The Boston University women’s hockey team (7-15-0, 6-12-0 Hockey East) will finally get a chance to play on home ice for the first time since Dec. 9 in a midweek match up with conference opponent, the No. 13 Providence College Friars (17-8-1, 12-6-1 HE).
Since their last game at Walter Brown, the Terriers have dropped all three games they’ve played –– including one at Fenway Park –– in a disheartening start to the second half of their season. Getting back on the ice at home might be just what this team needs to right the ship.
With the recent adjustments to the Hockey East playoffs, there is some comfort in knowing that the Terriers have already clinched a spot in the post-regular season competition, and if the playoffs started today, the scarlet and white would be facing the Friars on their home ice for a chance to continue their season.
Despite that, the Terriers lack of offensive production and near collapse in the defensive zone have held them to only six wins in 18 games played so far. The Terriers 19 points total have them slotted in seventh place of the ten teams, while first place and nationally ranked Northeastern has a total of 52 points, with only two losses on the year.
The stats only support the Terriers’ streak more, with BU averaging 25 shots per game to their opponents 34 and more than two minutes of time in the box compared to their competitors. BU did have a brief moment of hope in November where they beat then No. 13 Vermont in overtime and swept No. 12 UConn in a home-and-home, so maybe increased pressure from ranked opponents on home ice will jumpstart a team that clearly needs help.
The veteran core leads the way in terms of production for BU, with forwards Julia Nearis and Lacey Martin at the top with 15 and 13 points, respectively, while senior defenseman and captain Nadia Mattivi has 11. The three seem to carry this team on their back, consistently putting up shots and making plays for their group.
Martin appears to be the most frustrated of all, producing 3.3 shots per game for a total of 74 on the season. Also worth noting is the Terriers +/- so far, with only one player, sophomore Kylie Roberts, above zero with a +1 rating.
On the back end the Terriers have graduate transfer Andrea Brändli in net, who appears to have earned the starting position. In 15 games she has a 2.31 goals against average and a .932 save percentage to sophomore Callie Shanahan’s 3.11 and .907.
Brändli transferred from Ohio State where she won a National Championship and played on the world’s biggest stage in the 2022 Beijing Olympics as a member of Team Switzerland, yet something clearly isn’t clicking for her on the BU ice as the Terriers continue to struggle.
The Friars are coming into Tuesday’s game with a win over Merrimack, but before that were dealt three straight losses, including two shutouts, from the Catamounts. The Friars swept the Terriers the last time they met in early November with one game pushed into overtime and will look to complete their season sweep today.
Graduate forward Sara Hjalmarsson carries her group with 15 goals and 13 assists for a total of 28 points, 11 more than the second-highest point producer, freshman Reichen Kirchmair who has 17 (10g, 7a). The Friars are getting goals from up and down their lineup however, with contributions from grad students, freshmen and everyone in between.
Between the pipes for PC is grad student Sandra Abstreiter who has started in 26 games this season. Abstreiter is tied for second in the league for goals against with 1.62 and an impressive save percentage of .936, only second to Northeastern’s Gwyneth Philips.
In a game against a really tough opponent, the Terriers will have to work hard in both zones to keep up with the Friars’ 30 shots a game. BU will have to put up a competitive 60-minutes if they want to end their last regular-season meeting with the Friars victorious.
Puck drop is set for 7:00pm at Walter Brown Arena, and we’ll have full coverage on Twitter @BOShockeyblog and Instagram @boston.hockey.blog.