November 8, 2011

Women's Journal: Schelling, NU showing fine form

By Mike Zhe

This is what Florence Schelling is capable of when she’s on her game. 

Goalie Florence Schelling of Northeastern (photo: Jim Pierce/Northeastern)

Goalie Florence Schelling of Northeastern (photo: Jim Pierce/Northeastern)

While the two Boston titans from a year ago were splitting a pair of games last week — Boston University and Boston College each won on the other’s home ice — Northeastern was continuing its rock-solid start to the season. The Huskies swept UConn by scores of 3-0 and 3-0, and now stand 8-1 overall and up to No. 9 in the national rankings.

Schelling, a Swiss-born senior who’s tasted success on both the Division 1 and international stage, turned aside 47 shots on the weekend without allowing a goal. She’s now 7-1 with a 1.13 goals-against average and .954 save percentage — the best numbers in the country for a goalie who’s played at least four games.

“Obviously Florence has been the backbone of our team the last three years, and a team’s success depends in large part on its goaltending,” said Northeastern coach Dave Flint.

Freshman Kendall Coyne had three goals and an assist on the weekend as she continued her strong freshman season. Casey Pickett, Rachel Llanes and Katie MacSorley had the team’s other goals.

Schelling has shutouts in three of her last four games, or one fewer than she had all of last season. Her numbers a year ago -- while strong (2.02 GAA, .930 save percentage) —suggested she took a step back from her sensational sophomore year, when she was at 1.37 and .949.

After being named to the All-Rookie team as a freshman and All-Hockey East first team as a sophomore, she was left off a year ago, as Molly Schaus (Natick, Mass.) of Boston College and Alexandra Garcia of UConn were tabbed to the two All-Star squads.

The Huskies play a pair at Vermont on Friday and Saturday. In years past, that might have meant an all-but-automatic four points, against outclassed Catamounts teams that have finished seventh three times and eighth three times since joining the league for the 2005-06 season.

This year, it figures to be much tougher. Vermont is 2-1 in the league with wins over New Hampshire and Providence.

“It’s not like that anymore; you need to come and you need to play every night,” said Flint. “Anybody can beat anybody, and that’s what’s exciting.”

Game of the Week

Dartmouth at Cornell, Friday

This a rematch of last year’s ECAC Hockey final and NCAA quarterfinal, both of which were won by Cornell on its way to the Frozen Four.

The Big Green (1-2-1) are trying to shake off a sluggish start to the season, the latest chapter of which was a 5-4 overtime loss to in-state rival UNH on Sunday.

Cornell has won all four of its contests and is currently ranked No. 2.

Around New England

Offensively-struggling Providence finally got to celebrate some goals last week — 19 of them, in fact, in a win over Yale and a tie and win over Maine. Senior forward Laura Veharanta led the way with 3-2-5 and sophomore defenseman Maggie Pendleton put up 2-4-6. … BU goalie Kerrin Sperry (North Reading, Mass.) made 66 saves for a .942 percentage as the Terriers split with BC. Her counterpart,Corinne Boyles, made 22 saves to backstop the Eagles’ 3-1 win at Walter Brown Arena Saturday. … Forward Denna Laing (Marblehead, Mass.) had two goals, an assist and a plus-5 rating as Princeton (4-1-1, 3-0-1 ECAC Hockey) continued its strong start with a 7-1 win against winless Yale, completing a four-point weekend. Olivia Mucha had the only tally in a 1-0 win over Brown a night earlier. … Quinnipiac twice battled back from single-goal deficits to earn a 2-2 tie with Brown and stay unbeaten in ECAC Hockey. The Bobcats held a 50-13 edge in shots but Brown goalie Katie Jamieson made 48 saves. After opening the season 1-4 out-of-conference, Quinnipiac has gone 3-0-1.

Mike Zhe can be reached at mzhe@hockeyjournal.com.