With a 16-game win streak and a 20-1-1 record this season, the Northeastern Huskies women’s hockey program enters next week’s Frozen Four tournament in Erie, Pennsylvania as the top ranked team in the country.
However, for captain Brooke Hobson and the rest of the Huskies, their main focus is to ignore all of the outside noise as they look to bring home the program’s first national title
“It’s good to go in as the top seed but we all know there’s a target on our backs now,” Hobson said. “Everyone wants to win a national title and it doesn’t matter how you get there. All you have to do is win three games in that tournament.
“We’re all focussing on playing our absolute best. If we come into the tournament with the right mindset, we have a chance of winning and that’s what makes things so exciting.”
The Huskies have qualified for the tournament during all four seasons that Hobson has been with the program.
They lost in the quarter-final round in 2018 and 2019 and were the third overall seed for last year’s Frozen Four, which was cancelled two days before its intended start date as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Obviously it was a tough way to end last year, but I think that’s made us more grateful to have the opportunity to be together a team,” Hobson said.
“That’s what has made this season so special for all of us as the chance to play at the Frozen Four is something that we’ve waited two years for.”
While the Huskies have put together an incredible season, they’ve also had to deal with the challenges that come with playing during a pandemic.
“It’s definitely been a different year, especially at the start of the season as Northeastern and the rest of the Hockey East conference were trying to figure out how things would work during the year,” Hobson said. “There were a couple of games where we warming up at the rink and all of a sudden the game had been called off.
“Given everything that’s gone on, it’s allowed us to take a step back and really appreciate the time that we have together on the ice, whether that be during a practice or a game.”
Hobson, who also served as a captain for her hometown Prince Albert Northern Bears when they went to the Esso Cup in 2017, has 15 points in 22 games so far in her senior season to sit sixth in team scoring.
“I’ve been trying to play consistent all year long, which is something that I take a lot of pride in,” said Hobson, who has 73 points in 129 games during her time with the Huskies. “I’ve been working on my offensive game as well and that’s improved as the season has gone on.
“It helps when you have such great teammates to play alongside. It makes things so much fun out on the ice and everyone plays better as a result.”
The highlight of the season thus far for Hobson came last weekend as the Huskies captured their fourth straight Hockey East title with a 6-2 win over the Providence Friars.
“That was a special moment for myself and our entire senior class,” Hobson said. “When we came in as freshmen we won the Hockey East title on our home rink (Matthews Arena) and to be able to do that again as seniors was awesome.
“I think what stands out with this team is how much passion everyone has for hockey and for one another. There’s so much talent on this roster but we wouldn’t be able to reach our full potential if wasn’t for what we’ve done to come together as a team.”
The Huskies will start off the Frozen Four on Monday at noon with a quarter-final contest against the Robert Morris Colonials, with the winner facing either the Colgate Raiders or the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs in a semifinal matchup on Thursday.
“They are coming into the tournament on a high after they won their conference tournament (College Hockey America) as an underdog,” Hobson said. “We know that we’re going to get the best game from our opponents every time that we play, especially with our ranking, so we need to make sure that we’re ready to outwork our opponents.”
The tournament, which wraps up next Saturday at 5:30 p.m., also features the Wisconsin Badgers, Providence Friars, Ohio State Buckeyes and Boston College Eagles.