By: Max Wolpoff
A three-goal third period performance in front of a raucous crowd for Senior Night was all it took for the #6 Northeastern Huskies to push past the Boston University Terriers and hold on for second place in the Hockey East Playoffs, 6-2. BU will still hold home-ice advantage by virtue of their third place finish.
With the loss, the Terriers finish the regular season at 20-12-2 overall and 17-5-2 in Hockey East (36 points). Northeastern finishes second in the conference with 40 points (20-4-0) and 26-7-1 overall. The Huskies tie the 1987-88 and 1997-98 teams for overall wins in a season, second in the program’s history.
BU was led the entire night by their top line. Starting the game, Sarah Lefort, Victoria Bach, and Kayla Tutino accounted for all the scoring BU had at Matthews Arena. Tutino sprang Bach up-ice with Lefort on a 2-on-1 to set up Lefort’s backhand goal. The goal stood as Lefort’s 91st in her BU career and her 180th point.
Northeastern’s Kendall Coyne led the way in the final regular season game in her home arena. Her 43rd goal of the season tied the game and her 31st assist came in the middle frame on Denisa Krizova’s power play goal. McKenna Brand scored on a breakaway to give the Huskies a lead they would not relinquish.
The top line combined again to make the deficit one at 9:00 into the second. This time on the power play, Lefort found Bach low who then tapped it for Tutino to finish. The goal marked Tutino’s 140th collegiate point as she sits third on BU’s all-time list. Lefort’s assist is her 90th in the Scarlet and White, which also tied her for the program record in points held by Marie-Philip Poulin (181).
For most of the third period, BU continued to apply pressure on Northeastern puck carriers, but increasingly better chances came for the persistent Huskies. Off an attempt to clear the puck deep behind Erin O’Neil, Maddie Hartman’s shot took a deflection from Christina Zalewski before sneaking between O’Neil’s arm and her body. From there, the game was out of reach.
“It was anybody’s game with ten minutes left and all of a sudden a couple quirky ones end up in the back of the net” BU head coach Durocher said.
Kendall Coyne added her 44th goal of the season on a wrap-around and Hayley Scamurra sealed the scoreline with her 14th goal of the year. O’Neil faced 13 of NU’s 28 shots on goal in the third period; she finished the game with 22 saves.
Both the Terriers and Huskies move into “wait-and-see” mode as the patiently await the final results from around the conference. BU will welcome the sixth seed to Walter Brown Arena and Northeastern will host the seventh Seed at Matthews Arena next weekend.
“Good to be playing at home; we’re starting the next season respecting them just like we’d respect any team in the country” Durocher said.
The Terriers will host Vermont for the second straight season in the Hockey East Quarterfinals starting Friday night at 7 p.m.