By: Akshai Wadhwani October 22, 2017
BOSTON, MA — The Boston University women’s ice hockey team broke their winless streak in style on Sunday afternoon, putting six past UConn for its first victory of the 2017-18 campaign.
Coming out on top in a highly eventful game, the Terriers finally put an end to their four-game losing streak in Hockey East play, defeating the Huskies, 6-2. They are now 1-4 overall, with home and away records of 1-2 and 0-2, respectively. In ending their losing streak, BU elongated that of its opponents; the Huskies remain winless in the Hockey East at 0-2-1.
The Terriers started the game a far cry from the way they would finish it, conceding the opening goal after less than seven minutes. UConn’s Catherine Crawley received a pass from teammate Rebecca Lindblad, then fired a midrange shot from the right side that found the top left corner of the BU goal.
The Terriers, however, responded brilliantly. A flurry of shots from BU was highlighted by Naria Elia’s long-range attempt halfway through the period. Her shot skimmed low over the ice, and missed the right-hand post by about an inch. Elia found her luck more potent some 30 seconds later.
After Terrier center Victoria Bach skated the entire length of the ice with the puck before shooting on UConn’s Annie Belanger. The goaltender made the initial save, but Elia pounced on the rebound in the crease to even the score at one.
BU doubled their lead a few minutes later, striking with 8:28 left in the first period. With the Terriers shorthanded, Rebecca Leslie created a two-on-one with Bach alongside her. Making her way to the right side of the goal, Leslie drew the UConn defender to her before sending a cross-ice pass to Bach, who slotted home her third goal of the season and 47th of her collegiate career.
BU continued to ramp up the pressure entering the second period, forcing an impressive double save from Belanger four minutes into the frame. The Huskies, however, were the ones who found the net — against the run of play — with 13:01 on the clock.
Forward Leah Lum took a square pass from Briana Colangelo, and unleashed a rocket from the left of the central face-off circle that beat BU goaltender Corinne Schroeder high, nestling just under the crossbar and over the shoulder of the freshman goalie.
From there on out, scoring was one-way in favor of the Terriers. The 2-2 deadlock lasted less than two minutes, as a scramble in front of the visitors’ goal ended with Leslie forcing the puck over the line. The tally was helped on its way in by a deflection off Husky defenseman Theresa Knutson’s skate.
UConn did have a notable chance to bring the scoreline even again towards the end of the second period, when a laser from Lum ringed off the pipe. Other than that, the traffic flowed solely in the direction of the Huskies’ net.
A second goal from Leslie in the third period doubled BU’s lead, before Nina Rodgers posted her first goal of the season. The senior forward received the puck from Natasza Tarnowski, set herself, then launched a slapshot from the high slot, which barely gave UConn’s Belanger time to react as it flew into the top right corner.
“I was a little bit tired, it was the end of my shift,” Rodgers admitted when describing the play. “So I was like, ‘just get a shot on net,’ and I just pulled it up, and then it happened to go bar down.”
The Terriers finalized the 6-2 scoreline with two and a half minutes left in the third frame. Leslie was again the goalscorer, completing her hat trick with a shot from a few feet beyond the crease off a pass from Bach. The goal was BU’s third power-play strike of the game.
The Terriers finished with 42 shots on goal, holding the Huskies to 28. Leslie contributed 10 of those 42, followed by Mary Grace Kelley with six. Centers Bach and Kristina Schuler combined for 18 out of 39 face-offs won, with Bach also notching four shots of her own. Net minder Corinne Schroeder made 26 saves in her debut for BU.
Head coach Brian Durocher pointed to an all-around team effort as the root of the Terriers’ success.
“The team, I think, locked down much better than they have in any one game this year,” he said. “And it wasn’t one person, it wasn’t two people, it was everybody who had to contribute.”
On the other hand, Durocher also did not shy away from acknowledging some standout individual performances; he praised seniors Leslie and Bach as “unquestioned leaders” with “tremendous talent”, and also identified strong play from defensemen Abby Stanley and Katie Shanahan, as well as Schroeder.
Bach, the assistant captain of the Terriers, echoed Durocher’s sentiments regarding the team effort.
“After the last game against Maine [a 4-2 loss] I think we, as a team, really came together,” Bach commented. “We just really wanted to push the level. We know that we are capable of getting a win like that, so we just wanted to come out there and play our hardest. I think we all really stuck together as a team today, and that’s what made us so successful.”
Next Up: The rival Eagles of Boston College will arrive at Walter Brown Arena next Saturday, as the Terriers take on BC in Hockey East play. Opening face-off will be at 3 p.m.