By Brian Foisy
The Boston University women’s hockey team (10-15-2, 9-12-2, Hockey East) is looking to build on a late-season turnaround with Friday’s matchup against No. 15 University of Connecticut (16-10-3, 10-9-3 HE).
After three losses at the beginning of the month, the Terriers haven’t dropped a contest through five games, including two wins against ranked opponents in Providence and Vermont.
A big factor in this turnaround has been freshman defenseman Brooke Disher, who was just recently named Hockey East Defender of the Week. Disher is on a four-game point streak right now, with one goal and five assists in that stretch.
Disher made the big-play to close out BU’s matchup against Vermont last weekend, intercepting a UVM pass early in the overtime period before sending it off to senior forward Julia Nearis who netted the game-winner.
Senior goalie Andrea Brändli – who is in the top 20 for GAA in D-1 Women’s Hockey this season – has gone up a level, giving the Terriers consistency in net through this streak. In the last two weeks Brändli has a 96.3% save percentage and 1.0 GAA compared to 93.8% and 2.05 for the season.
After BU’s win against Vermont last week, head coach Brian Durocher spoke about how Brändli’s defense impacts the team as a whole. “You get something that looks like a stressful situation, all of a sudden she just clamps on a puck or controls a rebound and everybody gets a face off,” Durocher said. “You can get fresh legs out there and it goes a long, long way.”
Connecticut has been one of the few teams that BU has consistently played well against, sweeping a home-and-home series against UConn back in November.
Disher and Brändli came up big in a tight 2-1 victory in the first game of that series, with Brändli making 38 saves and Disher scoring her first collegiate goal to win the game. In the second game, the Terriers’ goaltending made the difference again, with UConn putting up 27 shots but only being rewarded with two goals.
UConn enters Friday’s matchup having dropped their last two games, including a tight 4-5 loss against the University of Maine and a 3-0 shutout at the hands of University of New Hampshire. These new-look Terriers of the latter part of January beat both those teams near the beginning of this current winning streak.
Despite recent troubles, UConn has been one of the better teams in Hockey East this season. Much of that success is due to the goaltending of junior Tia Chan, arguably the second best goalie in the conference behind Northeastern’s Gwyneth Phillips. Chan has a 1.63 GAA this season and four shutouts.
Another major contributor to UConn’s success this season is junior forward Jada Habisch, who leads the team in goals with 11.
A win Friday against UConn would further solidify the ‘comeback’ the Terriers have had near the end of this season. It would also help build more momentum heading into a Beanpot matchup against No.5 Northeastern on Tuesday.
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.