By: Dave Souza
The Boston University Terriers are set to do battle with the sixth ranked Northeastern Huskies both Friday at 7 P.M. at BU’s Walter Brown Arena and Saturday at 3 P.M. at Matthews Arena.
Prior to their last home game, the Terriers (19-11-2) will honor their eight graduating seniors as the contest will be their last regular season matchup of their collegiate careers. The conference battle comes at a crucial point for both teams, as BU needs to win both Friday and Saturday if they are to secure the second seed for the Hockey East Playoffs. The Huskies (25-6-1) can lock up second place with a win or a tie on either day.
Both teams have twice faced off this season, with Northeastern emerging victorious both times. The Terriers opened up conference play this season against the Huskies with a painful 7-1 drubbing in late October. Recently, BU almost rallied back from a 3-1 deficit in the Beanpot semifinals against the black and red, only to have their last minute bid denied by freshman net minder Brittany Bugalski.
In both games against the Huskies, BU has been led by the likes of their second line. The triad of Rebecca Leslie, Rebecca Russo, and Maddie Elia have accounted for half of the scarlet and white’s 8 total points against Northeastern.
Elia, who notched four points in last weekend’s sweep of New Hampshire, has been on a tear as of late recording 7 points in her last three games. She is flanked by the two Rebecca’s who have been arguably the most consistent players for BU. Leslie leads the team in points with 43 and has only been held off the score sheet once since the turn of the new year. Russo, playing in her final regular season game at Walter Brown, has had her best season as a senior, totaling a career high in goals, assists, and points thus far (15-20-35). The three are also the only forwards on the team with double-digit +/- numbers.
Erin O’Neil will once again get the start in net for the Brian Durocher’s squad this Friday. After higher numbers at the beginning of the year, O’Neil has settled down and has clawed her way to a 2.92 goals-against average and a .901 save percentage, nearly identical to her tally from last year.
The Terriers will certainly have their hands full with Patty Kazmaier hopeful Kendall Coyne opposing them this weekend. Coyne, a U.S Olympian, was instrumental in her team’s opening round win over BU in this year’s Beanpot.
Coyne continuously flip-flops with Boston College forward Alex Carpenter for the nation’s top scorer and potted two goals last time these team’s squared off including the game winner in the third period. The senior from Palos Heights, Illinois also registered two assists in NU’s 7-1 win over the Terriers at Matthews Arena.
After wrestling the starting job away from the thought-to-be heir Sarah Foss, Bugalski has backstopped the Huskies to one of their best seasons in recent memory. The rookie net minder has gone 18-5-1 and has posted a miniscule 2.04 GAA in that time frame. Her 575 saves also gave rise to a save percentage of .923.
Get to Walter Brown early on Friday as the annual Chili Fest contest between the five BU dining halls is set to begin at 6 P.M. Following a pregame ceremony to celebrate the final games of eight BU seniors, the dogfight will commence at 7 P.M.