PROVIDENCE — Aerin Frankel is going to need a bigger dorm room.
Or, at the very least, some new shelves for the one she’s currently in.
The sophomore goaltender for the Northeastern Huskies earned another haul of awards for her trophy case this past weekend at the women’s Hockey East Championship, for the second year in a row being named WHEA Tournament MVP award and earning a spot on the All-Tournament team.
Frankel stopped 104 of the 110 shots she faced over the four games she played, posting a 4-0 record, including a shutout against Vermont in the quarterfinals which helped lead her team to the championship weekend at Schneider Arena in Providence, where the Huskies ultimately hoisted their second-straight Bertagna Trophy.
This year, however, they’re looking for something a little bigger. With the automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament that comes with winning in Hockey East, the Huskies have claimed the No. 3 overall seed and will host Cornell in the national quarterfinals at 1 p.m. ET on Saturday.
If Frankel can maintain her extraordinarily high level of play, just how far can this team go?
At least according to Northeastern bench boss Dave Flint, that is.
“The sky is the limit for this team, and that starts with your goaltending,” he said. “Championships are won with great goaltenders. You can look back through history, and there’s not a lot of Stanley Cups or Hockey East Championships or anything where the goalie didn’t play well. It’s just so important. [Frankel] gives our team a lot of confidence. With her in net, I feel like we can beat anybody.”
Hockey East Championship Game Rematch Possible in NCAA Tournament
Unlikely as it may seem, it certainly wouldn’t be a surprise if Northeastern and Boston College met up one last time.
And this time, it would be for all the marbles.
Boston College drew the back-to-back defending national champions, Clarkson, in the opening round at the top half of the eight-team NCAA bracket. Even if they score the upset, they’d still need to get past, most likely, Wisconsin, which is the tournament’s top overall seed, to advance to the final.
The path is somewhat more logical for Northeastern to get that far as one of the top four seeds, but the Huskies would still need to get through the winner of the Princeton and (2) Minnesota game to play for the national championship on March 24 in Hamden, Connecticut.
If the two teams did square off again, though, it would be a rematch of Sunday afternoon’s overtime thriller, won by Northeastern, that Boston College head coach Katie Crowley called “overall, one of the best games I’ve seen in college in a long time.”
Both coaches thought they might meet for a sixth time in the opening round of the NCAAs, and were prepared for another battle if it did happen.
“I think it would be another phenomenal hockey game,” Crowley said. “It’s two great teams playing hard against each other, and I think it’s been that way all year. Every game we’ve played them, it’s been a phenomenal hockey game. I think it’s two teams that are playing really well, and if that’s our matchup, you’d see another tremendous game.”
Flint echoed similar sentiments.
“If that happens, at least we know a lot about our opponent,” he cracked. “The game prep isn’t as detailed. But, whoever we play, it’s a new season and we’re one game away from the Frozen Four, and this program’s never done that before. With this group, I’ve told them from day one, they can beat anyone in the country if they put their minds to it.”
Mike Ashmore has 17 years of experience covering professional and college sports. You can follow him on all social media channels at @mashmore98.