By Akshai Wadhwani October 7, 2017
BOSTON, MA — After hosting Northeastern in a crushing 3-2 overtime loss at Walter Brown Arena on Friday, the Boston University women’s ice hockey team were again bested by the Huskies on Saturday afternoon, 6-3, in the latter half of a home-and-home series.
The Terriers (0-3) made the short road trip over to Matthews Arena looking to bite back after Matti Hartman’s goal in early overtime gave Northeastern the sudden-death win on BU’s ice. Saturday’s hosts had other ideas, however, and emerged victorious in a back-and-forth game that eventually finished 6-3. The result improves the Huskies to 2-1-1 overall, with a perfect 2-0 conference record. The Terriers, meanwhile, are still in search of a win in Hockey East play.
BU was again the ones to open the scoring, this time early on in the first period. In an almost identical fashion to their first goal on Friday evening, the Terriers struck six minutes into the contest after attacking a rebound to finish from close range.
Center Jesse Compher was responsible for the setup; she unleashed a snap-shot after winning a face-off against Northeastern’s Tori Sullivan. Husky goaltender Brittany Bugalski made the initial save, but the puck rebounded straight to junior Mary Grace Kelley, who finished off the chance from the inside the crease to give the Terriers the lead.
Northeastern then seemed to take control of the game, equalizing five minutes later through another goal from left winger Kasidy Anderson — who also found the net in Friday’s matchup. The Huskies added a pair of unanswered goals in the second period thanks to seniors McKenna Brand and Denisa Krizova.
BU, however, demonstrated steadfast resolve in the face of the 3-1 deficit. They quickly pulled back within one just 32 seconds after the Huskies’ third, through defenseman Savannah Newton. The senior saw her first shot saved by Bugalski, but was able to collect her own rebound, move into space for a second attempt and beat the Northeastern goaltender on her stick side.
The back-and-forth offense continued with the Huskies netting their fourth late in the second period. This time, earlier goal-scorers Brand and Krizova contributed assists, as they set up junior center Sullivan to reinstate the two-goal margin.
The Terriers stayed determined on offense but, in the process, were unable to corral their defense to keep Northeastern at bay. As a result, the Terriers conceded two more in the final frame, although they did manage to pot another goal themselves, as Victoria Bach found net early in the third frame, thanks to a highlight reel goal. The senior center retrieved a loose puck near the blue line, weaved around an NU defenseman, before tucking the puck past an outstretched Bugalski.
The Terriers garnered 30 shots on goal, and defended well during power plays; they allowed Northeastern just one five-on-four goal over the course of eight minutes worth of penalties.
They also overpowered the Huskies in the face-off circle once more, winning 30 of 54 draws for a 0.556 FOW percentage. Compher played a big role in that advantage, winning nine of her 14 face-offs, as did her fellow freshman Kristina Schuler with 11 of 17. Senior center Victoria Bach contributed six shots on net to go with her goal, while Nina Rodgers made herself known on the left wing with the 19th assist of her BU career.
Goaltenders at both ends of the ice had another prolific day. The Terriers’ Erin O’Neil recorded 34 saves, marking her third-straight game with 30-plus stops. Northeastern’s Brittany Bugalski made 27 denials, for a total of 49 over the two-game series with BU. That marks a massive improvement for the Huskies’ junior net minder, after she made just six saves while conceding four goals in thirty minutes against Clarkson earlier in the season.
Back-to-back losses to Northeastern means that the Terriers are still waiting to find winning form this season. After opening their 2017-18 campaign with a 2-2 tie in an exhibition game with Concordia University, BU has dropped three straight games —including two at home.
The Terriers are losing out to their opponents in shots on net, averaging 28.7 against 35.7 from opposition. However, they have displayed impressive defense in five-on-four situations, allowing opposing teams a low power-play conversion rate of 0.273, while posting 0.333 themselves. BU could look to build off of that advantage, as well as a 0.541 FOW percentage, in order to gain momentum.
Next Up: The Terriers will have a break of almost two weeks before they return to action on Friday, October 20, facing University of Maine on the road.