The Boston University women’s hockey team (6-9-0, 5-8-0 Hockey East) rolled the dice this weekend in the first of a two-game series in the Henderson Collegiate Showcase in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Terriers fell just short against the No. 5 Yale University Bulldogs (7-0-0, 5-0-0 ECAC) in the post-Thanksgiving matchup, and will face the winner of the No. 3 University of Minnesota (9-2-2, 9-1-2-2, WCHA) vs No. 12 Penn State (10-7-1, 3-1-0 CHA) game tonight.
The last time the Terriers faced the Bulldogs of New Haven they came up just short in a 3-2 loss in 2021, but prior to that game, they held onto a six game win-streak in a total of eight matches. Yale entered the tournament as the No. 5 team in the country, but had a relatively slow start through the opening 20.
After putting up 38 saves against No. 15 UConn (10-6-2, 6-6-2 HE) last weekend, Graduate goaltender Andrea Brändli earned her 100th career start at the Vegas Silver Night’s facility. Brändli has continued to put up impressive numbers for the scarlet and white so far this season, with a 1.87 goals against average and a .944 save percentage on top of two shutouts. Brändli came to BU after four seasons with the national championship Ohio State Buckeyes and finished her WCHA career with 57 wins, 25 losses, and 7 ties. With only 11 games to play to reach 100 career goals, Brändli was the obvious starter.
In the Bulldog net, sophomore Pia Dukaric started in Yale’s seventh contest of the season to make a solid 26 saves for her group.
The first period saw chances on both sides of the ice, but Yale put up dominant offensive pressure, leading the Terriers with shots 16-2 in the opening 20. Both teams showed their disciplined play with a penalty-less first period, and skated off the ice at a 0-0 tie.
Senior forward Charlotte Welch saw the Bulldog’s best chance of the second frame when she skated in on Brändli alone, but the graduate brick-wall kept the game locked at zero until her blueliners could clear the puck. Neither team saw much success in creating true offensive plays, and the entire second period felt more like a game of “keep away” across the length of the ice.
As was noted earlier in the season, the Terriers would have to be ready for the rebound if they were going to get through Dukaric. While they put up better offense in the second period, the lack of skaters at the crease to knock the puck home seemed to be the difference.
The Terriers put up their best sequence of the period as the clock wound down on the middle frame. A penalty on senior forward Claire Dalton gave the scarlet and white an extra skater at 17:28 of the period where a rocket from senior captain Nadia Mattivi nearly made its way into the net. Assistant captain, junior forward Lacey Martin, was at the crease to shove the puck the extra inch, but unfortunately the play was whistled complete and Dukaric got the save.
BU finished the second period erasing the shots-on-net deficit with a 16-shot period to cap off the 40 minutes of play at 24-18, but the score remained 0-0.
Quickly into the third period both teams went down a player due to matching penalties. Yale’s Gracie Gilkyson and BU’s Jesse DeVito each went to the penalty box, and while Yale played a dominant four-on-four game, the Bulldogs had nothing to show for it.
Later, a two-on-one emerged for the Terriers after 50 minutes to play thanks to sophomore Liv Haag, but the score remained zero-all. Brändli made another big stop on a shot from the circle at 12:23 of the final period to keep the score at zero as the Terriers struggled to create offensive opportunities.
The Bulldogs were ultimately the first to draw blood with just 5:06 to play thanks to first year forward Carina DiAntonio’s shot from the crease. The go-ahead goal for Yale would shift the pace of the game as the Bulldogs doubled their lead just 35 seconds later for a 2-0 finish.
Freshman forward Sydney Healey almost got the equalizer off the rush, but a turnover in the offensive zone led Yale to gain some momentum towards the empty Terrier net. BU’s defensive core kept the score at 2-0 as they took advantage of the extra skater.
The clock wound down and the Bulldogs would take this win on to the championship game. While BU didn’t come out top-dog, the Terriers demonstrated their ability to keep up with the best in the country. After taking down the No. 13 University of Vermont (10–5-1, 8-3-1 HE) and steamrolling UConn, the Terriers seem to be on the come-up after a slow start to their season. They’ll next face either Penn State or Minnesota on Nov 26 at 4p.m. We’ll have continued coverage on twitter @BosHockeyBlog and Instagram @Boston.Hockey.Blog.