The Boston University women’s hockey team (2-0) had a strong start to their season this weekend, sweeping the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (0-2) in the two-game series. The Terriers went back-to-back with a gritty 4-2 win Friday, and a shutdown 5-0 win on Saturday at Walter Brown Arena.
Friday’s competition in Durham had a rocky start for BU with Wildcat freshman Kira Juodokis netting one just 22 seconds into the first period––making it her first collegiate––but not only goal of the game. Juodokis then gave her squad a 2-1 lead following BU senior forward Mackenna Parker’s game tying goal at 16:20.
Freshman netminder Callie Shanahan started between the pipes for the Terriers and found her groove by the end of the opening frame. Giving up the first shot-on-net did not stop her from bouncing back and coming up big for her team throughout the weekend.
Shanahan garnered her first collegiate shutout with 16 saves Saturday afternoon, proving she’s a contending starter for the group in senior goaltender Kate Stuart’s absence. In Saturday’s post game press conference head coach Brian Durocher confirmed Stuart would be back next weekend.
“Kate’s somebody who’s been here and earned her stripes and has excellent numbers in the games she’s played. This is a time when you look at somebody like her to be one of your leaders,” Durocher said.
The Terriers displayed their resiliency in the second period, clawing their way to a lead by the end of 40 minutes. Senior forward Courtney Correia stripped a UNH player of the puck and wristed one netfront past senior goaltender Ava Boutilier to knot the competition at two a piece early in the second.
Junior forward Julia Nearis––who was a force to be reckoned with throughout the series––scored at 7:53 on the powerplay to give the Terriers their first lead of the night. Hanging right by the doorstep, Nearis knocked one in on the right side to make it 3-2 going into the last frame.
New Hampshire expectedly put pressure on BU during the third, trying to get themselves back on the scoreboard, but ultimately fell short. Senior defenseman Alex Allan’s empty-net-goal at the end of the third sealed the deal for the Terriers as they collected a tally for the win column in their first game of the season.
The group leaned on their veteran players to get them going while trailing the Wildcats. Durocher said this leadership from the seniors is something that will be very important to the group this season, and specifically pointed to Parker’s impressive play.
“She had a tremendous game. Just really physical, really strong, fast. Did everything you could ask, including scoring a goal,” he said in Friday’s post game press conference.
The Terriers headed back to Boston to host their home-opener at Walter Brown Arena for Saturday’s matinee game. For the first time in 581 days, the BU Band was back in the house and fans were allowed in the stands––a spectacle Durocher said nobody was as excited for as the players.
Coming away with a 5-0 victory, BU did not disappoint their audience. The group played a solid three periods, detail oriented, and with a competitive drive that overwhelmed the Wildcats in both the offensive and defensive zones.
“If I could start with one word, it would probably be thorough––I think that’s the best way to describe the 60 minutes. Right from the get go, everybody came out with a lot of jump,” Durocher said. “I really think they did a good job carrying not only on the offensive side and shots on goal but limiting the chances on the other end.”
It was almost a scoreless first until senior forward Emma Wuthrich got her squad on the board with 2:21 left to play. A scramble in front and relentless poking and pushing by the Terriers led Wuthrich to tap the puck past Boutilier for a 1-0 lead.
BU had three goals in the middle frame, one being a collegiate first for freshman forward Kylie Roberts with an assist from Nearis. Sophomore defenseman Julia Shaunessy blasted one from the blue line at 12:03, widening the gap to a 3-0 deficit for the Wildcats. And, Mackenna Parker added one more tally for the Terriers before the end of the period with a shot from the right circle that trickled past Boutilier’s goal line.
The Scarlet and White did not take their foot off the gas pedal for the last 20 minutes of play. They were consistent and they hustled with clear determination to win. During some 4-on-4 hockey Nearis effortlessly dangled through a UNH defenseman to release a snapshot that soared right to the back of the net to get BU to the final 5-0 score.
The Terrier’s success this weekend was truly a group effort as they got contributions from up and down the lineup, speaking to the depth this team seems to have early on in the season. Correia, Parker, and Nearis really showed up and had an ever apparent presence on the ice in both competitions, living up to the expectations Durocher has set for them this year.
BU will be back in Durham to face the Wildcats next Saturday after hosting the Northeastern University Huskies at Walter Brown Arena on Friday at 7 p.m. The Terriers will look to maintain their winning streak next weekend by focusing on attention to detail Durocher said.
“Just continuing to be consistent, continuing to do the little things––the angling, working from the inside out, and not getting lost or mentally short on how you think the game.”