The Boston University women’s hockey team (3-5-0, 2-4-0 Hockey East) will face the Providence College Friars (7-2-1, 4-1-1 HE) this weekend as they try to build some momentum from last Saturday’s win at Wally B.
Providence is coming off of a tough weekend against Northeastern University (8-1-1, 6-1-1 HE) where they dropped the first game 4-1 and tied the second 2-2. Prior to the series with the Huskies, the Friars were rolling on a six game win streak with good offensive production night in and night out.
Freshman forward Reichen Kirchmair leads her squad with seven goals while graduate student Sara Hjalmarsson holds the most points with four goals and seven assists. Providence has a pretty veteran roster with 17 upperclassmen which has allowed them to lean on the learned experience of their older players like captain and grad forward Caroline Peterson.
The Friars average 3.1 goals-per-game to the Terriers’ 2.5 and have found strength in their graduate student netminder Sandra Abstreiter who has started between the pipes for every game this season. Abstreiter has posted a 1.39 goals-against-average and .945 save percentage through their first ten matchups. She will most likely get the nod on Friday in Boston.
BU, on the other hand, has been rotating their goaltenders in the past four series, and the coaching staff seems to want to keep it that way. Sophomore Callie Shanahan has yet to be in net for a Terrier victory this year, however that’s not wholly the fault of her own and is more tied to a general lack of energy from the entire lineup.
Graduate student Andrea Brändli has three wins –– including two shutouts –– under her belt in her first year on Comm Ave. She boasts a .955 save percentage and had a standout game against Merrimack to break the team’s four game losing streak. However, it wouldn’t be a surprise if head coach Brian Durocher dealt each of his goalies a chance in the crease against Providence.
On the offensive side of things, senior forward Julia Nearis has recently hit her stride with at least one goal in the past three series. She had a two-tally performance on Saturday following her Sports Center highlight reel goal the week before. Freshman forward Sydney Healey also had an impressive two-goal weekend and earned the Hockey East rookie of the week award.
The Terriers lost their leader on the blue line last weekend as senior defenseman Nadia Mattivi left the ice on Oct. 29 after a collision with a Merrimack Warrior. She was seen with her right arm in a sling post-game. In terms of a timeline for her return, assistant coach Abby Ostrom said, “hopefully as soon as possible.” With that information, it’s unclear whether the scarlet and white will have their captain on the bench on Friday.
Providence is some top-tier conference competition and BU will have to dig deep to pull out their best game and string together some wins here. The Terriers have the talent to beat groups like the Friars, but it’s all about sticking to structure, cohesivity, attention to detail and effort that will push them over the edge. This series presents BU with an opportunity to cultivate confidence and believability as their November schedule gets harder.
Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. on Friday, and the Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage of this weekend and all things Terrier hockey so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.