Last season, the North­eastern Uni­ver­sity women’s hockey team climbed to No. 10 in the nation, and fell just one game short of win­ning Hockey East and clinching a bid to the National Col­le­giate Ath­letic Asso­ci­a­tion tour­na­ment.

This season, head coach Dave Flint says, “the sky’s the limit,” for the No. 12 Huskies. “We have to take the suc­cess we had last year and carry it over into this season,” he says. “Knowing what we are capable of accom­plishing makes us hun­grier.”

Col­lege hockey experts pick the club to finish in third place in Hockey East. The red and black will have their first chance to show off their talent when they open the reg­ular season today against Syra­cuse Uni­ver­sity at 3 p.m. at Matthews Arena.

“On paper, this is the best team I’ve had at North­eastern,” Flint says. “If we stay healthy, we can pick up from last year.”

The Huskies will depend on the team’s top four scorers from the 2010 cam­paign —including junior for­ward Rachel Llanes, who scored 12 goals and 19 assists in 37 games — to put the puck in the back of the net.

But for­ward Kendall Coyne, one of the club’s nine freshmen, should also figure promi­nently on the score sheet. She helped the United States National Team win the gold medal at the 2011 Inter­na­tional Ice Hockey Fed­er­a­tion World Cham­pi­onships in Zurich, Switzer­land.

As Flint puts it, “Kendall makes everyone around her better. In prac­tice and in games, her work ethic is second to none.”

He praises the team’s depth and bal­ance. “We don’t have any super­stars,” he says, “but if we roll four lines and play the way I want us to play, we will win games by wearing teams down.”

Flint calls goal­tender Flo­rence Schelling “the back­bone of our team.” The senior from Oberengstringen, Switzer­land, sports a minis­cule 1.88 goals against average and .936 save per­centage in 68 career games.

“When every­thing is on the line, a hot goalie is the one who usu­ally wins games,” he says. “We expect a lot out of her.”

Flint can’t wait to find out where the Huskies rank among Hockey East con­tenders. His club begins its con­fer­ence schedule on Oct. 28 at Maine.

“Every night in Hockey East is tough, so you can’t take a night off,” he says. “Any­body can beat any­body and that’s the exciting thing.”