By Brian Foisy
The Boston University women’s hockey team (11-17-3, 9-13-3 Hockey East) will close out their regular season with a home and home series against the No.5 Northeastern University Huskies (28-2-1, 22-2-1 HE) this weekend.
This Friday’s matchup will be the last regular season game at Walter Brown Arena for Coach Brian Durocher, who announced his retirement Wednesday afternoon. In Durocher’s 18-year run as the first and only coach of BU’s women’s hockey, his teams have gone 32-28-9 against the Northeastern Huskies.
Northeastern is hot this week after winning their team’s 18th Beanpot title, the most of any team in the tournament.
The Terriers, who lost to the Huskies 4-1 in the first round of the Beanpot, secured a third-place finish in the tournament after beating Harvard 7-4, the team’s highest goal total this season.
Northeastern is the cream of the crop in Hockey East this year but the Terriers have the potential to play spoiler in this final weekend of regular season action. Since a loss to Holy Cross in January, BU has only dropped two games and have four wins and three shootout victories.
And despite those two losses having come in the two weeks, against Northeastern in the Beanpot and a Chilifest loss to Boston College at home, the Terriers feel they are still rolling.
“To me, the streak is continuing,” Durocher said following the Terriers’ loss to BC last weekend. “We’re continuing to play well, continuing to play hard, continually smart.”
That momentum Durocher talked about could only have been built up more following their win in the Beanpot consolation game where they overwhelmed the Crimson.
Look for goalie Andrea Brändli to continue her hot streak of great play. Brändli has been the bedrock of the team on defense, not only from her high save percentage and low GAA but also as a communicator and team leader.
Brändli will be coming into this weekend series on one-game rest, sophomore goalie Callie Shanahan started in net for the Terriers in their Beanpot victory Tuesday in her first start since getting pulled against Northeastern in January.
A point emphasized by players and Durocher throughout this run was that each player was buying into the team’s success, goals were coming from different players each game. This was no different in the Beanpot consolation game where six different Terriers scored to give BU the win.
The Terriers’ offensive production was the story of their Beanpot win, look for that high-level offense to continue.
With all this optimism comes the reality that the Huskies are the toughest matchup in Hockey East, and the Terriers have been bested by them twice this season.
However, last Tuesday’s loss to the Huskies is a case where the box score doesn’t tell the whole story.
With the Terriers’ defense as a whole and Brändli’s 41 saves, Northeastern’s total was limited to four goals. Freshman forward Brooke Disher also turned in a goal against one of the best netiminders in the country.
In a matchup that Northeastern could have very easily won by double digits, the Terriers gave them a game.
The series presents an opportunity for the Terriers to close out this year with an exclamation point on the late season turnaround. It also presents an opportunity for two wins to honor Durocher and BU’s seniors, who will be recognized at Friday’s Senior Night game.
Puck drop for both games is scheduled for 7pm and the Boston Hockey Blog will have full coverage so follow along on Instagram (@boston.hockey.blog) and Twitter (@BOShockeyblog) for both games.