Women’s Ice Hockey: 2016 Kicks Off with the Battle of Comm Ave

By: Dave Souza

They say the more things change, the more they stay the same. As the calendar flips to 2016, the Terriers (13-7-1) will host the Eagles (20-0-0) for the 19th time in program history.

In those 18 previous home games, BU is a disappointing 6-10-2, with their last home win coming in the form of a 6-0 victory in 2012. This season, Boston University was crushed by BC 8-1 at home before tragically falling in overtime just three days later in Chestnut Hill.

Both teams haven’t played since early December when the Terriers shutout Providence 6-0 while the Eagles pulverized Syracuse by a score of 7-2. BC currently stands undefeated and is riding a streak of six games in which they have scored at least four goals. Dating back to their 4-2 win over Northeastern on November 20, the Eagles have scored an astronomical 38 goals in just six games.

Leading the way for BC will be, as always, Alex Carpenter. The 2015 Patty Kazmaier Award winner leads both Hockey East and the country with goals in 27 as well as points with 49. Carpenter is coming off of a game against the Orangemen where she scored four goals on just 9 shots.

In net for BC will be Katie Burt, the 5’6” sophomore from Lynn, Massachusetts. Burt boasts a 1.04 goals-against average along with a .954 save percentage. With 17 wins and no losses, Burt is undefeated and has allowed just 17 goals in those games. She also has posted 5 shutouts so far this season.

Opposing the undefeated and top seeded Eagles will be the Terriers of Boston University. After a slow start to the season, the scarlet and white have really come into their own, going 7-1-1 in their last nine contests.

At the head of the pack for the Terriers are sophomores Victoria Bach and Rebecca Leslie. The Canadian duo is fresh off their appearance with Team Canada’s World Junior Team this winter. Bach’s 13 goals are good for the number one spot on the team. That slightly below average number for a team’s top scorer is a testament to both BU’s offensive drop-off from last season as well as their ability to get offense from a myriad of sources.

Leslie is currently fourth in the nation in assists with 22; her play on the second line has been arguably the most consistent this season as her, Rebecca Russo, and Maddie Elia have really driven the Terriers when their top line has failed to produce. That second line has been especially potent against the Eagles as Russo scored twice against BC at Conte Forum this season while Elia has found the back of the net in some of the rivalry’s biggest moments, including the past two Hockey East Championships.

The goaltending question will be the real tough one for Coach Brian Durocher against rival Boston College. While sophomore Erin O’Neil has proven she can be the starter with her 6-0 win over the Friars in early December, the Minnetonka, Minnesota native has struggled against BC in her career on Comm. Ave.

Victoria Hanson finds herself in just the opposite situation. The junior from Stoughton, Massachusetts has been a bit off her game this season, stemming from a 7-1 drubbing at the hands of Northeastern. While it seemed she rediscovered her confidence as the season progressed, Durocher’s decision to go with two goalies has prevented her from creating her own rhythm of sorts. However, against the Eagles, Hanson has been historically good. In three starts against Boston College last season, Hanson has backstopped the Terriers to a one-goal loss, a tie, and a win in the Hockey East Championship; this season she was between the pipes for BU’s narrow overtime loss on November 10th.

No matter who is in net for the Terriers, the game guarantees to be a perfect way to start of 2016 after a year of BC dominance and BU victory.

Puck drop is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Boston University’s Walter Brown Arena and can be heard live on WTBU.

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