The Boston University women’s hockey team (1-0-0, 0-0-0 Hockey East) opened their season at Walter Brown Arena tonight with a 4-0 win against the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institution Engineers (0-3-0, 0-0-0 ECAC). The freshman class headlined the scoresheet in their first showing in scarlett and white.
“I was having so much fun,” freshman forward and goal scorer Clara Yuhn said. “The whole point of tonight for me was to get my feet wet and have fun playing with my teammates.”
Graduate student goaltender Andrea Brändli got the starting nod and made 19 saves for a shutout performance in her first game as a Terrier. Sophomore netminder Callie Shanahan had been sick and wasn’t 100 percent for tonight, however head coach Brian Durocher said she’s expected to start tomorrow if fully healthy.
Coming off of off-season surgery, junior defenseman Julia Shaunessy made her return after sitting out of the Sept. 23 exhibition game. Junior defenseman Tamara Giaquinto didn’t dress for the home opener after also missing the 5-1 win over Université de Moncton, but should play tomorrow along with junior forward Clare O’Leary, Durocher said.
The Engineers got off to a quick start with early offensive pressure. They had some good looks in front of the BU crease –– that Brändli swallowed with confidence –– and held tight coverage in their defensive zone.
“I thought the slow start was only about the first five minutes –– it looked like we just weren’t ready physically,” Durocher said. “Why, I don’t know, it was the first game, you’re home. But all of a sudden they came after us.”
It took the Terriers half the period to find their footing and throw some threatening rubber on net. Junior forwards Catherine Foulem and Lacey Martin led the charge on their respective lines, capitalizing on rebound opportunities and forcing the puck down low.
Both groups got time on the power play with sophomore forward Christina Vote and freshman forward Kyley Toye getting sent to the box in the first 20 minutes of play, but there were no special teams tallys. The first period ended 0-0 with BU up 14-6 in SOG.
The score remained the same through the middle frame. Captain and senior defenseman Nadia Mattivi wound up some nice chances from the point, but none could trickle past RPI goaltender Amanda Rampado. The two squads heightened the pace in the second period and the ice opened up after a conservative first.
There was under a minute of 4-on-4 hockey following a BU bench minor penalty for too-many-men-on-the-ice and cross-checking call on freshman forward Nina Christof –– no luck for either team.
Freshman defenseman Brooke Disher was dominant in all three zones, using her speed and physicality to stop RPI breakaways and push the puck up the ice. While only in her rookie season, Disher showed poise and purpose as a leader in tonight’s competition.
“I think obviously I want to have an impact on the team, but I think our seniors really let the freshmen kind of do their thing and let us all be leaders,” Disher said in the postgame press conference.
BU opened up scoring 55 seconds into the third period, breaking the 40 minute drought. Freshman forward Sydney Healey garnered her first goal as a Terrier off the rush with a snapshot from the right side, putting her group up 1-0 on the scoreboard.
The Terriers tripled their lead in less than a minute starting with freshman forward Clara Yuhn’s first goal in the BU jersey, shot from just outside the right faceoff circle at 13:18 to make it 2-0. Then, 35 seconds later, sophomore forward Liv Haag dealt it to senior forward Brook Ersoy for a 3-0 advantage.
Just before the buzzer, Yuhn netted her second goal of the game with a right-side snapshot that looked almost identical to Healey’s first tally. With 14 seconds remaining on the clock, the freshman forward completed the team’s third period reboot.
“It’s our first real game so it took us a period to get under our belt,” Yuhn said. “We started getting bodies to the net in the third and just kept grinding away, putting pucks on net and they started going in.”
BU will host Union College at Walter Brown Arena tomorrow for a 4:00pm matchup to close out their opening weekend. While it’s a different opponent, Durocher said the Terriers will look to focus on their own game.
“I think you just keep trying to do the things you do well,” he said. “You try to focus on your team –– hockey is such a read and react game.”
Following tomorrow’s matinee, BU will head to Durham next week for their first Hockey East competition of the season against the University of New Hampshire Wildcats. For continued full coverage of Terrier hockey make sure to follow us on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.