The Battle of Comm Ave will make its return as the Boston University women’s hockey team (2-2-0, 1-1-0 HE) takes on the Boston College Eagles (3-2-1, 2-0-0 HE) in a home-and-home series. In their first contest of the 2022-2023 season, the rivals will open the weekend with a 6:00pm matchup on Friday in Chestnut Hill.
The Terriers are coming off of a series split against the University of New Hampshire. Friday’s 2-0 victory and Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss featured first collegiate goals from junior defensemen Tamara Giaquinto and Andi Calderone, helping their squad’s offensive game from the blueline.
Freshman forward –– and team point leader –– Clara Yuhn and the rest of the incoming class have continued to make an ealy impact in the lineup. BU is showing a new level of depth in their play with the ability to roll four lines, something they’ll need to lean on against the Eagles.
The scarlet and white also have options between the pipes. Graduate student Andrea Brändli pitched her second consecutive shutout of the year on Friday, making her the first Terrier netminder to have back-to-back clean sheets in the last 12 years. Sophomore Callie Shanahan started in the second competition and put up 39 stops. BU has split games between the two goaltenders the last two weekends, so it’s plausible they both see time in the crease against BC.
While the young Terriers have impressed early on, the group will lean on their upperclassmen leadership to get them ready for the high-intensity play that comes with the Battle of Comm Ave. They’ll be facing an Eagle squad that has two more regular season games under their belts and are eager to get back into the win column after a loss and a tie against Penn State last weekend.
BC swept Merrimack in their only Hockey East series of the year thus far, but were challenged by the top-15 ranked Lions who dealt them their second loss last Friday. Captain and senior forward Hannah Bilka leads her team with nine points (4 goals, 5 assists) after topping the charts with a team high of 16 goals in the 2021-2022 campaign.
Graduate student goaltender Abigail Levy has been the Eagles’ go-to for the past two years and will likely get the nod against the Terriers. Levy has earned a .939 save percentage and 1.96 goals-against-average through four starts, most recently posting 35 saves in the 2-2 tie last Saturday.
It seems that stats and rankings never carry much value in the Battle of Comm Ave, though. These series are a showcase of pride and grit from both sides and present the opportunity for unexpected heroes to step up. Last year, BC and BU each won one game so we’ll see which squad is hungrier to regain an edge in the rivalry this season.
The puck will drop at 6:00pm on Friday at Conte Forum and 3:00pm on Saturday for a matinee matchup at Walter Brown Arena. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage of the weekend so make sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.