By: David Souza
Earlier this season, the Boston University Terriers ended 2015 on a high note with a 6-0 shutout of the Providence College Friars. Since that point BU (14-9-2) have gone a lackluster 1-2-1 while the Friars (8-15-1) have equaled them with a mediocre 3-4-1. The two squads will attempt to right the ship as they square off for four crucial points in a home-and-home series.
“It’s huge for us to basically win out. We really would like to be in that top two, even three seeds [for the Hockey East Playoffs…] so that’s got to be our focus, picking up four points every weekend we can,” said Erin O’Neil, who picked up her first career shutout against PC on December 6th.
In their last meeting down at Providence’s Schneider Arena, the Terriers were lead by their first line as Victoria Bach and Sarah Lefort both registered two goals apiece. In total, the first trio netted seven of the team’s 16 points on the night. Look for the first line to once again be a major part of the scoring threat for BU as the larger ice space at Agganis Arena, where the first of the two games will be played, will benefit the Terrier’s faster players like Bach, Lefort, and Rebecca Leslie.
Though the scarlet and white are coming off of a game in which they lost handily to a stout Quinnipiac team by a score of 6-1, O’Neil, a sophomore who is slated to get the start in net at least once this weekend, is not worried about her or her team’s ability to bounce back.
“I took yesterday and today to go over film with my goalie coach, now it’s a new weekend, and a new game. It’s incredibly important [to have a short memory] especially on these stretches like we are right now, as we’re playing five games in nine days. Every day is a new day and even within the game its important to have a short memory when you’re working hard every shift, and every shot,” said O’Neil.
Providence sits in 7th place in Hockey East with only nine points, but has been playing good hockey since the start of the New Year. Averaging over two goals per game, the Friars will look to sophomore Brooke Boquist to get the offense going. While Boquist is only third for PC in points, the Thunder Bay, Ontario product does lead her team in goals with 11, just three behind Bach, BU’s top scorer.
In December the Terriers were able to score six goals on just 27 shots against the Friars’ Madison Myers. The 5’7” freshman has gotten the lion’s share of the starts for the black and white and has posted respectable numbers with a 3.15 goals-against-average and a .878 save percentage.
A true X-factor for this weekend will be how the Friars hold up against the Terrier power play. BU has converted on 18 of their 82 power play chances, a conversion percentage of .207. While Providence has a comparable man-advantage unit that converts at a rate of .175, it is their penalty kill that is the team’s Achilles Heel. In 112 power play opportunities, PC has allowed 25 goals, 2nd worst in Hockey East and only trailing Merrimack in their first year as a varsity program by one goal.
With the Terriers on the hunt for four crucial conference points this weekend, expect them to be on the top of their game after having two uninspiring contests in their past three match-ups. Puck drops at Agganis Arena at 3 p.m. on Saturday and at 2 p.m. on Sunday in Rhode Island.