BOSTON — Last season, Boston University could not catch a break against Boston College.
In game one of the season series, Sammy Davis scored first, but the Terriers conceded eight straight to lose at Walter Brown Arena. The next day, the Terriers forced overtime, but left Alex Carpenter and Hayley Skarupa on a two-on-one halfway through the extra frame. Until the Frozen Four, BU held the distinction of being the only team to take BC beyond 60 minutes.
The January matchup was the Hayley Skarupa show as she scored all four Eagles’ goals for a 4-3 win on the road. And in the Hockey East Final, the Terriers got nothing going offensively, losing 5-0 to end their season.
This season, after the graduations of Carpenter, Skarupa, Lexi Bender, and now Megan Keller for the Four Nations Cup, BU skates into Conte Forum Friday with a real chance to win.
Boston University @ #4 Boston College, 7 p.m. Friday, Conte Forum
Commentators: Jarrett Leonard and Max Wolpoff
Boston University vs #4 Boston College, 3 p.m. Saturday, Walter Brown Arena
Commentators: Dan Shulman and Max Wolpoff
#4 BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES: 6-2-2, 5-1-0 Hockey East, goals per game: 3.0
The usually-dominant Eagles came out of the gate stumbling. First, it was a tie and a loss in two games against Minnesota-Duluth. They righted the ship for three games, two with Maine and one with New Hampshire, but then dropped a dud against Maine, conceding the winning goal to Vendula Pribylova with 37 seconds to go in regulation.
Boston College comes into this weekend, however, on a three-game winning streak, with a win over Quinnipiac and two over Connecticut. For the Connecticut series, the Eagles were without Megan Keller, who is busy representing the United States at the Four Nations Cup in Finland.
Unlike last year where the Terriers lost Sarah Lefort for the first game of the BC series and got her back in-time for the second, the Bronze and Gold Medal games are scheduled for this Saturday, the same day as the rematch.
Keller and Makenna Newkirk, the reigning Hockey East Rookie of the Year, are tied with seven points on the season. The Eagles are led offensively by freshman Caitrin Lonergan, with 11 points, out of Roslindale, Mass. Lonergan starred on the 2015 US U18 team that won Gold at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships, garnering four assists and a 45-for-60 record in faceoffs over five games. In every Eagles win this season, Lonergan has gotten at least one point.
Junior goaltender Katie Burt, in addition to a .923 save percentage and a 1.70 goals-against average, has two assists on the year.
The Eagles have held opponents to four power play goals on 49 chances, an efficiency rating of .918 percent. On the power play, they are clicking at .319 percent efficiency. They take an average of 5.5 penalties a game, compared to BU’s 7.1.
BOSTON UNIVERSITY TERRIERS: 3-3-1, 2-3-0 Hockey East, goals per game: 3.9
The Terriers were spared losing a player to either Canada or the US for the Four Nations Cup, as both nations opted to staff their teams largely with players from the professional ranks of the NWHL and Canadian Women’s Hockey League.
However, the two most prominent choices on the Canadian side — Victoria Bach and Rebecca Leslie — have underperformed this season. Three of Bach’s nine points came as assists in the 7-2 trouncing of Penn State; Leslie has yet to score a goal through seven games. On the upside, Bach tallied twice in the comeback effort against Northeastern last week.
In the series against Northeastern, the Terriers found themselves shorthanded for 19 minutes and 43 seconds over the two games while taking 19 penalties. In that time, they gave up two power play goals, one in each game.
More troubling for head coach Brian Durocher are the two shorthanded goals surrendered in the second game against the Huskies. BU led the NCAA in shorthanded goals last season with eleven. They have zero this season.
Questions remain unanswered in the blue paint for BU. Erin O’Neil and Victoria Hanson have not made the decision of starting goaltender any easier. Neither played exceptionally against Northeastern, nor has either made a clear-cut case to be the No. 1 starter in the team’s three wins.
Hanson let in two high goals against Providence, and got beat low to her stick side against Penn State. O’Neil did not handle a shot to her glove, and the net-crashing of Carlee Toews made her pay by potting home the loose puck against New Hampshire.
The last time the Terriers defeated Boston College in the regular season came back on October 5, 2012 with goals from Shannon Stoneburgh, Jordan Juron, two from Sarah Lefort, and a 29 save night from Kerrin Sperry. Since then, BU has tied BC twice and lost 10 times in regular season play.