The Boston University women’s hockey team (3-6-0, 2-5-0 Hockey East) welcomed the No. 12 Providence Friars (8-2-1, 5-1-1 HE) to Walter Brown Arena Friday night. In a matchup where they were severely outmatched, the Terriers were able to squeak out a point, falling 3-2 in overtime.
That lone point can mainly be attributed to the strong play of graduate goaltender Andrea Brändli, stopping 42 of 44 shots faced. Now with a .948 save percentage and a 1.59 goals-against average, Brändli has been responsible for many of the Terriers’ points so far this season.
“Andrea found a way to find most of those pucks. She also grabbed some pucks that looked awful dangerous,” Head Coach Brian Durocher said following the loss. “Being able to find it like that was very, very impressive.”
Despite being outshot 12-3 late in the first period, it would be the Terriers who drew first blood. Junior forward Catherine Foulem burst into the Friars’ zone with great speed, maneuvering through two Providence defenders and burying her chance for a highlight-reel tally.
Even though Providence would exit the first period with 17 shots, they did not generate much in the way of high-danger chances. Brändli made no mistakes and saw her team skate off with a lead after one period.
It would not be until the third period when the Friars finally broke through, delivering two quick strikes to snatch the lead from the Terriers.
“I thought there were sequences in the game when maybe we matched them in quickness and getting around the sheet, but a lot of the game was on the defensive side,” Durocher said.
The Friars found their equalizer on the power-play after a penalty to senior captain Nadia Mattivi. Providence forward Ida Press finished off a solid passing-play and buried her opportunity from the right circle.
“Maybe wish we didn’t open up the third with a penalty,” Durocher said. “That’s one of the hardest things to do is to sort of angle somebody or pin somebody, but not give them too much body or too much momentum.”
Just 1:28 later, the Friars would take the lead. A defensive turnover from Mattivi led to a wide open opportunity in the slot for Noemi Neubauerova, who did not miss.
Just prior to Providence taking the 2-1 lead, junior forward Madison Cardaci came close to giving the Terriers a 2-1 margin of their own. Carcadi rang the crossbar after receiving a feed from Julia Nearis on a two-on-one.
The Cardaci chance brought forth a challenge from the Terriers’ bench after play had been stopped following Providence’s second goal of the period.
“A couple of kids thought it went in because they didn’t hear the post,” Durocher said. “I only thought the puck was being entered in down-low but they said she got good leverage on it.”
Later on though, the Terriers would use the man-advantage to their benefit and find the equalizer. A five-on-three opportunity was presented to the Terriers after two quick penalties by Providence.
Junior forward Lacey Martin buried a wrister from the left circle just seconds into the five-on-three to even the contest with 6:54 remaining in the third period. Martin’s first of the year would be the final action seen in regulation and both sides would prepare for extra hockey.
Midway through overtime, Cardaci would come just short again, this time denied by goaltender Sandra Abstreiter. Cardaci’s chance drew all three Terriers into the zone, allowing for Sara Hjalmarsson to sneak behind the BU defense and finish her breakaway opportunity.
“I would have loved to see [Cardaci] capitalize right at the end there,” said Durocher. “Again, this game in a row playing [forward] with [Nearis] and [Martin], really giving us what I think is establishing themselves as a first line.”
The Friars will host BU on Saturday afternoon in the second match of a home-and-home series down in Providence. As the Terriers continue to search for consistency in their results, they may continue to switch their goaltenders in and out.
“Andrea has done everything she can to play well here and Callie’s got plenty of credibility in our eyes,” Durocher said. “I think we’ll just chat for a little while and figure it out.”
The Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage of Saturday’s matchup so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.