By: Max Wolpoff
14 weeks ago, the Boston University Terriers stood on the blue line listening to the national anthem before skating against the UConn Huskies. In that game — and in more games to follow — BU fell behind, conceding the first goal to Brittany Berisoff past the midway point of the second period. Freshman Sammy Davis scored her first point of seven in October to tie it and Rebecca Russo, with 0.3 seconds remaining to play, veered the game to a regulation finish with a buzzer-beating goal.
BU sits at 13-7-1 with a 10-3-1 mark in Hockey East, good enough for 21 points and second in the conference. Of their seven losses, two came against unfamiliar out-of-conference opponents (Penn State, Cornell), two in succession to a strong Clarkson team, two were blowouts at the hands of Beanpot opponents (Northeastern, Boston College), and the other came in overtime on the road at Chestnut Hill after a third period comeback.
In six games this season, the Terriers needed the third period to break a tie or claim the lead. Despite those numbers, BU scores the plurality of their goals in the first period with 27; middle frame goals sit at 23 and the last 20 minutes have seen 25.
Though Victoria Hanson began the year as the number one choice, head coach Brian Durocher continues to swap her and Erin O’Neil like he did most of last season before settling on Hanson. O’Neil is the goalie of 11 decisions this year, 8-2-1, while Hanson has nine decisions to her name (4-5-0).
Last year, the starting job looked up for grabs until the season-ending series against BC. The Eagles pegged five goals on O’Neil at Conte Forum before Hanson stopped 34 out of 36 to tie the #1 ranked team in the country two days later before starting Hockey East tournament play. O’Neil started the last four games before the semester break, going 3-0-1 in that span. The Minnetonka, Minnesota native is in control of her destiny between the pipes.
Davis has dropped off since her torrid start earned her Hockey East Rookie of the Month for October, with only three goals since Halloween and none in December. Fortunately for BU’s offense, Russo and linemate Rebecca Leslie dominated the team’s score sheet once Maddie Elia moved to center on the second line. Victoria Bach, who switched places with Elia on the roster, found her offensive spark in late November and carried the flame into December. She entered semester break with back-to-back three point games to accompany her four game point streak (6 G, 5 A). Milton, Ontario’s own leads fellow Canadian and linemate Leslie in BU scoring on tie-breaker as both have the same amount of points (27) while Bach has more goals (13 against Leslie’s five).
Barring a possible meetup with Harvard in the Beanpot final, the Terriers’ only opponent from outside Hockey East is #4 Quinnipiac. The season series against Boston College — again, excluding the potential Beanpot matchup — is the first order of business. Not to say it is smooth sailing afterward, but the only opponent in the future that BU has lost to previously this season is Northeastern. The Terriers and Huskies do not meet in a regular season game until the last weekend of the season, February 19th and 20th, but will faceoff in the Beanpot semi-final on the 2nd.
BU ended the semester with an exclamation point; it is up to the team to ensure the same fate come conference tournament time.