By: Patrick Donnelly
The No. 8 Boston University Terriers (20-7-8, 16-6-6 WHEA) beat the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (13-16-6, 10-15-3 WHEA) in dominating fashion with a final score of 5-1 to take game one in a best-of-three series in the Women’s Hockey East Tournament.
The energy was high in Walter Brown Arena leading up to game time as sophomore goaltender Corinne Schroeder got the start for the Terriers while senior Kyra Smith was in net for the Wildcats.
The Terriers got on the board early as Nara Elia drove to the net to finish off a forehand-backhand chance to beat Smith for her eighth of the season after Deziray De Sousa started the rush off a UNH turnover in the BU zone.
Not long after, Carlee Turner took a body-checking penalty, sending the Terriers to the power play. Sammy Davis fed Abby Cook, who unleashed a one-timer from the point that Elia tipped passed Smith for her second of the game and ninth of the season to put BU up 2-0.
The Wildcats had some strong shifts of their own in the opening period, highlighted by a bouncing puck from Marie-Jo Pelletier’s point shot that found its way through to the net before hitting the post with Schroeder out of position. However, the Terriers’ 2-0 lead would hold as the two sides went to the first intermission with BU dominating shots on goal 11-3.
The second period saw a lot of action for both sides as the Wildcats had a flurry of solid chances on Schroeder, who looked sharp after not seeing much rubber come her way in the first.
Early in the period, Jesse Compher broke in alone on Smith, who stepped up and made a diving poke-check. The rolling puck was swept over to Davis, who let shot go on the wide-open net from the left face-off circle, but the shot rang the iron. Not long after, De Sousa made a nice hesitation move to pull Smith off her post before she ripped a shot that hit the post again.
After skating almost the entire second without a goal, freshman MacKenna Parker hammered home the feed to her in front to give the Terriers a 3-0 lead for her 12th of the season with just 54 seconds remaining in the middle stanza.
The two teams would head into the dressing rooms at the second intermission with BU still leading 3-0. Although, the Wildcats did show some nice pushback in the second frame; shots on goal were 23-19 in favor of the Terriers, who were outshot 16-12 that period.
Just four minutes and 30 seconds into the third, freshman Courtney Correia was able to send her wrister passed Smith to put the Terriers up 4-0 with her eighth tally of the season.
Just 35 seconds later, Devan Taylor drove to the net and went bar-down to beat Schroeder over the top, cutting the Terriers’ lead to 4-1.
A little over three minutes later, Parker buried her second of the night, her 13th of the season, off a quick shot on a set play off the face-off, giving the Terriers a 5-1 lead.
Kristina Schuler took a slashing penalty about halfway through the final frame, but UNH was not able to convert on the ensuing power play despite some quality scoring chances–highlighted by a one-timer from Marie-Jo Pelletier that got tipped in front before trickling passed Schroeder and wide of the net.
The closing half of the third was status quo for both sides as the Terriers’ 5-1 lead held up through the end of regulation. Schroeder made a total of 25 saves for the Terriers while Smith stopped 34 shots.
Elia spoke highly of the energy in the crowd tonight, especially from the BU Pep Band: “Oh it’s huge. . . we think the band is a huge part of who we are, and they really help create that advantage on home ice.”
Head coach Brian Durocher loved the effort he saw out of his team, but knows there’s work to be done tomorrow: “The initial mindset is real simple: to close it [the series] out tomorrow . . . I don’t think anyone had us pencilled as a team that was going to get there and be in a position to win.”
“We’re going to look to get going and make sure we play with a major purpose tomorrow afternoon,” Durocher continued.
The Terriers had into Game Two tomorrow afternoon looking to sweep the best-of-three series and advance to the Hockey East semifinals in Providence next weekend. The matinee action kicks off at 3:00 PM tomorrow during what looks to be a snowy afternoon in Boston.