By: Jarett Leonard
Just two weeks after a crucial sweep of New Hampshire that vaulted the Boston University women’s hockey team into third place in the conference standings, the Terriers will host the Wildcats in a Hockey East quarterfinal series this weekend at Walter Brown Arena.
BU followed its two victories over UNH with convincing wins over Northeastern and Maine last weekend to seal the third seed and home ice advantage in the playoffs. The Terriers finished the regular season on a five game unbeaten streak, including four straight wins, to escape from the pack and earn the third seed.
Beginning with a win in October and concluding with the two-game sweep in February, BU took all three games of the season series from UNH this year.
On Oct. 7, freshman Natasza Tarnowksi broke a 1-1 tie with her first career goal, which turned out to be the game winner in a 5-1 victory. Senior Maddie Elia scored just 1:23 into the game, and while junior Carlee Toews tied it late in the first period, the Terriers backed up Tarnowski’s goal with a tally from junior Victoria Bach and two from senior Samantha Sutherland.
Later in the season, BU escaped the Whittemore Center with a 4-3 win on Feb. 10. With UNH leading 3-2 in the second period, Tarnowksi and Sutherland scored within two minutes of each other to reverse the one goal deficit. Freshman Abby Cook opened the scoring 1:32 into the contest, and after junior Amy Schlagel tied it on the power play, junior Rebecca Leslie answered to restore the lead. Then, sophomore Marie-Jo Pelletier and freshman Meghara McManus gave UNH the lead with early goals in the second before BU staged a comeback.
The following day, two third period goals from Bach and Elia helped BU run away from UNH, 5-2. Bach got BU on the board 90 seconds in, and Schlagel evened the score late in the first before goals from Leslie and senior Alexis Crossley gave the Terriers a 3-1 lead. Pelletier got the Wildcats within one late in the second, but the third period goals sealed the win for BU.
The two late season contests featured senior Victoria Hanson and sophomore Hilary Cashin in net, which will likely be the matchup this weekend. Hanson has a 13-7-4 record with a 2.31 goals against average and .930 save percentage and has surrendered only seven goals over BU’s current four game winning streak. Cashin enters the game at 12-8-1 with 2.54 goals against average and .907 save percentage, but she allowed 8 goals in her two starts against the Terriers.
BU still boasts the league’s top two scorers in Bach with 47 points and graduate student Mary Parker with 41 points. Parker is also tied for the conference lead with Northeastern’s McKenna Brand at 23 goals. Senior Jonna Curtis, who is fourth in Hockey East with 20 goals and 39 points, anchors the UNH offense.
The Terriers will look to continue recent success in the Hockey East tournament, as BU has advanced to the semifinal round nine consecutive years and has appeared in five straight title games. BU won four straight conference championships from 2012 to 2015.
Game one is slated to begin at 7 p.m. on Friday while the second game will start at 3 p.m. on Saturday. If necessary, Sunday’s game three is also scheduled for 3 p.m.