By: Max Wolpoff
BOSTON — A shiny new hype video greeted them. With highlights of this season and previous matches at the arena to welcome them back, the Boston University Women’s Hockey team routed the Providence College Friars 5-1 at Agganis Arena.
Rebecca Leslie finished with two goals, Victoria Bach scored her team-leading 15th goal in the second period, and Victoria Hanson stopped 20 of Providence’s 21 shots.
BU (15-9-2, 12-4-2 Hockey East) jumped out to a fast start off Victoria Bach’s offensive zone faceoff win back to Savannah Newton. She slid it over to Alexis Crossley, whose blue-line shot made it past Providence keeper Allie Morse at 3:01 of the first period.
“I think we started out with that chemistry” because they “grew up together and knew each other” Crossley said about her partnership with Newton.
Eight seconds later, in the same way they’ve done all season, Rebecca Leslie connected with Rebecca Russo on a 2-on-1 rush for Russo’s 11th of the year.
Providence (8-16-1, 4-10-1 Hockey East) scored it’s only goal against junior netminder Victoria Hanson just past the half-way point of the the period on the power play. Lexi Romanchuck threw the puck wide of the net, but Cassidy Carels was nearby and corraled the attempt. Her pass to Christina Putigna at the opposite post was hard enough that all Putigna needed was proper stick placement for the tap-in.
Not to be outdone, Maddie Elia won the ensuing faceoff and the Terriers pushed up ice. Russo carried the puck over the line before passing to Elia, who crossed over to the slot. With Leslie driving the glove-side post, Elia hit the her stick and the two goal lead was restored.
Out of the locker room to start the second, the Friars converted their lackluster forecheck into a three-skater attack. Halfway through the period, the strategy halted the BU offensive, but yielded limited offensive chances the other way. BU, by contrast, used this strategy the whole game to great effect.
Kayla Tutino’s forecheck led directly to her behind-the-net pass for Bach’s 15th goal of the season. Within minutes after the goal, Providence reverted back to a limited forecheck.
“A one person forecheck can be troublesome if you do a nice job” head coach Brian Durocher said. “We want F1 to do the job, F2 comes in from the right angle, F3’s still holding the middle and it’s hard to get a lot going. We didn’t let them get too much going.”
On Providence’ third power play of four, they generated no shots on goal, but conceded a shorthanded goal to Leslie to seal the scoreline. It was her third shorthanded goal of the year as well.
“When I’m on the penalty kill, I can read what they’re gonna do” Leslie said. “It’s defense first, but I think that I’ve had a little luck this year.”
It’s not every day that the BU Women’s hockey team plays at Aggains Arena. Their normal home arena, Walter Brown, holds 2,344 less seats than it’s cross-street counterpart. The Women’s game was held here as part of Student Appreciation Day, featuring a variety of prizes for those in attendance.
The ambiance of Aggains gave the team a different feeling than normal. “Maybe someday, if you’re playing here all the time, it would get stale,” but coach Durocher is sure that “the kids enjoy it.”
“We definetly love our rink. Walter Brown is our home” defensemen Savannah Newton said. “Even if we can’t pack the rink,” the newness of Agganis still makes it “amazing” to play in.
The Terriers will finish up their season series with the Friars at 2:00 p.m. tomorrow assuming they can get down to Rhode Island with winter storm Jonas hitting the area today. Per coach Durocher, Erin O’Neil will likely get the start.