The frustration of a 2010-11 redshirt has given Kelly Wallace one more year to make an impact at Northeastern. (Northeastern Athletics)
Despite some early struggles for her Northeastern Huskies, Kelly Wallace sees this season as an extra chance.
The fifth-year senior forward says that despite the responsibilities and hard work of this season, she considers it “a blessing” to be involved in the team this year.
“Redshirting (in 2010-11) was a blessing in disguise because I learned to appreciate hockey more,” she explains. “Overcoming my injury, I had to reform myself into a different type of hockey player than I was.”
The type of hockey player she has become since then still has a considerable amount of offensive firepower. Wallace sits second in scoring for Northeastern through nine games, with seven points. Her five goals lead the team, including two in a 4-1 win against Providence last Saturday.
Wallace is willing to step up and lead the offensive charge for the Huskies, because she desires more for her extra year.
“Some of the team goals we have are to get to the NCAA tournament. Me and Brittany Esposito have been on teams that have been down to the wire the last few years, and we want to make the tournament.”
This is the team that Wallace thinks could finally make that jump into the NCAAs.
“Off-ice wise, we have really matured, and we are really close. We also have a new system, and we’re getting the kinks out and getting better every game.”
It has been a bit up and down with that new system. The Huskies currently sit in a four-way tie for second in the Hockey East standings with a 1-1-0 league and a 4-5-0 overall record. There have been a few disappointments along the way, including a 4-1 loss to Syracuse in their first regular season game of the season. Northeastern wasn’t the only Hockey East team to suffer the same fate against the Orange – Boston College did last weekend by the same score – but Wallace took a lot out of that loss.
“Was it difficult to lose against Syracuse? Yeah,” she said. “But the last few games, we’ve been able to win the third period, and that’s what we need to keep doing. I see a lot of good things for this team.”
Because Wallace sees that potential, she’s eager to motivate her teammates to see their possibilities.
“I’m an emotional player,” she said. “I have passion for the game and this university. As a fifth year, it’s important to keep everyone motivated on the bench.”
One point of motivation that Wallace pulls upon is Northeastern’s Team Impact player, a young girl named Mary Ann who has spina bifida. Wallace spoke on behalf of her teammates at the Team Impact draft, an event where various college teams got to meet their honorary teammates for the first time.
“When I spoke on draft day, I said, ‘When we’re tired in the third period, and we don’t know if we can bust our butts anymore, we are going to think of Mary Ann.’ So every third period, we play for Mary Ann. It’s the character of our team. We’re hard workers. We’re not going to give up in the third.”
Wallace isn’t letting up in the last period of her academic career either. She is using the extra year to start her master’s degree in leadership, with a concentration in nonprofit management. She credits that ability to start graduate school as yet another reason why Northeastern means so much to her.
“That is why I’m so passionate about this school. I am really grateful that they allowed me to do this.”
There was one last item Wallace wanted to get done in her last season of college hockey, and it finally came to fruition over Columbus Day weekend. The Libertyville, Ill., native was finally able to have her mother see her play a college hockey game.
“My mother, brother and sister came out to watch me play that weekend (against RPI and Union),” said Wallace. “She hasn’t been able to come out ever, and my brother flew her out.”
Her mother brought something special with her to remind Wallace of what she’s been able to accomplish.
“When I was little, I made a bucket list and my mom kept it and brought it with her,” she said. “One of the items was to play Division I hockey and a legacy, and she saw me grow up and do just that.”
Player of the Week
Emerance Maschmeyer, so. G, Harvard
A big theme among coaches in preseason interviews was sophomores making the leap to the next level. If her first weekend of regular season play was any indication, Maschmeyer is ready to make that leap. She made 63 saves combined in Friday’s 4-2 win over Quinnipiac and Saturday’s 4-0 shutout of Princeton. Her stellar goaltending helped Harvard stay perfect on 11 penalty kills.
Game of the Week
Boston University at New Hampshire, Friday, Nov. 1
Call it a battle of depleted defensive units. Both the Terriers and Wildcats are without their best defensewomen (BU’s Shannon Doyle is out for the season after hip surgery, and UNH’s Alexis Crossley is now out for 4-6 weeks due to a shoulder injury.) Both teams, however, are performing ahead of expectations. Despite being incredibly short staffed on defense, UNH played outstanding at Penn State last week, including fill-in defensemen Arielle O’ Neill’s three goals on 10 shots. They limited the Nittany Lions to six goals on the weekend, despite only having two defensive pairings. The Terriers are earning gritty wins, including Tuesday night’s 3-2 overtime win against Northeastern thanks to Louise Warren’s game-winner.
Women’s Power Rankings
1. Harvard (2-0-0 overall, 2-0-0 ECAC) - This marks the first time in the rankings for the Crimson...mainly because it is hard to rank a team who has not played. Olympic departures are not slowing this Harvard team down. They scored eight goals on the weekend, and saw outstanding goaltending from Maschmeyer. The Crimson are at league foes RPI Friday and Union on Saturday.
2. Boston College (5-2-0 overall, 1-1-0 Hockey East) - The Eagles lost at College Hockey America member Syracuse last weekend, only getting one goal on the board. Their recent two losses are not a case of not taking shots - they tallied 44 against the Orange and 37 against UNH on the 16th. They are struggling on the power play, only converting once in their last six games. BC has a home-and-home series against Providence this weekend.
3. Quinnipiac (6-1-1 overall, 1-1-0 ECAC) - Junior forward Morgan Fritz-Ward had a solid weekend for the Bobcats, as they lost to Harvard but won at Dartmouth. Fritz-Ward had a goal and an assist in the game against the Crimson, and the game-winner against the Big Green. Quinnipiac is seeing steady offensive contributions from many on its roster, something that they will need now that ECAC play is in full-swing.
4. Boston University (4-1-1 overall, 1-0-0 Hockey East) - The Terriers’ penalty kill is currently number one in Hockey East. They have stopped 27 of 30 man advantages, including six Tuesday night against Northeastern. Kerrin Sperry made 33 saves in the mid-week win against the Huskies. BU will play UNH Friday before hosting Vermont on Saturday afternoon.
5. New Hampshire (5-2-1 overall, 1-0-1 Hockey East) - The Wildcats are riding a five game unbeaten streak, and are having quite a good time in away games - they are 4-1-0 away this season. The loss of Crossley hurts, as they were already short skaters, but this team is determined to be amongst the Hockey East elite, and their mental game has proved to be on par so far this season.