By James Garrison
The Boston University women’s hockey team (12-13-6, 11-8-5 Hockey East) took on the Providence Friars (14-13-6, 11-12-3 HE) in their final regular-season series of the year. Friday night at Schneider Arena in Providence, the Friars won the contest in the shootout, 2-1.
The Terriers’ goal-scoring woes continued on Friday but they were also able to limit the offense of the Friars. BU battled in a very even contest and played much more competitive hockey than they have been playing in the weeks prior.
After going through a stretch where they only won one game out of ten, the Terriers have been getting better results in the last two weeks. With an upset win against the University of Vermont and an overtime win over the University of Maine on Tuesday, the Terriers have gone 2-1-1 in their last four games.
“Usually playoff games are gonna be tight games so we’ve got plenty of practice in tight games, and sometimes the tight games have occurred because we’re not the most prolific scoring team,” Head Coach Brian Durocher said in the postgame press conference.
“It is nice to see the ‘Lacey Martins’, the ‘Clare O’Learys’, and the ‘Alex Allans’ registering some points so that maybe there are enough people with confidence when we get to not just tomorrow’s game but next week’s playoff game that will bode well for our confidence and our performance,” Durocher added.
The game had a bit of a hot start to it before the goaltenders settled into their respective games. Terriers’ senior defenseman Alex Allan got on the board in the first minute for her third of the year.
Allan was able to pick up her own rebound off of a shot, circled the net, and was jammed in the first goal of the game, just getting past the pad of Sandra Abstreiter, the Providence netminder.
“We’ve had plenty of games when we haven’t been the first one to score and it definitely changes the complexion of the game,” Durocher said. “A team’s got to go out and score the next three goals to put you on your heels.”
Shortly after, at the 12:52 mark of the first, Providence’s graduate forward Hayley Lunny evened things up with her seventh goal of the year, giving her the team lead in points at 19.
After that, the game evened out into a battle between the two goaltenders.
Freshman goaltender Callie Shanahan had another very strong night between the pipes for the Terriers, stopping42 out of 43 shots faced on Friday night.
With a .928 save percentage and a 2.34 goals-against-average on the season as a whole, Shanahan is continuing to strengthen her case to be the Terriers’ starting goalie heading into the postseason and without question their goaltender of the future.
“She played extremely well,” Durocher said about Shanahan. “Any night you give up one goal it’s usually a good showing and when the shots are in the forty-range or maybe a little higher, you’ve gotta figure that it’s a very good showing.”
Stellar goaltending was also found on the other side in Providence’s graduate student goaltender, Sandra Abstreiter, who stopped thirty-six out of thirty-seven shots faced.
“I think we’ve got to try and do a better job on breaking the puck out a little more cleanly tomorrow,” Durocher said. “I think there were too many pucks that we had on the walls that we couldn’t find our center on breakouts.”
The Terriers currently sit in fifth in Hockey East standings (based on points-percentage) and will remain there for the rest of the season, as they cannot mathematically move any higher or lower in the standings.
The Terriers now know that they will be starting the playoffs on the road against either UConn or Boston College. The Terriers have won once in three contests against UConn and split the season series with Boston College.
The Terriers will begin the single-elimination tournament next weekend with their opponent to be determined, as explained above. They will have one more regular-season matchup against Providence, where they will honor their seniors as well as have one more tune-up before the playoffs begin.
Coverage for Saturday’s contest against Providence at Walter Brown, as well as next weekend’s playoff game can be found with a recap after the game, as well as coverage on Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.