By: Jarett Leonard
Following a disappointing result in the 39th annual Women’s Beanpot tournament, the Boston University women’s hockey team will now focus its attention on a critical Hockey East series with the University of New Hampshire this weekend.
Both teams are tied for fourth place in the Hockey East standings with Providence, with the top four teams at the end of the regular season earning home-ice advantage in the first round of the conference tournament.
BU topped UNH 5-1 in the teams’ only other meeting this season all the way back in October. Senior Maddie Elia gave the Terriers the lead just 1:34 in, and after junior Carlee Toews evened the score late in the first, BU got the next four goals to run away with the win. Freshman Natasza Tarnowski scored her first career goal and what was the eventual game winner early in the middle frame while senior Samantha Sutherland scored twice and Victoria Bach added a goal as well.
While the Wilcats have a sub-.500 overall record to this point, they have scratched out a 9-9-2 mark in Hockey East play to claw their way into a tie for fourth in the conference. Last weekend, however, UNH escaped Gutterson Fieldhouse with just one point in a weekend series with Vermont. In the first game, the Wildcats fell behind 3-1 before freshman Hannah Touzos and senior Jonna Curtis each scored within 1:20 to tie the game. The following day, Vermont scored the first three goals in a 3-1 victory despite being outshot by UNH 38-12.
UNH is anchored by Curtis, who leads the team with 32 points on 17 goals and 15 assists. In net, sophomores Hilary Cashin and Kyra Smith have split time, with Cashin having the better numbers, including a 10-6-1 record with a 2.54 goals against average and .907 save percentage. Each started a game last weekend but both were pulled early in the game. Cashin allowed two goals on eight shots and was replaced late in the first period Friday while Smith lasted about 28 minutes Saturday and surrendered three goals on just seven shots.
The Terriers enter the game on the heels of a wild 6-6 tie with Harvard in the Beanpot consolation game on Tuesday. The teams traded goal for goal with the Crimson erasing five BU leads and tying the contest one final time with 1:01 left in the third period. Elia recorded two goals and added an assist that marked her 100th career point while graduate student Mary Parker collected two goals and an assist of her own against her former team.
Both teams have two conference games remaining after this weekend, as BU will host Northeastern and Maine next weekend while UNH will travel to Connecticut for a two-game series. The Terriers have a small chance to clinch a top-four seed this weekend but will need to sweep UNH and hope Providence falls in both of its road games at Vermont and Merrimack.
Puck drop at the Whittemore Center in Durham, New Hampshire is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday, and the Terriers will return to Walter Brown Arena to host the Wildcats on Saturday at 3 p.m.