On Friday night, the Boston University women’s hockey team (6-12-0, 5-9-0 Hockey East) fell short to the University of Maine Black Bears (11-10-0, 8-6-0 HE) at home to extend their goalless streak to three straight games. Mid-November showed some promise for the Terriers with impressive wins over a ranked Vermont team on the road and a sweep of UConn, but their dominant victories have since been replaced with an inexplicable inability to score.
The Terriers’ trip out West seemed to snap the momentum they momentarily held onto, and their Friday night loss to the Black Bears was their third straight game with no goals to show. Graduate goaltender Andrea Brändli made 25 saves throughout the Friday night contest, but two goals from freshman forward Lilli Welcke and a tally from sophomore Alyssa Wruble secured the 3-0 victory for the visitors.
In honor of the BU Athletics Hall of Fame induction on Friday night, the teams honored Terrier hockey and Team Canada legend Marie-Philip Poulin with a ceremonial puck drop. Team Canada’s “Captain Clutch” spent four years on Comm Ave, and is an icon in the women’s hockey world.
Saturday’s matinee saw another slow start for a Terrier team that struggles to communicate. Maine applied solid pressure through the opening frame, and senior captain Nadia Mattivi recorded her group’s first shot on goal after seven minutes of play. While BU saw some chances thanks to individual efforts from junior Catherine Foulem and senior Julia Nearis, the goalless streak continued through the first 20 minutes.
“The good thing is that there were a couple of goals tonight to break the streak,” Head Coach Brian Durocher said postgame. “The bad news is it’s not another game tomorrow.”
In a period riddled with special teams, Maine broke the ice first with a short-handed goal. A tripping call on senior Ida Kuoppala sent the Black Bears down a player, but their four-person squad was still able to knock one past Terrier goaltender Callie Shanahan. Sophomore Alyssa Wruble skated in two-on-three alongside linemate Mira Seregély and dished the puck across the crease for a tap-in goal and the lead.
“As far as puck movement, [the special teams were] fine, it just would have been nice to finish,” Durocher continued.
After taking the lead, Maine got another close chance on the breakaway, but Shanahan made two big stops to keep the Maine lead at one, including a rebound from the top of the crease. Towards the end of the period, BU sophomore Christina Vote skated to the box for goaltender interference giving Maine another chance to capitalize. Seregély added another point to her score sheet as she and junior Elise Morphy got the puck to freshman Luisa Welcke at Shanahan’s doorstep for a 2-0 lead heading into the locker room.
The second period featured some missed passes and self-inflicted trips, but the Terriers finally broke the goalless streak at 2:58 of the period. Assistant captain Madison Cardaci finally found a way to the back of the net for BU as she broke up a clearing attempt by Maine goalie Jorden Mattison and wrapped the puck around the net to cut the Maine lead in half.
Head coach Brian Durocher has split time in net between Shanahan and Brändli so far this season. Despite having fewer years of NCAA experience, Shanahan showed up for her team on Saturday. Throughout the second period Shanahan put up nine saves including two minutes of continued five-on-four pressure during an interference call on Mattivi.
“I give her a lot of credit,” Durocher said of the netminder. “She’s been a very solid, very good system going along.”
A back-and-forth third period proved productive for Maine’s first line again, when Luisa Welcke collected her second point of the night. As BU looked to clear their zone, the freshman forward picked graduate defender Alex Allan’s pocket and got the perfect shot from between the circles for a 3-1 lead.
Three minutes after the Welcke goal, Julia Nearis got her first point since the UConn series. A shot by senior Haylee Blinkhonr bounced off of Mattison’s right pad, and Nearis was there to pick up the remains for a 3-2 score.
Through the final minutes of play the Terriers turned on the jets for an impressive end of the game, but they fell just short by one goal. A dominating power play and a breakaway opportunity from Foulem weren’t enough to get through Mattison and the weekend ended with a 3-2 Maine sweep.
Despite the loss, the Terriers found a way to score again and showed coherent team resiliency towards the end of the game. BU will next face Holy Cross December 9 at home for Mental Health night before heading into the break. Be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog for continued updates.