BOSTON — The Boston University women’s ice hockey team (5-4) came back with a vengeance against the University of Vermont Catamounts (6-2). After falling 4-0 in yesterday’s game, the Terriers pulled back above .500 with a 4-1 victory to split the weekend series.
Senior forward Jesse Compher led the Terriers with three points (2g, 1a) on the day, while sophomore defenseman Nadia Mattivi (2a) and junior forward Mackenna Parker (1g, 1a) finished with two apiece. Three skaters tallied one point each for Vermont.
In net, junior goaltender Kate Stuart got the nod for the Terriers, making 27 saves in the win. Vermont’s Jessie McPherson allowed three goals on 26 shots.
“She [Stuart] played great,” BU assistant coach Tara Watchorn said, “It’s so nice to have that one-two punch with her and Corinne [Schroeder], and just to know that they’re going to bring it every game, and they’re going to give us a chance to win.”
The Terriers controlled most of the possession and applied strong pressure on Catamount zone entries, but a lapse in defensive positioning 3:36 into the game allowed Vermont forward Theresa Schafzahl to set up shop between the faceoff circles with acres of real estate, and she placed the puck top shelf before Stuart could react to give Vermont an early 1-0 lead.
Vermont forward Tynka Pátková was called for tripping 6:26 to put BU on the power play with a chance to even up the score. The Catamount penalty kill was able to take away possession for a large chunk of the penalty time, even generating a two-on-one rush that required a quick glove stop from Stuart.
The power play unit still managed to put some good looks on net, but ultimately came up empty. The Terriers struggled to connect on all their passes in the subsequent minutes, which led to some missed opportunities on the breakouts.
An elbowing penalty on freshman defenseman Tamara Giaquinto allowed the Terrier penalty kill to have their turn stringing together some short-handed chances, as BU was able to take away from the Catamounts’ first five-on-four opportunity of the night. The penalty time passed with no score to keep the Catamount lead at one.
The Terriers picked up the momentum from the penalty kill and spent the rest of the period in the offensive zone, limiting any Vermont chances to a couple contested rushes Stuart handled with ease. Still, no pucks got past McPherson, and Vermont entered the first intermission with the 1-0 lead.
The Terriers opened the second strong, picking up where they left off in the first. Parker left a chance at the doorstep, missing an open rebound off a Giaquinto shot from the point, but she made up for it 17 seconds later, cycling back to the center of the zone to unleash a wrister that slipped past McPherson to tie the game 1-1 just 1:31 into the period.
“Mackenna Parker’s a great player, and her speed is definitely one of her best assets, so I’m pretty lucky to play with her,” Compher said of her linemate, “She’s on a roll right now and I think she’s gotta keep going.”
BU proceeded to skate circles around Vermont’s defense, testing McPherson with a gauntlet of slapshots, deflections and tic-tac-toe plays in rapid succession. The Chatham, Ontario native stood tall in the crease, but the Terriers continued to buzz.
Vermont was able to come back with some good attempts on Stuart with nine minutes left in the period, but the Terrier netminder used her pads to steer them all away. The Terriers quickly regained puck control and continued to miss prime chances to pull ahead. With 7:16 left in the period, freshman forward Catherine Foulem found Compher from behind the net, and the co-captain released a one-timer to beat McPherson and put her team up 2-1.
A Maddy Skelton slashing penalty with just 1:12 left in the period put the Terriers on the power play for the second time of the day, and after forcing McPherson to make some tough saves, the period ended with the Terriers still leading 2-1.
The third period opened with 48 seconds left on Skelton’s penalty, and BU capitalized right away, with senior co-captain Nara Elia tapping in a bouncing puck just 10 seconds into the period to put the Terriers up 3-1.
“The power play has been looking good all year, it just hasn’t been going in for us,” Watchorn said, “Hopefully the doors open for more in the future.”
BU continued to apply pressure as Vermont tried to mount a comeback, sparking two breakaway chances within 30 seconds of each other. McPherson held down the fort, and the score remained 3-1 with less than 15 minutes left in regulation.
Vermont began ramping up the pressure, applying a vicious forecheck to prevent BU from exiting their defensive zone. Stuart hunkered down, but the onslaught led BU head coach Brian Durocher to use his timeout with 10:24 left.
“We couldn’t get too comfortable with a two goal lead, so I think that was just the main focus, just to focus on the little things and keep going,” Compher said.
The Terriers had more success exiting their defensive zone, but Vermont continued to dominate possession. A boarding penalty on junior forward Emma Wuthrich put the Catamounts in a great position to cut the lead with 6:25 remaining. BU managed to kill the penalty without giving up many close chances.
Vermont pulled McPherson with 2:20 left. The Terriers pinned the Catamounts against the boards, suffocating any openings. Compher took a loose puck and streaked down the ice to knock home an empty netter. Her second goal of the game gave the Terriers a 4-1 lead to ice the game with eight seconds left.
“It’s nice to get the win how we got it,” Watchorn said, “I think it all kind of came together.”
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