BOSTON — For the first time since 2012, the Cornell women’s hockey team is headed to the Frozen Four.
Gillis Frechette ’22 scored the game-winning goal at 5 minutes, 19 seconds of overtime to lift the sixth-ranked Big Red (24-5-6, 17-3-2 ECAC Hockey) over Northeastern, 3-2, in the NCAA quarterfinal Saturday afternoon at Matthews Arena.
“I think each team certainly had their moments,” said head coach Doug Derraugh ’91. “Any time you go into overtime it can go either way.”
On the game-winner, Diana Buckley’19 sent the puck up ice to Frechette at the Northeastern blue line. The freshman forward from Weston, Massachusetts, faked out Northeastern goaltender Aerin Frankel and guided the puck home to give the Big Red its fourth trip to the Frozen Four in program history.
“I found the puck on my stick, and all I saw was me and the goalie,” Frechette said. “I remember just making the move to my backhand and I remember telling myself, ‘Do not miss this. You have an open net.’ And kind of just hit it in the net, and from there I don’t remember what happened.”
The Big Red struck first 13:28 into the contest on a goal by Amy Curlew ’20 and added to its lead late in the first period on a power-play goal by Grace Graham ’20.
“For us, we played pretty well, especially at the start,” Derraugh said. “We were more of the aggressor in the first period. After we got the lead, I felt Northeastern really turned the tables on us and became more of the aggressor.”
In the second period, the Big Red’s strong defensive effort kept the Huskies off the board.
Northeastern got on the board with 10:28 left in the third with a goal from Veronika Pettey to make it 2-1.
“I definitely didn’t want it to go in,” said goalie Marlène Boissonnault ’19. “It happens. Things like that happen and just have to be able to work with it. And if doesn’t go your way, you put it aside and be ready for the next shot.”
Northeastern tied the game when defenseman Skylar Fontaine scored with 5:29 left.
The Big Red would be challenged in what remained of regulation. Less than a minute after the Huskies tied the game, Maddie Mills ’21 was sent to the penalty box for checking. Then, in the final minute, Bossionnault made a few season-extending saves, highlighted by one from her back.
The Dundee, New Brunswick, native finished the contest with 22 saves, three of which came in overtime.
The Big Red will take on second-ranked Minnesota (31-5-1) in the national semifinal March 22 in Hamden, Connecticut. The Golden Gophers earned their 14th Frozen Four berth by eliminating Princeton Saturday, 5-2.
– Cornell Athletic Communications