pretty clutch.”

Veterans Kristi Kehoe and Alyssa Wohlfeiler have picked up where they left off, and freshmen Brittany Esposito and Casey Pickett (Wilmington, Mass.) had added scoring punch.

With Flint on sabbatical, the Huskies figured to go through some growing pains behind the bench. But with Lundrigan overseeing the defense, McAuliffe managing the forwards and new assistant Nicole Stock handling the goalies, the coaching transition has been a smooth one.

“What Dave did last year is really having an impact on the team this year,” said McAuliffe. “He put standards in place, and what the girls did over the summer to meet those standards is what’s put us on this path.”

NEHJ Player of the Week

Florence Schelling, G, Northeastern

The sophomore from Switzerland faced 42 shots and stopped them all in back-to-back shutouts over Vermont. As a team the Huskies are yielding less than a goal per game.

Looking Ahead

No. 4 New Hampshire vs. No. 8 Boston University, Friday and Saturday

UNH won Hockey East last season, but couldn’t manage a win against the Terriers, going 0-1-2. It can now put some distance between itself and BU in the standings.

Around Hockey East

Freshman goalie Corinne Boyles continues to impress for BC in Molly Schaus’s (Natick, Mass.) absence. She brought a .934 save percentage into this week’s play, and turned aside 27 shots in a 2-1 win over rival BU on Monday. … BU snapped its Schneider Arena jinx with a 3-1 win over Providence, improving its all-time record there to 1-6-0. Goalie Melissa Haber made 24 saves for the win. … Kelly Paton collected three goals and four assists for UNH in its weekend sweep of UConn and Maine, and earned Player of the Month honors from the league. … Michelle Binning’s goal in a 3-1 loss to UNH moved her into fifth place on UConn’s all-time goal-scoring list with 30.

Around ECAC Hockey

Harvard opened its season with a split, winning at Colgate 2-1 before falling at Cornell. Leanna Coskren (Walpole, Mass.) and Anna McDonald had the goals in the victory, and Christina Kessler made 29 saves. … Freshman Heather Hughes had a hat trick as Quinnipiac beat RPI, 6-1, to open league play 2-0. The Bobcats (4-3-1 overall) won just three games all of last year. … Clarkson goalie Lauren Dahm stopped all 17 shots she faced in a win over Yale, for her fourth shutout in the team’s first 11 games. The second-ranked Golden Knights (9-1-1) have won five straight.

Mike Zhe can be reached at