St. Cloud, Minn. - It was a battle of the Huskies as the #10-ranked Northeastern University Huskies (11-5-4, 3-3-3 HE) edged the St. Cloud State Husky women's hockey squad (0-18-1, 0-13-1-1 WCHA) by a score of 2-1 in the final game of the 2011 Easton Holiday Showcase on Sunday, Jan. 2, in the National Hockey Center.
St. Cloud State arguably played its best game of the season, out-shooting the NU Huskies 40-28 and holding Northeastern to just 1-of-4 on the power play. Of note, this was just the second game this season that SCSU had out-shot one of its opponents.
After skating to a scoreless first period, Northeastern cracked the scoreboard early in the second frame with its lone power play tally just 10 seconds into the period. NU's Rachel Llanes fired off a shot from the point. SCSU's senior netminder Ashley Nixon (Blaine) made the initial save, but Alyssa Wohlfeiler was waiting in front to bang home the rebound. The goal was the fourth of the season for Wohlfeiler and Llanes garnered the helper, her seventh of the 2010-11 stint.
St. Cloud State hung tough with the NU Huskies and managed to hold a slight advantage in shots, 20-18, heading into the second intermission, trailing just 0-1.
SCSU caught a break in the final period when Northeastern turned the puck over in its own zone on a line change. Rookie forward Molli Mott (Colorado Springs, Colo.) picked the pocket of an NU skater just inside the blue line and stormed towards the Northeastern net.
Mott deked NU's goalie Florence Schelling to the right and switched back to her forehand to send the puck to the back of the Northeastern net for her third score of the season. The goal, which knotted the contest at 1-1, was assisted by sophomore Alex Nelson (Andover) at the 7:58 mark of the period.
Intensity escalated in the National Hockey Center after Mott's goal, as both teams portrayed a sense of urgency on the ice. SCSU made multiple rushes at the Northeastern net, firing off 20 shots in the final frame alone.
The game-winning goal for NU came with just 3:36 remaining in the contest. Northeastern skated into the Husky zone and with a screen in front, NU's Dani Rylan sent a soft wrister through the top right corner past SCSU's Nixon to card her first goal of the season. Claire Santostefano and Siena Falino assisted on the Rylan tally.
St. Cloud State refused to go down easy and with less than a minute left, pulled Nixon from net to give themselves the extra skater advantage. SCSU sent five shots on Northeastern's net, but Schelling proved to be too much as NU held on for the big 2-1 non-conference victory.
"Our team just doesn't quit," said SCSU's head coach Jeff Giesen. "We have the third hardest schedule in the country this season. We have a young team, but we're going in the right direction. We just need to get that first win under our belts."
Brittany Toor (Hartland, Mich.), Ellie Sitek (Edina) and Jocelyn Zabrick (Airdrie, Alberta) each led St. Cloud State with five shots on net.
NU's Shelling improved to 10-5-4 on the season after backstopping the Huskies with 39 saves this afternoon. Nixon fell to 0-15-1 after totaling 26 saves for the St. Cloud State Huskies.
Of note, this was the first time in school history that St. Cloud State had faced Northeastern University.
St. Cloud State will continue its homestand with a Western College Hockey Association tilt against Bemidji State University this Friday and Saturday, Jan. 7-8, at 2:07 pm in the National Hockey Center.