By: Patrick Donnelly
DURHAM – The tenth-ranked Boston University Terriers (1-1-1, 0-1-1 WHEA) fell to the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (3-1-1, 2-0-0 WHEA) by a score of 4-2 at the Whittemore Center this afternoon. BU was without star center Jesse Compher for the third-straight game as she continues to nurse a lingering lower-body injury.
“Today was one of those days where we just didn’t seem to have our legs coming out of the gate,” head coach Brian Durocher said following the loss. “When you’re on the road everything has to be a bit better, discipline-wise, and we took penalties that were a long ways from our net, which is kind of a cardinal sin.”
“When you’re taking a hooking, tripping, or checking penalty at the other end of the ice, that’s unnecessary and a lack of discipline. So, all those things snowballed into a real tough first period.”
Discipline and playing smart are both things the 15th-year bench boss of the Terriers will stress ahead of next week’s action.
“I think the easiest thing we can control is the readiness and discipline when it comes to penalties that are a long ways from our net.”
The Terriers took eight total penalties during the contest while the Wildcats were whistled for nine infractions; however, each team only had one conversion a piece on the many advantages.
Senior defender Abby Cook got the scoring started just over five minutes into the game with her first of the season, putting the Terriers up 1-0 on the power play. Redshirt senior captain Sammy Davis collected a feed from Nara Elia before playing pitch and catch with Cook at the point, who wired a one-time bomb passed UNH’s Ava Boutilier.
About 10 minutes later, Meghara McManus evened things up for the Wildcats as she beat Kate Stuart, redirecting Carlee Turner’s pass off the rush. Emily Rickwood also notced an assist on McManus’ third of the season.
In the first half of the second frame, Rickwood and Lauren Martin put the Wildcats up 3-1, scoring just about three minutes apart. Martin’s tally would prove to be the eventual game-winner in what was an extremely awkward play for Stuart as the puck ricocheted off the boards behind her net before bouncing off of her and into the net.
“[Kate Stuart] was probably a little bit unlucky in that two goals hit shin pads and such and one came off the backboard in a weird way before it pinballed off her,” Durocher continued. “Usually pucks don’t come off the backboards like that, but this one did. All of a sudden they get a couple that had a little luck involved.”
The Terriers were able to cut the deficit to one with 4:24 remaining in the middle stanza. Courtney Correia and Elia created havoc in front of Boutilier’s net and Davis was in the right place at the right time to clean up the loose change, recording her third of the season.
“After they get up 3-1, we got right back to 3-2 and they handed us a couple of opportunities,” Durocher continued. “We didn’t take advantage of those in the third, whether it was a 5-on-3 or one of the other power plays.”
“The start just put us behind the eight-ball, and that’s the disappointing side.”
Carlee Turner registered her second point of the afternoon with her third goal of the season, which came about seven minutes into the third. McManus and Rickwood accentuated their strong games as each earned an assist on Turner’s insurance tally.
Stuart made 43 saves in the loss as she was peppered with 47 shots from the Wildcat attack. Boutilier earned the win for UNH, racking up 27 saves on 29 total shots from BU.
“Kate played extremely well and made plenty of big saves,” Durocher went on. “She looked real strong and gave us a chance to have success, but we kept allowing them to get too many chances.”
“When you give up about 50 shots, you probably weren’t on shutdown defense.”
McManus and Turner each had two points on the afternoon for the Wildcats with a goal and an assist apiece, while Rickwood had a three-point effort (1G, 2A). For the Terriers, Davis (1G, 1A) and Elia (2A) each tallied two points.
The Wildcats will look to keep their momentum from this weekend going next week as they move on to visit Vermont on Friday evening before traveling to No. 3 Northeastern on Sunday afternoon. For Durocher and the Terriers, the Hockey East slate continues as they will make the trip to UCONN on Friday evening before turning around for a matinee matchup at Maine on Sunday.
Durocher knows his squad will have to refine its execution in order to move on from a relatively disappointing weekend.
“I think we’ll definitely talk about some things we can control, like the structure of the 5-on-3 hockey. We got a lot of veterans who I kind of counted on to know the general structure, but there are some things we didn’t execute well, like face-offs.”
Featured Image by Gabi Turi