The Boston University women’s hockey team (6-8-0, 5-7-0 Hockey East) secured their first sweep of the season against the No. 12 University of Connecticut Huskies (10-6-2, 6-6-2 HE) following an impressive Friday night victory the day before. With the sweep, the Terriers move on to a three-game winning streak.
In the tight matchup Friday, the Terriers broke through husky goaltender Tia Chan scoring two goals on just 16 shots for their second back-to-back win over a ranked opponent. Terrier graduate netminder Andrea Brandli saved 38 shots on goal from an offensive husky team who has looked good all season and sits fourth in Hockey East play.
Despite taking an early holding call, the Terriers looked disciplined throughout the game, taking just three penalties throughout the matchup. UConn scored their first – and only – goal just over ten minutes into the first frame, when a failed clearing attempt led to a three-on-one for junior forward Jada Habisch. The Buffalo, Minnesota native skated in and opened the scoring with a top-shelf goal from between the circles. Habisch leads her squad with 12 points in 17 games.
Four minutes after the Habisch goal, sophomore forward Christina Vote evened the scoring thanks to some impressive work behind the net by junior linemate Catherine Foulem. A pass from behind Chan’s net got picked up by Foulem who dished it to Vote, standing right at the top of the crease. Foulem and Vote have been two of the Terriers best players all season.
An evenly-matched second period saw just one penalty from freshman blueliner Brooke Disher. While the Terriers need to work on staying out of the box, their three penalties throughout 60 minutes was one of their more-disciplined efforts.
Disher went on to score the game-winner at 7:17 of the second period to send the Terriers on the “Ice Bus” with three points in the Hockey East standings. The rookie’s first of the season came when the Terriers needed it most thanks to a shot from the top of the circle for a 2-1 lead that they would hold on to for the remaining 33 minutes.
Back at Walter Brown on Saturday, the Terriers put up a strong offensive game right from puck drop. Backed by sophomore Callie Shanahan, the Terriers controlled much of the first despite finishing the period tied at one.
“You know, this was probably the most thorough game we played this year from start to finish,” head coach Brian Durocher said postgame. “To get a power play goal, to get an empty net goal… to score five goals are all good signs.”
An early tripping call on BU’s assistant captain Madison Cardaci gave UConn some early chances, but the Terriers were able to shut down all of the Huskies’ looks with a solid penalty kill. At 13:21 of the first, Vote and Foulem added another point to their weekend. A pass from Vote to right-winger Clara Yuhn rebounded into the crease, and Foulem was there to knock it home.
Chan is the Huskies’ normal starter, but after the loss to an unranked opponent UConn opted for sophomore Megan Warrener in net– Warrener made 27 saves throughout the game.
UConn responded quickly with a goal of their own 90 seconds later. Kathryn Stockdale netted one for her group with a goal that mirrored that of Foulem from the crease for a 1-1 tie. While both teams exchanged looks, the first period came to a close with the Terriers on the player-advantage for the final 27 seconds.
The Husky’s undisciplined play created plenty of space for the Terriers to capitalize on. After nearly six minutes of power-play time, senior defenseman Nadia Mattivi added another tally to the score sheet for her group. The captain’s power play goal was her third of the season for seven points total.
Husky Kate Thurman’s one-timer was gloved down by Shanahan, but the senior would then be the skater to tie the game at two. With four Terriers guarding freshman forward Christina Walker, the passing lane to Thurman was wide open leaving her the space to get past Shanahan.
BU showed their resiliency though, with their third goal of the night coming right after UConn’s tying goal. Haylee Blinkhorn scored her first of the season to regain the Terrier lead with just under two minutes to play in the period, sending her squad to the locker room up by one.
“It’s good for her because she works extremely hard and she takes care of a lot of defensive assignments but she’s been a little snake bit offensively,” Durocher said of Blinkhorn’s resiliency. To see her score is great.”
The third period was BU’s undisciplined frame, when the Terriers skated 5-on-3 for 1:12. The one-goal cushion gave BU a bit of wiggle room and space as they killed off the first penalty on junior defender Julia Shaunessy. With 28 seconds left in UConn’s two-player advantage, Husky sophomore Ava Rinker went to the sin bin for cross-checking. After four-on-four hockey, the Terriers had the extra player advantage for over a minute. Despite all of the short-handed play, neither team was able to capitalize.
As the clock wound down, BU showed composure and discipline to the final whistle. Blinkhorn added another late goal in the third and senior forward Julia Nearis topped off the period with an empty-netter for a final 5-2 score. This is the Terriers’ first sweep of the year and showed that when they play disciplined, they’re able to piece together cohesive and dominant victories.
“I think what it reflects on is that the kids can accomplish things and that’s probably the best way I can put it,” the head coach noted. “It reassures the world and let’s people know that.. if they play right, they can get some rewards.”
Be sure to follow along on Twitter @BosHockeyBlog and Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog as the women’s hockey team heads west to Las Vegas for the Henderson Collegiate Hockey Showcase vs Yale on November 25.