By Gillian McMahon
The Boston University women’s ice hockey team (10-10-4, 9-6-3 HE) opened up Beanpot action this afternoon in the semi-final matchup with the no. 6 Harvard University Crimson (16-5, 12-3 ECAC) at Matthews Arena. Though a hard-fought effort, the Terriers were unable to play a solid 60 minutes of hockey and let the game slip away from them in the third period.
The game started with a lot of back and forth play between the Terriers and the Crimson. BU had a few close opportunities near the net that they were unable to convert on.
Senior forward Jesse DeVito went down early in the game with an apparent wrist injury but was able to later return to the game.
“She was back on the bench ready to play. She went out for what I am guessing was more of a stinger,” Head Coach Brian Durocher said when asked about it in the postgame press conference.
With around nine minutes to play in the first, there was a roughing penalty called on freshman forward Kylie Roberts after a play behind the Harvard net. The Terriers were able to kill it off with a good defensive effort but the Harvard penalty kill proved superior.
After a tripping penalty was called on junior defense Maryna MacDonald, Harvard was able to clear the puck out of the Terriers’ offensive zone multiple times, not allowing them any chance to set things up.
A minute into the second period, a deflection in the Terrier offensive zone led to a goal from first-year forward Taze Thompson, her 6th notch on the year. The period continued with aggressive play from the Terriers with quality chances and active players around the net including sophomore defense Julia Shaunessy, junior forward Haylee Blinkhorn, and junior defense Nadia Mattivi.
Back-to-back penalties on senior forward Makenna Parker and Matitvi for hooking and body checking respectively would have seemingly shifted the momentum in favor of the Crimson, but the Terriers kept on fighting.
The Terrier forwards including sophomore Catherine Foulem, senior Courtney Correia, and freshman Christina Vote kept up the attack, and sophomore Lacey Martin was eventually able to even the score with under four minutes to play in the second period.
Martin scored after a missed shot attempt on the left post which left senior Crimson goalie Becky Dutton out of position. This was Martin’s third goal of the season and she was assisted by Blinkhorn and junior forward Julia Nearis.
The third period started with more of the same narrative that started the game––opportunities not being capitalized on. The Terriers struggled to find their groove on the power play and came up empty-handed following a slashing penalty on Buckles at 3:05.
The Crimson also weren’t able to generate any goals on the power play and a broken stick on a slap shot from Della Rovere allowed the Terriers to get some fresh legs in and kill off the penalty.
Halfway through the third, junior forward Anne Bloomer scored a goal assisted by linemate, senior forward Becca Gilmore to put the Crimson up 2-1 halfway through the third period. From there, the Terriers began to lose their momentum and Harvard eventually scored two more goals.
Bloomer put the Crimson up 3-1 with an unassisted goal off the right post, her 17th goal of the season, and second on the night. Junior forward Kristin Della Rovere sealed the game with 3:25 left to go with a goal from the right circle, assisted by Gilmore.
“Some of those penalties could be momentum things…their big players capitalized which I give them some credit [for]” said Durocher.
The Crimson dominated shots on goal the entire game, finishing with 49, compared to BU’s 22. Senior goaltender Kate Stuart had a strong performance this afternoon for the Terriers with 45 saves against a group of multifaceted Harvard forwards who made some highlight reel worthy plays on the net.
“Kate was real sharp today and I thought was very solid,” Durocher said. “It’s kind of frustrating because we’ve gotten fantastic goaltending in the last three or four games at Northeastern, up at Holy Cross on Friday, and back here today, but when you look at the score sheet and average goaltending, well we gave up a few shots… all in the last six, seven minutes of the game. Maybe it’s a little mental, maybe we’re getting tired but we just have to be better”
Despite the frustration of being unable to string together a full 60 minutes of quality play, Durocher found some positives even right until the end, especially the Terriers’ ability to put themselves in positions for success in the second period against a talented Harvard group. He also emphasized the importance of sticking together in games like these, and that there is a lot of hockey left to play this year.
The Terriers will host the University of Connecticut Huskies at Walter Brown Arena on Friday night and then travel to Chestnut Hill to face Comm Ave rival Boston College Saturday afternoon. Be sure to follow along for preview, live, and post-game coverage of the men’s and women’s hockey games this weekend on the blog and on Twitter and Instagram.