By: Patrick Donnelly
Coming off a season-opening win at Union, the Boston University Terriers (1-0-0, 0-0-0 WHEA) will return to the ice this Friday night as they square off against the Merrimack College Warriors (2-2-0, 0-0-0 WHEA) in what will be the first Hockey East matchup of the season for both squads.
“I think every game matters for sure, but the first one [in Hockey East] is huge, especially at home with a lot of our families in attendance,” senior captain Natasza Tarnowski said of trying to start the team’s Hockey East schedule on the right foot. “We’re definitely focused on this one right now.”
The Terriers will be raising the 2019 Beanpot championship banner in a ceremony before puck-drop with some members of the 1981 team, the only other team to claim the Beanpot in team history, in attendance for the festivities as well. Mary Grace Kelley and former captain Reagan Rust, who both graduated after last season, will also be on hand.
“We’re definitely super proud of it, but that’s last year–the focus has shifted to this year and most importantly this game,” Tarnowski continued, describing the mood in the locker room in anticipation of raising the banner Friday evening. “It’s definitely going to be an amazing moment to see, though.”
For Tarnowski, personally, the senior will get to see all of her and the team’s hard work produce another material result as she will relive last year’s Beanpot run once again tomorrow.
“It’s amazing, honestly. ‘Hard work pays off’ has always been my motto, and to see this team’s culture buy into that and all of our work pay off is awesome,” the reliable center went on. “It’s great for the younger girls to see, too, because they can see how we achieved that. So, now that they’re part of the team they can achieve it as well.”
In her second year as one of three skaters wearing a ‘C’ on her sweater, Tarnowski acknowledges that she is always trying to learn and grow as a leader.
“Since my freshman year, I’ve had the chance to be around amazing leaders and grow every year as well. I think we also have amazing leaders in our class who don’t wear letters, so we all learn from each other, too.”
Brian Durocher, who is in his 15th season as head coach of the Terriers, will also be seeing all the work he’s put in over the years manifest during tomorrow’s pre-game celebration.
“It’s great. [The Beanpot’s] been a real kryptonite for us over the years,” Durocher recalled. “We could never get over that hurdle, but I felt so great for the team because they did it with long odds.”
“It was really exciting and I’m happy for these kids because it could have been anyone else along the way to earn this distinction, but they got it done. It’ll be fun to have some of the ’81 kids here to bookend the moment.”
Durocher also knows that, although getting the win last Sunday was most important, there is still plenty the team can work on heading into this contest.
“The focus and attention has been good out on the ice at practice this week,” the bench boss continued. “The attention is on just getting better. Everyone knows that it was nice to get the win last week, but there were some times where we hit a bit of a wall.”
“We want to make sure that our calling card is our toughness and our intensity, and we want to see that on display tomorrow night.”
Junior netminder Corinne Schroeder, who saved 22 of 23 shots during Sunday’s win at Union will get the start in net. Third-year center Jesse Compher is not expected to suit up for the second-straight game as she continues to nurse a “nagging” lower-body injury, but Durocher stressed the precautionary nature of his staff’s decision on whether or not to play Compher.
“[The injury has] got some element of precaution and some element of uncertainty,” Durocher said. “The doctors are doing their thing and we’re certainly listening to Jess to see how she feels.”
“Some of it is we’re in the second game of the year, and there’s a big difference between games in February and March compared to October. We want to make sure that we’re taking our time, making sure she’s kept safe, and not rushing things.”
Puck-drop is slated for 7:00 pm, but the banner raising ceremony may delay the action a little bit. Fans can enjoy free admission as well as a free phone wallet and free rally towel as part of a BU Athletics promotion. You can catch myself and Daniel Multz on the radio call for WTBU Sports, which you can listen to through Mixlr here.