Game Previews, Women's Hockey

Women’s hockey heads to Vegas for Thanksgiving showcase

Photo by Caroline Fernandez

The Boston University women’s hockey team (6-8-0, 5-7-0 Hockey East) is headed to Las Vegas this Thanksgiving for the Henderson Collegiate Hockey Showcase. They’ll take on the Yale University Bulldogs (6-0-0, 4-0-0 ECAC) on Friday –– depending on the results of the first games, the Terriers will either face Penn State (10-7-1, 3-1-0 CHA) or the University of Minnesota (9-2-2, 9-1-2 WCHA) the following day. 

BU is entering the weekend on a three-game win streak, most recently sweeping the University of Connecticut (10-6-2, 6-6-2 HE) at Walter Brown Arena last Saturday. After a rocky start to the 2022-2023 campaign, the Terriers have been playing with more cohesivity and raised their compete level throughout the lineup. Their gritty series against UConn proved what the group is capable of when everyone is bought-in for the full 60 minutes. 

Senior forward Julia Nearis tops her squad with 14 points (6g, 8a), and her consistency thus far has been one of the Terriers’ biggest strengths. Assistant captain and junior forward Lacey Martin has also been a stand-out leader and has garnered 11 points (3g, 8a) as her opportunistic style of play has begun to trickle down to the rest of the bench. 

The Terriers have found stability on the backend with defenders like freshman Brooke Disher and senior captain Nadia Mattivi. The duo raked in the Hockey East awards on Monday with Disher earning rookie of the week and Mattivi defender of the week. Both defenseman had two-point weekends against UConn and will be an important part of the Terrier game plan against Yale. 

Head coach Brian Durocher has continued to split his goaltenders between the two-game series, and both sophomore Callie Shanahan and graduate student Andrea Brändli have been giving their group a chance to win while they’re in the crease. 

Shanahan has hit her groove the past two weeks, gaining confidence between the pipes with her first two wins of the season. She made 25 saves on Saturday to secure the sweep for the Terriers. Brändli has also been solid and brings a veteran experience that has been useful for BU. She usually gets the nod for the opening Friday games, but with a different format this weekend, we’ll see if Durocher feels the need to adjust. 

The scarlet and white have a tall task at hand to deal the Bulldogs their first loss of the year as they’re now on a six game roll. Yale shutout Penn State 3-0 last Friday before completing the sweep on Saturday. BU has more than double the games played, but will have to execute a detail-oriented performance to slow head coach Mark Bolding’s team down. 

Sophomore forward Anna Bargman and freshman forward Jordan Ray both lead the Bulldogs with eight points a piece (4g, 4a). Bargman has a goal in four of the five last games, while Ray has collected at least a point in all six of Yale’s contests thus far. They’ll be two players the Terriers will have to keep an eye on and tightly cover. 

In terms of goaltending, sophomore Pia Dukaric has started every game this season and will most likely claim the net against BU. She has pitched two shutouts this season and boasts a .969 save percentage and .82 goals-against-average –– Dukaric has only let five past her coming into this weekend. The Terriers will have to work hard down low and jump on rebounds to get on the scoreboard. 

The Henderson Collegiate Hockey Showcase is a great opportunity for BU to elevate their game and get tested against top-tier programs outside of Hockey East. They’ve built more of an identity for themselves in recent weeks and will have to put their all on the ice to find success in Vegas. 

The puck will drop at 4:00pm at Lifeguard Arena on Friday. The Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage of the game so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.

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