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Wilmington’s Pickett stepping forward on the ice at Northeastern

Northeastern’s Casey Pickett was named tourament MVP.

Pickett goal brings NU a Beanpot title

The women’s Beanpot hockey tournament is an alternate universe.

The Northeastern men’s squad has not won the tourney since 1988. But the NU women have advanced to the championship game 25 times since its tournament debut in 1979, capturing 15 titles.

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The Huskies entered Tuesday night’s final looking for their first title since 1998.

They got it when junior captain Casey Pickett of Wilmington scored five minutes and 27 seconds into overtime to lift Northeastern to a 4-3 win over Boston University at Walter Brown Arena.

Pickett was tabbed tournament MVP after taking a feed from freshman Kendall Coyne, deking and then flipping a backhander over goalie Kerrin Sperry of North Reading.

When last seen, Pickett was under a mound of teammates.

She knows Sperry well; they were teammates with the Concord-based Assabet Valley Pioneers and head-to-head in the Independent School League, Pickett at St. Mark’s in Southborough and Sperry for Lawrence Academy in Groton.

“It’s unreal,’’ said Pickett.

The crowds may not match the size of those at TD Garden for the men’s Beanpot, but there is no less passion.

“I think we feel the same intensity and anxiety the men feel,’’ she said.

BU erased a 2-0 deficit with three unanswered goals, but NU goalie Florence Schelling (43 saves) denied every bid after that and the Huskies rallied for the tying goal before Pickett delivered the winner. “We got our confidence back when we tied it up,’’ said Pickett. “I talked to Florence and we knew we had it.’’

This has been a breakout season for the 5-foot-4 Pickett, who has piled up a career-high 38 points (16 goals, 22 assists) for the seventh-ranked Huskies (19-6-3), nearly double her output (10-10-20) from last season.

She only trails her linemate Coyne (42 points) on her scoresheet, but her +31 plus-minus rating is tops on the team.

“She’s the player I knew she would be when I first recruited her,’’ said Northeastern coach Dave Flint. “Playing with Kendall [Coyne] and Brittany [Esposito] certainly helps, but she emerged in the second half of last season and was terrific in the WHEA tournament.’’

Pickett credits assistant coach Hilary Witt, the program’s all-time leading scorer, who joined last season after an eight-year run as the head coach at Yale.

“The first thing she ever said to me was, ‘You’re going to have a 20-goal season this year,’ ” Pickett said. “And I just laughed.’’

What Witt saw from the forward in the latter parts of the season left her thinking that Pickett was ready to be a star.

NU entered yesterday’s game against Maine four points shy of clinching a first-round bye in the Hockey East tournament.

The Huskies lost in the final last year to Boston College, narrowly missing out on the NCAA tournament for the second straight year.

Campus corner

With his 21-point performance in an 89-84 win over 16th-ranked Williams, Bowdoin co-captain Ryan O’Connell (St. John’s Prep/Ipswich) became the 22d player in the program to surpass 1,000 career points. . . . Stonehill College freshman forward Tori Faieta (St. Mary’s of Lynn) was named Northeast-10 Rookie of the Week after averaging 12 points, 7.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 2.5 blocked shots in 24.5 minutes per game in a 2-0 week for the Skyhawks .

Amy Fahey of Fitchburg State, a sophomore forward from Wilmington, was the MASCAC women’s basketball co-player of the week, scoring 34 points and 15 rebounds in Fitchburg State’s 71-69 win over Framingham State on Feb. 3. . . .

Merrimack College junior Mike Clifford of Danvers (Bishop Fenwick) posted 14 points and a game-high 17 rebounds to beat Stonehill 51-43 Feb. 4.

Junior forward Nate Simpson of Lowell had 22 points, 13 rebounds, and three blocks in Salem State’s 87-78 win over the Mass. College of Liberal Arts.

Here and there

Local athletes shared MASCAC Indoor Field Athlete of the Week. Fitchburg State senior Matt Muolo of Stoneham won the weight throw (17.55 meters) and finished second in shot put (14.53 meters) at the Tufts Stampede meet. Tom Gauger, a Westfield State junior from Billerica, broke his own record in pole vault (4.54 meters) winning at the Dartmouth Indoor Classic. In the girls’ junior mile at New Balance Indoor Grand Prix last weekend at Reggie Lewis Center, Cayla Hatton of Phillips Andover finished second in 4:51.37. Rankings on milesplit.com list her time as fastest in New England this year, seventh-best in the country.

The Wilmington High Athletic Hall of Fame Committee will accept nominations until March 5. The hall honors athletes, coaches, benefactors, and contributors, and selection is based solely on what candidates did in sports at Wilmington High. Athletes must have participated in at least one varsity sport and graduated at least 10 years before nomination. Send nominations to Edward Harrison, WHS Athletic Hall of Fame, Wilmington High School, 159 Church St., Wilmington, MA 01887.

Westford Academy senior captain Hayley Kaskaskia has signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Rutgers. A four-year starter, she registered 18 goals and 21 assists in her career.

Shawn Anderson is new boys’ lacrosse coach at St. Mary’s of Lynn. He has coached lacrosse at Belmont Hill and Becker College.

Rich Fahey can be reached at fahey.rich2@gmail.com. Jason Mastrodonato also contributed. He can be reached at jasonmastrodonato@yahoo.com.
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