By: Akshai Wadhwani October 20, 2017
BOSTON, MA — The start of the 2017-18 season continues to be woeful for the Boston University women’s ice hockey team, with their latest result a 4-2 defeat at Maine.
The Terriers are now 0-4 in the Hockey East, making them the only team in their division with zero points on the board. They have allowed 15 goals in their first four games while scoring eight; their opponents are averaging 35.5 shots per game.
Those stats were heavily reflected after the first thirty minutes of Friday afternoon’s fixture. Maine scored three unanswered goals — two in the first period, one eight minutes into the second — and looked to be well in control of the game.
BU, however, began sparking a comeback. About halfway through the second frame, Terrier winger Nara Elia picked up the puck off of a face-off win by fellow freshman Kristina Schuler. She swiftly skateed towards the net and unleashed a quick-fire wrist shot that beat Black Bears’ goaltender Carly Jackson to make it 3-1.
BU carried its momentum into the third period, pulling another back just over seven minutes in. The goal again started with Schuler winning a faceoff; this time, the puck made its way to senior forward Victoria Bach, who left four Maine defensemen in the dust before launching a close-range shot into the top shelf of the hosts’ goal.
Unfortunately, the Terriers fell victim to a Black Bear lucky bounce in the dying seconds of the game. With less than a minute remaining in the third period, a face-off between Bach and Maine’s Vendula Pribylova saw the puck fall at the stick of Black Bear defenseman Alyson Matteau. Having pulled goaltender Erin O’Neil for an extra attacker, BU was left helpless as Matteau slotted the puck into an empty net for her second goal of the game.
As has been the case with their other games this season, the Terriers were not without positives. Bach and Schuler have now combined for goals in multiple games, and look to be a formidable partnership going forward. Though the latter was less dominant than usual in face-offs — winning seven of 13 contests — her counterpart Jesse Compher emphatically stepped up, winning 11 of 19. The Terriers, in Schuler and Compher, have two promising freshman centers who have already proven themselves in the face-off circle.
Goaltender O’Neill, as usual, continues to be outstanding in net; the senior made 31 saves in Friday’s game.
The crux for BU, therefore, appears to be defensive stability. With those aforementioned 15 goals conceded – an average of 3.75 per game – the Terriers’ goal protection needs to be more solid as the season progresses. Juniors Connor Galway and Reagan Rust, along with senior Savannah Newton, will have a big role to play in making that happen; as the starting defensemen for BU — and the only upperclassman defenders on the team — they look to be the ones who will guide the Terriers’ defensive effort in the future.
Next Up: The Terriers get a day’s rest before returning to Walter Brown Arena for a matchup with UConn on Sunday. Opening face-off will be at 3 P.M.