By: Ty Oringer
BOSTON PROPER — Boston University vs. Boston College – the time has arrived. Perhaps the most exciting rivalry in all of college hockey is upon us, and for Coach Brian Durocher and the Boston University women’s hockey team, the two-game series this weekend against the Eagles will be crucial if the Terriers (6-7-2, 3-5-2 Hockey East) can notch good performances. Friday’s game will take place in Chestnut Hill, while Saturday’s game will be back home at Walter Brown Arena.
Not only is No. 2 ranked Boston College (12-1-2, 6-0-2 Hockey East) one of the best teams in the nation, but they are the Terriers’ crosstown rivals. A solid outing against a team of BC’s caliber could prove to be a pivotal point for Boston University. And if the Terriers take advantage of the opportunities given to them, and the play well-rounded hockey led by their seniors, Durocher knows his unit can succeed.
After taking a close, tough loss against the best team in the nation, the University of Wisconsin, on November 25, BU confidently beat a sputtering Brown team on November 28, 6-4. Senior forwards Rebecca Leslie and Victoria Bach each notched two goals, along with two scores by freshman forward Jesse Compher. But now, the task at hand is to continue on the momentum from the Terriers last game.
“It’s one of those storied rivalries. I know the kids get a little bit ramped up, and in a funny way, the series has been us playing pretty well over there and them playing pretty darn in [Walter Brown Arena] – so we’ll see how it shakes out in the next two days,” Coach Durocher said after Thursday’s final practice before the games.
Boston College, the second best team in the country, obviously has some talent of their own. The Eagles average a Hockey East-leading 4.62 goals-per-game and allow just 2.38 goals-per-game. As a well-rounded team, Durocher knows BU has its hands full, but believes the Terriers are more than capable at completing the task at hand.
“They’ve got a pair in Caitrin Lonergan and Daryl Watts that are fantastic players. Katie Burt has been real consistent throughout her career there. I also think they’re a team playing with a bit of a chip on their shoulder because they lost three great players that are all with the Olympic team,” Durocher said.
Despite the rivalry, Durocher classily will give credit where credit is due. Even without the Olympic-caliber players, BC will be no easy match, as shown by the Eagles’ 12-1-2 record.
“I think that each individual kid hikes up their shorts a little bit better and competes a little bit harder and they’re letting people know they could still score goals and still defend and be a wonderful team with the people there,” Durocher added.
Surprisingly the Terriers have been somewhat off at home, compiling a 3-4-1 record, quite uncharacteristic of a Durocher-coached team.
Despite the slow start at the beginning of the season, the Terriers seem to be clicking.
“We’ve started real slow with league play, but gotten a couple of wins in Vermont, which has moved us in the right direction,” Durocher said. “But you still have to get some wins against the Northeasterns or BCs – whoever is going to be at the top.”
Fifteen games into the season, Durocher has pointed to the seniors as being the poignant identity of this team – specifically Bach and Leslie, who have 31 and 27 points, respectively.
“The immediate identify of the team is Rebecca Leslie and Victoria Bach – obviously because they’re great players,” Durocher said. “A new identity that’s been showing up a little is [goalie] Corrine Schroeder. You’re also getting solid play from the freshman.”
In order to beat BC, however, Durocher acknowledged that he needs his second wave of offensive players to impact games more.
“If I picked one thing that I would like to see become a little more of an identity – it is the second wave of offensive players,” Durocher said. “That’s anyone from Deziray De Sousa, to Nara Elia, to [Kristina] Schuler, to [Jesse] Compher, to Nina Rogers,” Durocher said. “They just need to relax and complete the task. I’m not one that’s screaming and yelling at anyone – they have enough of a track record at BU, so that’s the identity I hope to be involved here.”
Durocher knows this weekend series can determine A LOT going forward for the Terriers.
“We’ve really played well over the past nine or ten games, but we want to keep taking strides to see if we can first get to .500 and then start doing a little more damage in league play. Coming up with a win or two this weekend would certainly help establish that.”