February 12, 2012

Women's Journal: Pickett leads Huskies to Beanpot title

By Scott Sudikoff

“Scoring the game-winner was definitely surreal,” said Northeastern junior Casey Pickett (Wilmington, Mass.). 

Pickett netted the game-winner 5:24 into overtime in Tuesday’s Beanpot championship game against Boston University at Walter Brown Arena. For the Huskies, it was their record-setting 15th Beanpot trophy, but just their first since 1998.

Northeastern's Casey Pickett was the hero in the Huskies victory over BU in the Beanpot championship game. (Jim Pierce/Northeastern)

“As soon as I got the puck back on my stick I knew I was going backhand and felt pretty confident in it,” Pickett added. “No better feeling than seeing it hit the back of the net.”

As a Massachusetts native, playing in the Beanpot was always a goal for Pickett.

“Just being able to play in the Beanpot is a dream come true, never mind winning it,” Pickett described. “I feel like being from the Boston area makes winning it that much sweeter -- all of my family and friends know how big it really is because they grew up watching it too.”

For fourth-year head coach Dave Flint, winning on Tuesday was a wake-up call to just how much the Beanpot means to the people of Boston and to the Northeastern family.

“I don't think I realized how important (it was) until Wednesday when I got e-mails, text messages and phone calls from people I had never met, congratulating us and thanking me for bringing a Beanpot to Northeastern,” said Flint.

Having seen Pickett play for the Huskies for almost three full years, Flint was not surprised to see her pot the winning goal on Tuesday.

“Casey has emerged as one of the better players in the league over the past year and a half,” said Flint. “She has worked very hard off the ice and she has really developed and (has) become a complete player.”

Pickett currently has 16 goals and a team-high 22 assists for 38 points, which is second to freshman Kendall Coyne’s 42 points.

Of course another big reason for the Beanpot trophy returning to Huntington Avenue was the play of senior goalie Florence Schelling. She made a season-high 43 saves in the overtime effort.

“The best goalies are the ones that are the most competitive and that thrive when faced with adversity,” Flint said of Schelling.

Schelling saw her team take a 2-0 lead before the Terriers rallied back to grab a 3-2 lead in the final six minutes of regulation. Through the final 25 minutes of play, she stopped 15 Boston University shots.

“Florence is one of the most intense and focused athletes I have ever met,” added Flint, who was a collegiate goaltender at North Adams State College. “That you can't teach, either you have certain qualities that make you great or you don't.”

Heading back into Hockey East play this weekend, the Huskies have a slim two-point lead for first place over Boston College. Northeastern would like to add its first Hockey East championship and NCAA tournament berth to the resume by the end of the year.

“We had to beat two very good teams to win and I don't think that that fact as escaped any of us,” said Pickett. “We know what a championship feels like now and we obviously would love to have that feeling again.”

The Huskies play three of their final four regular-season games at Matthews Arena beginning on Saturday with a 2 p.m. skate against the University of Maine. 

Games of the Week

Maine at Northeastern, Saturday and Sunday

Maine has won five of its last six games and will try to catch the Huskies with a Beanpot hangover. Northeastern won the first meeting between the two teams, 3-2, in late October.

The Huskies and Black Bears are No. 1 and 2, respectively, in goal scoring in Hockey East. Junior Brittany Dougherty (15-15-30) leads Maine against Northeastern freshman Kendall Coyne (24-18-42).

Around the region

Brown (7-11-7, 4-10-4 ECAC) forced overtime at third-place Clarkson last Friday on a late goal from Sarah Robson but then fell in overtime. The Bears wrap up their home schedule against Cornell and Colgate this weekend.  … Connecticut (4-19-7, 3-11-3 WHEA) split its weekend with a four-goal third period against New Hampshire on Sunday, to take the win, 6-3.  … Maine (15-8-6, 9-6-2 WHEA) swept a home series with Vermont, outscoring the Catamounts 7-1. The Black Bears have a pair this weekend at league-leading Northeastern. … New Hampshire (10-17-3, 4-11-2 WHEA) hosts Providence this weekend in the 131st and 132nd meetings for the schools. … Providence (12-15-3, 9-7-1 WHEA) had a light week with just its upset of Boston College. Assistant coach Bob Bellemore (Smithfield, R.I.) was named by the American Hockey Coaches Association as the recipient of the 2012 Women's Ice Hockey Assistant Coach Award. … Quinnipiac (15-12-2, 10-6-2) will try to stop a three-game skid with home games this weekend against St. Lawrence and Clarkson. … Sacred Heart (8-14-1 independent) had the week off and will host Oswego State this weekend. … Vermont (4-18-6, 3-12-2 WHEA) hosts Boston University this weekend.

New England women’s power rankings

1. Northeastern (19-6-3, 12-3-2 WHEA) ... The No. 7 Huskies won their tournament-high 15th Beanpot on Tuesday, but their first since 1998. Northeastern hopes the championship will spark a run to its first appearance in the NCAA tournament.

2. Boston College (19-8-3, 11-4-2 WHEA) ... BC bounced back after a 6-2 loss to Providence by winning the Beanpot consolation game over Harvard, 4-2. The Eagles, ranked No. 6, are two points behind Northeastern for first place and play three of their final four on the road.

3. Harvard (16-8-1, 13-4-1 ECAC) … No. 8 Harvard held serve at home in ECAC play with two wins last weekend, including a 10-1 drubbing of Princeton. Junior Jillian Dempsey (Winthrop, MA) netted five goals in that game.

4. Boston University (16-13-1, 10-7-0 WHEA) ... BU fought back from a 2-0 deficit in the Beanpot championship game before falling in overtime. Before that, the No. 10 Terriers had a 5-1 victory over New Hampshire.

5. Dartmouth (15-7-2, 11-5-2 ECAC) … The Big Green split their home weekend against Princeton (L, 2-1) and Quinnipiac (W, 4-1). Dartmouth still has a chance to catch Harvard for second place with four games remaining.

Scott Sudikoff can be reached at feedback@hockeyjournal.com.