By Akshai Wadhwani October 6, 2017
BOSTON, MA — There are days when you put everything forward and still come up short. Friday evening was one of those days for the Boston University women’s ice hockey team, who saw their valiant, first-rate effort ultimately come up fruitless as they conceded in overtime to Northeastern, 3-2, at Walter Brown Arena. The result marks the Terriers’ second straight home loss to start their season.
It did not take long for Northeastern to win the game in the extra period. The visitors broke through after just under two and a half minutes of overtime, with sophomore Matti Hartman seeing her excellent play throughout the game rewarded with the sudden-death goal. The Husky forward controlled a pass from freshman teammate Veronika Pettey before unleashing a laser of a shot from the top of the far face-off circle that nestled in the bottom left side of the net.
Thus, BU came away empty-handed from a game in which they displayed determined offense and staunch defense. The Terriers effectively utilized a high number of cross-ice passes to threaten the Northeastern goal, and moved the puck around the ice beautifully throughout the game. Additionally, they protected their own goal courageously, notching 26 blocked shots over the course of the game.
The host Terriers initially took a 2-0 lead before allowing the Huskies three unanswered goals. Scoring opened with less than two minutes remaining in the opening frame. In the midst of a power play, junior defenseman Reagan Rust unleashed a shot off a setup from Abby Stanley that was saved by Northeastern goaltender Brittany Bugalski. The puck rebounded into the path of freshman center Kristina Schuler, who found the net from close range to give BU a 1-0 advantage with her first ever collegiate goal.
Schuler was involved once again when the Terriers doubled their lead in the latter half of the second period. During another power play, she delivered a cross-ice pass from the right face-off circle, which found fellow freshman Nara Elia in the slot. Elia made no mistake in front of net and BU gained a 2-0 lead off the back of two first-ever career goals from freshmen. Stanley also grabbed her second assist of the game, claiming the pass that put Schuler in position for her assist.
The Terriers’ two-goal lead lasted all of 19 seconds before the Huskies halved the deficit. In a scramble to the clear the puck from their own right circle, BU instead gave it away to Husky winger Kasidy Anderson; the junior put a low slap shot through Terrier goaltender Erin O’Neil to bring the visitors back into the game.
Northeastern then launched an offensive onslaught in the last five minutes of the second period, peppering the BU goal with numerous shots. They saw their efforts prove successful with one and a half minutes remaining, when forward Taytum Clairmont brought the Huskies even. Receiving a pass from Anderson, Clairmont fired a shot from the wide right that made its way through a crowd of bodies and into the net for the game-tying score.
The Terriers were unable to retake the lead in the third period, despite having several clear chances. Rust delivered two excellent shots that produced equally impressive saves from Northeastern’s Bugalski, while Jesse Compher saw her long range attempt miss the goal by mere inches. The period yielded a dramatic finish when, in the last ten seconds, BU produced a brilliantly worked offense move that ended in a shot from Mary Grace Kelley destined for the top right corner. The Huskies’ Bugalski, however, made the save and held onto the puck, leaving the Terrier fans wanting after 60 minutes.
There were also some standout individual performances among the hosts. O’Neil, the BU goaltender, was stellar in net, making 32 saves. Her most impressive came midway through the first period when two Northeastern players got clear in behind the Terrier defense, forcing O’Neil to make an incredible diving stop across her goal to prevent the Huskies from scoring.
Speaking after the game, BU head coach Brian Durocher spoke highly of the senior net minder.
“You’ve got to have goaltending. So far, we’ve had that from Erin O’Neil,” Durocher said. “She’s certainly hungry to have a top season…I’m happy that she’s come out of the gate playing well. We need her to continue to do that down the road.”
Schuler finished the game with a goal and an assist to her name, as well as three shots on goal. Compher, a fellow first-year, was untouchable in the face-off circle, winning 12 of 15 draws. Senior left winger Nina Rodgers was involved in many of the Terriers’ offensive maneuvers, linking up with her teammates through several intricate passes.
Cumulatively, the Terriers finished with 24 shots on net and a pair of goals for their efforts. They won 34 of 57 face-offs during the game, for a 0.596 FOW percentage. BU improved from their last game in the penalty department, earning just two offenses after being slapped with five last week against Merrimack.
Northeastern posted 35 shots on net, converting on three of them. Bulgaski played a large part in the Husky victory, bolstering Northeastern with 22 saves to keep the Terriers at bay. Other standout players for the Huskies were goalscorer Anderson — who also had an assist and five shots on target — and game-winning-goal scorer Hartman, who notched six shots on target and won four face-offs.
Coach Durocher spoke positively about BU’s performance despite the loss.
“Today we competed. Today we played hard…we didn’t back down,” he commented. “It’s frustrating…when you play hard, you get pretty good defense, you get good goaltending, you score a couple of power play goals, a lot of good things went on, but you still come up one short. That’s where we’ve got to keep our composure, keep our work ethic, and look at the good things that happened today.”
Next Up: The Terriers will have the chance to exact immediate vengeance across town, as they face Northeastern again—this time away—on Saturday at 2 P.M.