By: Ty Oringer
BOSTON — It has been an uncharacteristic year for Coach Brian Durocher and the Boston University women’s hockey team. The tough times continued over the weekend after the Terriers (7-12-4, 3-9-3 Hockey East) fell in both contests, 4-1 (Saturday) and 3-2 (Sunday), to the University of Maine Black Bears (14-6-3, 8-3-2 Hockey East) at Walter Brown Arena.
Maine has won their last three games and have excelled in Hockey East thus far in the season. Durocher has noticed the strong international presence of his team’s weekend opponent, and praised the Black Bear players and coaches.
“They have made a huge gain with international kids on their team. Those seven or eight players have really changed the complexion of that team,” Durocher said. “They have an outstanding goaltender, and Alyson Matteau is an outstanding defenseman.”
Sophomore forward Tereza Vanisova tormented the Terriers for Maine, scoring three goals in the two match-ups.
“Vanisova is an all-star forward – she’s one of the top 4 or 5 forwards in this league,” Durocher commented.
The Saturday matinee matchup simply proved to be a blowout for the Terriers. Without senior leaders Victoria Bach and Rebecca Leslie, who are currently in Germany to compete for Canada in the 2018 Nations Cup, BU looked overpowered by a surging Maine team.
The Black Bears scored three early goals in the first period and stifled the Terriers until a late power-play goal by Deziray De Sousa in the third. Durocher acknowledged the poor performance of his team in the first game of the series.
“I thought the real disappointing part was the first period. We obviously were a little bit afraid and a little bit nervous, but I will say that we showed some life in the second and third period.”
The Terriers were outshot 36-23 and struggled mightily to keep up with Maine in the early parts of the game. However, the second game proved to be much more competitive and left Durocher proud of his players.
The improvement was obvious in Sunday’s contest, and the lopsided shot differential shrunk greatly from game one. BU was able to get off 26 shots and allowed just 27 in game two, also drawing four penalties as opposed to the mere two they forced in game one.
“[Sunday] was a big step forward. We competed, played hard and played with very little fear at all. I commend everybody for playing a good game,” Durocher said. “We had a couple of funny goals against us, which is unfortunate, but I was pleased with a lot of things.”
Deziray De Sousa, Jesse Compher and Nara Elia all impressed Durocher despite the 3-2 loss. With Bach and Leslie out, the Terriers needed to make up for their absence with the younger players.
“De Sousa, Compher and Elia played together as a line here, and really played well,” Durocher said. “Their size is a real advantage and I thought Dez and Nara in particular played really quick and I thought Jess was our best forward both days on the ice.”
As a coach who has rarely struggled in conference play, this territory is somewhat unfamiliar. Despite this, Durocher remains confident in the Terriers and believes his team can make a serious run heading into the playoffs.
“We have to tack a few wins together and play well on the road. I compliment everybody for keeping the demeanor and energy up all year,” Durocher said. “We’ve got to stay on the positive, I can see good things happening. If we get straightened out health-wise and get some people back – anything can happen.”