The Boston University women’s hockey team (3-0) hosted the No. 2 ranked Northeastern Huskies (2-1) tonight at Walter Brown Arena where they came away with an exhilarating 2-1 victory. In their second weekend of the regular season, BU proved that they’re here to compete.
“It was a real good team win. The kids fought and they competed and we were really excited we could close the deal at the end,” head coach Brian Durocher said in the post game press conference. “They were sticking together, they knew they had to fight.”
The Huskies had a strong start to their season with two shutout games against the Holy Cross Crusaders last weekend. Senior forward Chloé Aurard had three goals in the series along with freshman forward Skylar Irvirng and junior forward Katy Knoll each tallying two a piece. However their high scoring weekend did not translate tonight as the Terriers held them to a single tally.
Tonight’s competition was a big test for the Terrier team early on in the season after a successful opening series sweep against the University of New Hampshire to start the 2021-2022 campaign. They showed a tremendous amount of grit in this character building win, something they’ll look to build off of in the future.
“It lets them know they can beat a top team. That goes a long way from the shoulders up––any time you feel good about yourself, and you can reflect back on a big win, it gives you some more belief of how it’s done and what it takes,” Durocher said.
Junior defenseman Nadia Mattivi did not skate with the Terriers tonight as she’s competing with the Italian National Team. The group has their Olympic pre-qualification games this weekend, presenting an exciting opportunity for Mattivi to represent her country of origin.
Senior goaltender Kate Stuart returned to the BU crease for her first start of the season after being sidelined by an injury for the past two weekends. The netminder had 34 saves and was outstanding for her team, standing tall when they needed her the most.
Junior netminder Gwyneth Philips got the nod between the pipes for Northeastern––somewhat unexpected as veteran goalie Aerin Frankel is the usual starter for the squad.
Both sides came out ready to play in the first. Although a scoreless period, there was no shortage of chances in the fast paced 20 minutes. The Huskies did a good job of clogging the middle and limiting BU chances, but the Terriers did not back down, coming out of the first frame up 11-7 in SOG.
Sophomore defenseman Julia Shaunessy got sent to the box for tripping at 8:19 and BU’s penalty kill was put to the test. Stuart fought through numerous screens and was diligent and sharp at tracking the puck to keep it a 0-0 score. She clearly has not missed a beat and is ready to take on her leadership role this season.
BU went on the power play with a little over two minutes left on the clock. Sophomore defenseman Lily Yovetich got called for tripping, and her teammate, junior defenseman Megan Carter, joined her in the sin bin at 19:21 for a matching penalty. The Terriers were unable to get on the board on the short lived 5-on-3 but started the second with the woman-advantage.
Northeastern continued their physical play through the middle frame, repeatedly going after senior forward Mackenna Parker and landing in the box. BU was given many opportunities to work on their special teams and finally capitalized at 10:12 with a power play goal from Shaunessy. A rocket from just below the blueline put the Terriers up 1-0.
Scoring her first two collegiate goals in BU’s final game of the season last year, Shaunessy now has two in the last three games––and as a defenseman nonetheless. She’s definitely grown into her game and gained a great amount of confidence since her freshman campaign.
“This year she has taken advantage of the mismatches she creates. Her reach, her strength, and clearly the way she shoots and passes the puck are assets and thankfully we’ve been able to get her into places where she can shoot the puck,” Durocher said of Shaunessy.
Freshman forward Christina Vote got her first goal as a Terrier with 4:22 left to play in the second while her squad was back on the woman-advantage. A hectic scramble in front of Philips’ net allowed Vote to knock the puck past the Husky netminder. The tally was reviewed for goaltender interference, but the call on the ice ultimately stood.
Northeastern got their chance on the power play towards the end of the period after Parker was given two minutes for tripping. Senior forward Maureen Murphy cut BU’s lead in half with a tap in goal on the rush at 18:37. The second was a period of special teams as both side’s goals came while up a woman.
The Huskies’ late goal gave them a boost of energy going into the third. They came out flying with their gained momentum and put on the offensive zone pressure early. Northeastern looked for an equalizer on the power play at 6:10, but had no luck.
The continued onslaught of shots from their opponents forced BU to dig deep and find another level to their game. Whether it was getting in front of passes or relentlessly blocking shots, you could tell the determination to win these women had.
No one was more excited than the women themselves as they flooded the ice to congratulate one another on what could be a season-defining win.
The Terriers have a quick turnaround for tomorrow’s 2p.m. game in New Hampshire against the Wildcats. The group swept UNH last weekend and are familiar with the players, so it will be interesting to see how the home team responds. Durocher said they’ve got to treat the game as a clean slate.
“What you want is short term memory of the results of the game and play it like it’s a new game 0-0, that’s the most important thing,” he said.