The Boston University women’s hockey team (6-12-0, 5-9-0 Hockey East) will take on the Holy Cross Crusaders (2-17-1, 1-13-0 HE) for one game at Walter Brown Arena this weekend before the two groups meet again on Jan. 6 for Frozen Fenway.
Holy Cross hasn’t won a contest in regulation since Oct. 8 and is currently on a 12-game slide. Most recently, the Crusaders were swept by Boston College –– they put up a good fight on Friday, pushing it to overtime, but ultimately didn’t collect any tallies for the win column that weekend.
It was a similar storyline last season in the teams’ first series. Holy Cross had yet to secure a conference win and had dropped the last ten of 11 games before securing their first win over the Terriers since 1999 in a 2-0 final score on Nov. 11. BU was able to split the series with a 3-1 response the following night.
While the Crusaders have had little statistical success thus far, that’s no reason for the Terriers to take Friday’s competition lightly. BU is also in a slump here, losing their last four games and getting shutout in three of them. The lack of offensive production from the scarlet and white has been detrimental to building momentum in tight games and is something they need to figure out come this second-half stretch.
Junior forward Saarela Bryn leads Holy Cross with nine points (4g, 5a) and senior forward Mary Edmonds is right behind her with seven (4g, 3a). The Crusaders are also a low-scoring group, averaging 1.1 goals-per-game to the Terriers’ 2.1 –– however in the past two weekends, BU has averaged a low 0.5 goals.
Between the pipes, junior goaltender Madison Beck has been the starter for Holy Cross. She played both games against BC last weekend and has garnered a .922 save percentage and 2.7 goals-against-average this season. Beck will likely get the nod on Friday.
In terms of team stats, things have stayed pretty consistent for BU. Senior forward Julia Nearis and junior forward Lacey Martin continue to steer their squad with points on the scoresheet and effort on the ice. Madison Cardaci has broken out the past couple weeks and has really grown into her leadership role this year –– the junior defenseman had a goal on Saturday against Maine.
Graduate student Andrea Brändli and sophomore Callie Shanahan are still splitting the net every series. However, with only one game with the Crusaders, Head Coach Brian Durocher will have to make a tough decision. His choice in the crease on Friday will perhaps point to the goaltender who may earn the starter position for the rest of the year.
While it’s nice to lean on Brändli’s veteran status and still develop Shanahan’s young game, I think some consistency in net is important especially for a team who is trying to get back to a cohesive style of hockey.
This game against Holy Cross is winnable. When the Terriers play like they did the second-half of the third period in Saturday’s matchup, they’re hard to contain. The group knows how to create chances and has the skill players to make a difference –– tomorrow’s key will be focusing on a full team effort and a less individualistic mentality.
The Boston Hockey Blog will have coverage of all BU hockey this weekend so be sure to follow along on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.