By: Jarett Leonard
Locked in a tight race for a top four spot and home ice advantage in the first round of the Hockey East tournament, the Boston University women’s hockey team will host Northeastern and Maine to conclude its regular season this weekend.
BU currently sits in third place alone in the conference standings after a weekend sweep of New Hampshire with a one point lead over both Providence and Vermont. The Terriers own the head-to-head tiebreak over the Friars but the Catamounts took four of six points against BU this year. While there are a number of scenarios that could play out, as BU could end up anywhere between third and seventh, the Terriers can grab the third seed by winning their two contests this weekend.
Northeastern took both ends of a home and home series in October, capturing a 6-2 win at Matthews Arena before edging BU a week later 4-3 at Walter Brown Arena. Junior Shelby Herrington recorded two goals and junior Ainsley MacMillan, freshman Paige Capistran, junior Denisa Krizova and senior Paige Savage added a goal each for the Huskies while freshman Natasza Tarnowski and graduate student Mary Parker each scored for BU in the first game.
BU fell behind 4-1 and eventually fell short in its comeback attempt the following week. Junior McKenna Brand and sophomore Maddie Hartman gave Northeastern an early advantage, and after senior Maddie Elia got the Terriers on the board, Brand scored again and senior Hayley Scamurra added another to grab a three goal lead. Then junior Victoria Bach kept BU’s hopes alive with a goal late in the second period and another in the final frame, but Northeastern held on for the win.
The Huskies are fresh off a 2-1 win over No. 6 Boston College last Friday at Conte Forum. Herrington and freshman Andrea Renner each tallied a goal while sophomore Brittany Bugalski made 46 saves in goal to backstop the victory, which came just three days after Northeastern fell to BC by the same score in the Beanpot championship game.
Krizova’s 39 points ranks second in Hockey East, behind only Bach’s 42 points for BU. She has 17 goals and 22 assists while Brand leads the team with 23 goals. In goal, Bugalski has started 29 games and has compiled an 18-8-3 record with a 1.92 goals against average, .930 save percentage and three shutouts.
BU split a home and home with its Sunday opponent Maine earlier this season, topping the Black Bears 5-3 on Nov. 5 before falling 4-1 in Orono the following day. Trailing 3-2 entering the third period of the first game, Bach and Parker scored goals 2:08 apart to reverse the deficit, and Bach added an empty netter with a second remaining for good measure.
Parker opened the scoring 13 minutes into the contest the next day, but Maine took control from there. Junior Brooke Stacey tied the game 23 seconds into the second period, and then freshman Tereza Vanisova completed a hat trick within 6:03 of the third period to down the Terriers and earn a split.
Vanisova and Stacey are tied for the team lead with 28 points apiece, as Vanisova has a team-best 16 goals and 12 assists while Stacey has a team-best 13 assists to go along with 15 goals. Freshman Carly Jackson has a 7-15-1 record with a 2.76 goals against average and .913 save percentage in 24 starts in net. She made 41 saves against BU in Maine’s win in November.
Last weekend, the Black Bears scored just two goals over two games but managed a split with Connecticut. Stacey scored both of those goals, accounting for Maine’s only marker the first night before recording the game winner the following day in a 1-0 victory that included 27 saves from Jackson for her first career shutout.
Puck drop against Northeastern on Friday is slated for 7 p.m. while Sunday’s game against Maine will begin at 3 p.m.