Down to the final weekend and Northeastern is still in it. This year we head to Penn State for the final weekend of games. Lose and you are out, win two and you get a trophy.
Northeastern v Minnesota-Duluth
This might seem familiar to fans of these teams since the two met for the first time ever this time last year in Erie. In that game Duluth came out swinging nearly knocking Northeastern out. The Huskies came back to win a thriller in OT. It will be weird for Bulldogs assistant Laura Schuler to be against her former team, as a player and the head coach that gave way to Dave Flint’s tenure. Also adding to the intrigue will be Lindsay Berman who played for Schuler in part of her tenure as the leader on Huntington Ave.
How to Watch: ESPN+
Listen: WRBB Radio, Westwood One Radio
Game Time: 3:30PM ET
Location: Pegula Ice Arena, University Park, PA (Penn State)
Keys to the Game
Yes, this was the key last weekend, and if they advance it will be the key on Sunday. The Huskies are an awe inspiring 25-0-1 when scoring first. Katy Knoll did the honors on the PP getting the Huskies out to a lead that was only tied once and they never trailed afterwards. Not letting Duluth get the advantage they had last year will be crucial if the Huskies want to return to the title game.
Last year was the first time these two teams had ever met. Northeastern would like to stay unblemished against this team. A win would mark only the fourth time a HEA team has defeated a WCHA team in the NCAA Tournament, NU has two of the three after defeating Wisconsin last weekend. A win would also mark only the second time a non WCHA team had defeated two WCHA teams in the same tournament, Clarkson beat Minnesota and Wisconsin on their way to their second title in 2017.
There are lots of things that can be said about the top line that the Huskies feature, but Duluth has an equally potent trio. Northeastern is going to win this on the ability to run more lines out more consistently and wearing down the Bulldogs. Against Wisconsin the second line notched both of the first goals which got the Huskies out to a lead they would never surrender.
Been There Done That
Once again Northeastern goes up against a former championship winning program. Duluth has been held without a title since 2010 but the program has the pedigree of winning and when there ar only four teams to have accomplished something, and you are one of them it is important. These Bulldogs are no stranger to this stage as they played NU on it last season. They were unable to hang on but they know they have the talent to hang with this Husky squad
Giguère the Great
Élizabeth Giguère had a great career in her time at Clarkson University winning the NCAA Tournament twice and winning the Patty Kaz in the season that was ended by COVID. She will end her career top 3 all time in NCAA scoring. She needs five points to catch that player from Wisconsin for second, which would likely take two games, to take first she needs nine to tie which might be a little out of reach. Either way she is a force to reckon with that will have a major say in when here career ends be it today or Sunday.
Duluth was not expected to be here. Some thought Harvard could challenge them, wrong. Most thought the Gophers would handle them like they did the previous week, also wrong. At this point the Bulldogs are the lowest remaining seed via PWR, they are actually the favorites per KRACH. As such anything more they do will be considered a bonus for them, so they have no pressure.
Northeastern 4 - Minnesota-Duluth 1
This year Northeastern does not let the Bulldogs get an early comfortable lead. Northeastern knows what’s at stake and will be able to grind down a much shorter benched Duluth team. Last week Minnesota-Duluth had to play two games and the second was a rivalry game that got them going. This week is an opponent they haven’t seen four times already and don’t have bad blood.