The Boston University women’s hockey team (12-15-6, 11-10-5 Hockey East) was in Storrs yesterday afternoon to take on the University of Connecticut Huskies (23-8-4, 16-7-4 HE) in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. The Terriers’ season ended after falling 3-1.
BU got going early with a goal from senior forward Courtney Correia just 43 seconds into the first period. Alone in the offensive zone, Correia released a snapshot and crashed the net, scooping up the rebound and tapping it in to give her squad the 1-0 advantage.
“When you’re on the road you have to play a perfect game and to get the quick lead, to get the quick start was fantastic for us,” Head Coach Brian Durocher said post game. “It gave us some momentum out of the gate.”
The Terriers had energy and drive right from puck drop, setting the tone in the opening minutes of the game. As the away team, it was important they established their game early on and raised their compete level for the postseason.
Freshman netminder Callie Shanahan got the nod between the pipes in her first collegiate playoff game. Although senior goaltender Kate Stuart has the veteran experience, Shanahan has put up outstanding numbers in her rookie year and has proven to play well under pressure.
“She played well, made some real quality saves,” Durocher said. “She has done a real nice job as the year went along. I think the kids got a lot of confidence in her.”
With 23 saves, Shanahan had yet another impressive performance and has been exciting to watch as she’s the future of the program’s goaltending.
The Huskies found the equalizer at 12:47 with a goal from sophomore forward Jada Habisch. Dumped to the middle by senior forward Viki Harkness, Habisch picked up the pass in stride and sent the puck to the back of the net to make it 1-1.
BU had a chance to regain the lead before the period ended with a power play at 17:19, but couldn’t capitalize in those two minutes.
UConn garnered their first lead of the game in the second period after sophomore defenseman Andi Calderone was sent to the box for cross checking at 5:56. Graduate student Summer-Rae Dobson collected her fourth power play goal of the season as she parked herself infront of Shanahan and knocked the loose rubber in.
“My real disappointment of the game was the first ten minutes of the second––we just came out with a blase way about ourselves,” Durocher said. “Just not doing all the little things.”
The Terriers tried to keep the tempo up although trailing, and dominated at the faceoff circle, winning 10 out of 12 puck drops in the second. Nonetheless, the Huskies would skate into the third period with the 2-1 upper-hand.
BU was good on their edges in the third, skating with much more stamina than they did in the last 20 minutes of last weekend’s game against Providence College.
Shanahan stood tall in the crease and made some key saves in the closing frame. UConn was hunting to widen the scoring gap and the freshman goaltender fought to keep her group within one on multiple occasions.
With 6:45 on the clock, graduate student forward Morgan Wabick was called for tripping and gave the Terriers a prime opportunity to tie the game up late in the third. The Huskies had other plans, though, and put together a strong shut-down penalty kill.
“We had a power play there in the third that we probably didn’t do as much with either, so in the end our ability to only get one goal haunted us too many times this year and it did tonight too,” Durocher said.
The head coach pulled Shanahan with two minutes left, and Wabick took advantage of the empty net for her second of the competition at 18:51. The goal made it 3-1 and sealed UConn’s ride to the Hockey East semifinals.
Today’s loss marks the second year BU has been eliminated in the quarterfinals. The last months of the season proved tough for the group, specifically in the scoring category, and it unfortunately showed against UConn.
The Terriers will now lean on their younger talent as a big group of seniors skated for the last time in scarlet and white this afternoon.
“What I take away on the positive side is that I feel like we have a foundation there with our goaltending and our defense,” Durocher said. “Our biggest need is the offensive side of the game. We need to retool a little bit, develop some people to be a little more confident.”
BU now has the off-season to get themselves ready to be in a more competitive spot going into the 2022-2023 campaign. Follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog for updates.