By: David Souza
With four crucial games left in the 2015-2016 regular season, the Boston University Terriers (17-11-2, 14-4-2 HE) are set to do battle with the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (10-19-1, 7-13-0 HE) in a home and home series this weekend. The Terriers last squared off with UNH on November 1st in Durham, New Hampshire where Sammy Davis led a third period comeback to give BU the 5-3 lead.
BU is coming off of a Beanpot tournament that saw them suffer two heartbreaking losses, one to the Northeastern Huskies and most recently to the Harvard Crimson, 3-2 and 5-3 respectively. In those games BU relied heavily on its second line to drive most of its scoring. With Rebecca Russo getting the Terriers on the board first against Northeastern, the senior became second on the team in goals with 13.
Maddie Elia returned to her early season offensive form with a two-goal performance against the Crimson. Elia tallied her two markers within the first five minutes of the game, with the second coming just 2 minutes and 58 seconds after the first.
Rounding out the second unit is Rebecca Leslie, the team leader in points. Her team best 31 assists is tied for best in the conference and puts her at 5th in the country. Leslie has been far and away the Terriers most consistent player, registering at least one point in nine out of BU’s last ten games.
Coach Brian Durocher will give the nod to Erin O’Neil in net for the first game, though the 11th year head coach often switches between the sophomore and junior Victoria Hanson during weekend series. O’Neil, who has had the lion’s share of starts this season, currently owns a 2.91 goals-against average as well as a .901 save percentage. Hanson’s numbers are a tad higher as, in her 11 games played, the Stoughton, Mass native has crafted an .890 SV % to go with her 3.12 GAA.
Opposing the Terriers will be the 5th place Wildcats of UNH. Leading the way for the blue and white is junior Joanna Curtis. The Elk River, Minnesota native is far and away the biggest scoring threat for New Hampshire as she leads Hilary Witt’s squad in goals, assists, and points (14g, 15a, 29 pts.). Though Curtis has been held scoreless for the past two games, she is not far removed from her three-point night against Maine on January 23rd.
The game will again be special for BU’s Alexis Crossley, a former member of the Wildcats. Crossley transferred to Boston University before the beginning of last season after a coaching change at UNH prompted her departure. Tomorrow’s game will be the first time that the Wildcats come to Walter Brown to play their former teammate before Crossley and the Terriers venture up to Durham to round out the weekend at the Whittemore Center.
While the net minder position for UNH has been a revolving door, as four Wildcats have made an appearance between the pipes, it looks as if freshman Kyra Smith will get the start. The Pomfret School product has been the starter for 21 of UNH’s 30 games and has registered a 2.72 GAA in that time. Her .895 SV% is the highest of the four goalies on the team as she has only allowed 55 goals on 523 shots.
If the Terriers are to lock up second place in Hockey East, they will need to win out for the rest of the season – along with having the Huskies lose their three remaining contests. The quest for the second seed begins with winning two games this weekend over a lackluster, but potentially dangerous Wildcat squad.
Puck drops at 3 PM on both Saturday and Sunday, first at BU’s Walter Brown Arena followed by a trip up I-95 to the Whittemore Center.