In the second game of the Battle of Comm Ave, the Boston University women’s hockey team (6-5) fell 2-0 to the Boston College Eagles (14-4) in a historically close competition with tremendous efforts from both sides. After losing for the first time in nine games, and on home ice nonetheless, BC had a chip on their shoulder and played for redemption.
Before the puck dropped, it was senior night at Walter Brown Arena, a ceremony that senior forward Kristina Schuler described as a “tearjerker.” Tonight’s competition may be the last time Schuler and her fellow teammates Jesse Compher, Corinne Schroeder, Nara Elia, and Rachel Allen take the ice at home.
With no fans in the stands, head coach Brian Durocher said they tried to make the celebration as special as they could––coaches had the players’ parents on FaceTime as they were introduced and received their flowers. The group of five is definitely going to be missed.
“They were players who played outstanding hockey here for four years,” Durocher said. “I’m so proud of everybody that has worn this jersey, and these five are great examples.”
Corinne Schroeder got the start in net after junior netminder Kate Stuart put up 27 saves in the Terrier’s victory yesterday afternoon. The game marked Schroeder’s 90th career start and she looked solid throughout the scoreless first twenty minutes of play, making twelve saves by the end of the period.
BU got on the power play early as junior forward Jillian Fey headed to the box for tripping at 17:49, but cut their chances short when junior defenseman Alex Allan got called for interference less than a minute later. The brief four-on-four hockey proved unproductive for both sides and even strength play resumed.
Forward Nara Elia put the puck on net every chance she got, testing BC junior goaltender Abigail Levy who was between the pipes for the Eagles in both games this weekend and got the shutout today. Junior forward Mackenna Parker also had a good look with a snapshot off a breakaway, but Levy swallowed the chance up.
The Terrier’s began to tilt the ice in the second half of the period, skating with intention and gaining some offensive momentum. Compher was buzzing following her three point (2g, 1a) performance yesterday and led her team in forcing the Eagles to stay in their defensive zone. The opening frame ended with the score held at 0-0 and shots on goal tied at 12-12.
BC expectedly came out with a higher level of energy to start the second period, but the home team was able to match the onslaught of shots very well. Schroeder stood tall in the crease and the Terrier’s defense did not let up on the Eagles’ forwards.
Fey took her second penalty of the evening, this time for holding-the-stick. Her two minute timeout gave the Terriers the opportunity to work on their power play which looked structured and ran with more confidence despite the lack of offensive production. The squad also failed to capitalize in their third power play of the game a little later in the period.
On the bright side, BU has netted two goals off the woman-advantage in their last two games, a good sign as special teams has been one of their main points of struggle this season.
The Chestnut Hill rivals almost broke the scoring drought in the closing minutes of the second with junior forward Savannah Norcross ringing it off the pipe and a right side shot from junior forward Kelly Browne, one of the two BC goalscorers in the first competition. Schroeder’s stops were momentum saving as her team headed into the second intermission.
Going into the last twenty minutes of play still knotted at zero marked the first time in the 62 meetings of the Battle of Comm Ave that the game has remained scoreless after two periods––a historically low offensive matchup. This storyline held strong for around seven minutes, and then BC flipped the narrative.
Within 18 seconds, both Fey and sophomore forward Hannah Bilka got their seventh of the season to lift their team to a 2-0 lead. With her fourth game winning goal, Fey pulled the puck over from her left side in front of the crease and tucked it past the goal line. Bilka’s toe-drag to snapshot was reviewed by officials but ultimately counted.
Durocher said the officials told him they were reviewing the play for a major penalty against BC for some physical activity against freshman defensemen Tamara Giaquinto, however did not find anything. Durocher was confused by how they didn’t catch even a minor penalty while taking the time to review for a major, but in the end, the goal stood.
BU had some golden opportunities to cut down their opponents lead as the third period went on. Compher was in all alone on a breakaway, but shot high, and her squad also had power play chances. A hooking and holding penalty from the Eagles gave the Terriers 36 seconds of five-on-three action in addition to five-on-four.
The scarlet and white crashed the net and put pressure on a tired group of BC players, but did not get enough shots on goal during the woman-advantage. They ended up going 0-5 on the power play this evening.
Schroeder was pulled with a little over two minutes left, but the buzzer sounded before BU could sneak one past Levy.
Tonight’s matchup was the last regular season game for BU as Hockey East playoffs will start this Wednesday, February 24. The Terrier’s compete level against a team like BC is reassuring as they head into the postseason.
“You’ve had a string of three real solid games and I think the kids know what it takes because they’ve done it and now it’s a matter of again, you know executing under a little bit of pressure,” Durocher said.
The head coach also pointed to the intensity of single elimination games and said his team will have to focus on the little things to find success in their upcoming competitions. BU is not sure who they are slated against or which game slot they will play in, but @BOSHockeyBlog on Twitter will have all the updates coming this week.