Dani Rylan cel­e­brated the New Year by scoring her first goal for the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity women’s hockey team with three min­utes remaining in a Jan. 2 game against St. Cloud State.

The tally broke a 1–1 tie.

Oh my gosh, it was amazing,” says Rylan, a grad­uate stu­dent who played men’s club hockey in prepa­ra­tion for lacing up her stakes for the Huskies. “St. Cloud prob­ably had 10 shots in the last few min­utes, so I couldn’t fully enjoy the goal until the game was over and we had won.”

Rylan had ties to Husky hockey even before she put on the North­eastern sweater.

Head coach Dave Flint recruited her in high school when he coached St. Anselm Col­lege, in Man­chester, N.H., but Rylan ended up playing for the men’s club team at Metro State Col­lege, in Denver, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in broad­cast jour­nalism. They kept in touch, and he guar­an­teed Rylan a roster spot on the North­eastern club if she applied to the uni­ver­sity and got accepted.

Rylan, who’s studying sports lead­er­ship at North­eastern, has two years of col­lege ath­letic eli­gi­bility remaining.

The bud­ding side­line reporter, who cov­ered the Col­orado Rockies during an intern­ship at Fox Sports Network-​​Rocky Moun­tain, has scored two goals and six assists in 28 games with the Huskies.

She plays a reg­ular shift as a for­ward on the third line. “I didn’t even know if I would dress for games, but now I’m get­ting a ton of ice time,” says Rylan, who’s quickly adapted to the fast pace of elite col­lege hockey. “I’ve gone from zero to 60 and 60 has been awesome.”

Facing off against the guys at Metro State Col­lege — “I felt like I got hit by a bus every game” — pre­pared the 5-​​foot, 3-​​inch Rylan for playing against some of the top goal-​​scorers and shot-​​blockers in the nation. Hockey East, the con­fer­ence in which the Huskies com­pete, fea­tures three of the top 10 teams in the country.

I never expected to be where I am now,” she says. “All the cards lined up perfectly.”

She’ll do her best to help the Huskies wintheir 15thBeanpot cham­pi­onship. The club, 14–9-5, has been ranked as high asNo. 9 in the coun­try­this season, and has a good shot to take home some more hardware.

It’s an oppor­tu­nity for brag­ging rights for a whole year,” says Rylan. “That sounds good to me.”