By: Brian Lombardo
In a home and home series this week against the Merrimack College Warriors the Boston University Terriers look to pick up four crucial points in Women’s Hockey East play.
The games will have an off-day in between. The opener takes place in North Andover on Thursday evening. The final game will be played on Saturday at 3 p.m. at Walter Brown Arena.
Tale of the Tape
There is only five games left in the season where the Terriers can boost their record within the Hockey East standings. These final games do not include the Beanpot. Meaning, there are only 10 points left up for grabs for Coach Brian Durocher’s squad to gain ground on those ahead of them. In Hockey East the top team eight teams qualify for the postseason. The top four teams host each series and get home ice advantage.
As far as this matchup goes, there is a lot of opportunity for the Terriers to come out of this series with four points. The Warriors are 4-11-2 in Hockey East (9-15-3 overall) which is good enough for 10 points. The Terriers have a three-point cushion over Merrimack (4-10-5 record, 13 points), so picking the extra points and separating themselves from Merrimack would leave them comfortably in 6th place.
Merrimack is a team that hasn’t scored with much ease this season. Their leading scorer Katelyn Rae has 18 goals on the season, their next highest goal scorer has 9. The Warriors also struggle to score on the power play at a 7.2 conversion percentage, and have a rough time killing penalties, allowing teams to score in 25.6 percent of man-advantage chances.
The Terriers have only managed a single win since the new year began. Their record of 1-3-2 with all of the contests being Hockey East matchups. The team will be coming off ties in back-to-back games against Northeastern and UConn. Expect the play to be elevated with a full roster.
Players to Watch
The Terriers will lean on the team’s leading scorer Victoria Bach, the senior who has 28 goals and 19 assists for 47 points in just 23 games. With Bach averaging more than 2.00 points per game, her and fellow senior Rebecca Leslie have been shouldering the load offensively all season. Leslie has posted 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points in 23 games, with 4 of those goals coming on the power play.
Freshman goaltender Corrine Schroeder has made 18 starts on the season, posting a 8-6-4 record with a .917 save percentage. She is most likely going to be the starting goaltender on Thursday after senior goaltender Erin O’Neil received the start in the first matchup with Merrimack College.
Merrimack is faced with a situation in net that was similar to the Terriers situation earlier this season. There hasn’t been a goalie that has played well enough regularly to lock up the starting job, so the Warriors have two goaltenders with more than 10 starts each. The first, Samantha Ridgewell, a junior, has 16 starts on the season (6-9-1 record, 2 shutouts) allowing 2.20 goals per game with a .928 save percentage. The other, Lea-Kristine Demers, a sophomore, has 11 starts on the season posting a 3-6-2 record with a .916 save percentage.