By: David Souza
For the second time this season, the Boston University Terriers (13-8-1) will make the four-hour bus ride up to Burlington, Vermont; however, this time they will face off against the Catamounts of the University of Vermont (6-16-1) in a two-game series. Earlier this year, BU made the hike to northern New England where they took on both Cornell University and Ohio State University in the Windjammer Classic at Gutterson Field House. This weekend, they set their sites on the Catamounts and a weekend sweep to right the 2016 ship after a narrow 4-3 loss to top ranked Boston College last week.
In their last meeting the Terriers won convincingly, 5-2, on the back of two goals from junior Maddie Elia. The 5’ 10” center from Buffalo, New York currently is tied for second on the team in goals with 10 and has a total of 15 points. Her line, flanked by Rebecca Leslie and Rebecca Russo, have combined for a total of 65 points, only 5 behind BU’s top line of Victoria Bach, Sarah Lefort, and Kayla Tutino. Scoring wise, the Terriers are among the nation’s best averaging 3.55 goals per game, 7th in the country. Defensively, the scarlet and white have had their issues as they allow an average of 3.09 goals per game, good for 26th in the nation. With this small disparity in offensive to defensive output, BU has often found themselves having to battle through most of their games this season. In order to beat an upstart Vermont team that has won three of their past five games, the Terriers must score early and hold the lead.
Between the pipes for game one will once again be Erin O’Neil. After shuffling back and forth between O’Neil and Victoria Hanson, it appears as if Coach Brian Durocher has finally selected number 31 to be the starter. Her .906 save percentage ranks her within the top 30 goaltenders in the country while her 2.7976 goals-against average puts her at 33rd. O’Neil is fresh off of her two best performances of the season with a shutout against Providence College and a one goal loss against the Eagles. However, with Hanson sporting equal experience and stats of comparable value, expect Durocher to go with the junior on Sunday.
As for the Catamounts, they’ll be led by senior forward Dayna Colang. Colang, the Fairbanks, Alaska native, leads UVM in both goals and points with 10 and 19 respectively. Since returning from winter break, Colang has been on a tear, recording six points in four games, including a two-goal night against Maine last Sunday. Expect her to shoulder the majority of the work as the second Catamount in scoring, Taylor Willard, trails by almost 10 points.
AS both Madison Litchfield and Molly Depew have seen their fair share of time in net, expect both to see some action this weekend. Litchfield currently has appeared in five more games than Depew and boasts a 2.76 goals-against average. Her GAA, coupled with a save percentage in the high 8’s, mirrors that of O’Neil and suggests that her team does not give enough offensive support to bail the junior out. Depew’s numbers, in contrast, are a bit more inflated as the sophomore from Marblehead, MA owns a 3.65 GAA and an .880 save percentage.
While UVM is significantly weaker than they were a year ago when they stunned the Terriers at Walter Brown Arena, they still can pose a threat if BU does not bring their best effort. If Litchfield has a good game and Colang continues her hot streak, the Terriers will have to dig deep to get the win. The keys for BU this weekend will be putting a lot of shots on the shaky Vermont goaltending while turning in some stellar defense of their own.