By: Patrick Donnelly
PROVIDENCE – The No. 10 Boston University Terriers (6-3-1, 3-3-1 HEAW) took down the Providence College Friars (4-5-2, 2-3-0 HEAW) by a final score of 2-1 on Saturday afternoon.
“It’s real big [to get back in the win column],” head coach Brian Durocher said after the win. “You don’t wanna go to a situation where you lose three games in a row. You always want to get league points and wins that will help you down the road.”
The game was choppy from the start as the two sides were unable to get into a good flow to the game between stoppages, penalties, and video reviews. The Terriers and Friars were still able to trade chances as they tested the two goaltenders early on, with Sandra Abstreiter making some real nice saves for the Friars off of tips in front while Corinne Schroeder stopped all 13 shots she faced in the opening frame.
After one period of play, the game remained scoreless as the Friars seemed to have the better “Grade-A” chances; however, PC could not capitalize as several shots were off target, either going high or wide of Schroeder.
About midway through the second period, with the Terriers on the prowl in the offensive-zone, freshman defender Nadia Mattivi took a pass from Sammy Davis and sent a cross-ice feed to a wide-open Julia Nearis, who corralled the puck and sent a wrister passed Abstreiter to open the scoring. The goal came as Nearis’ fifth of the season while Mattivi picked up her first collegiate point with the helper.
The Friars answered just about four minutes into the third, though, as Neve Van Pelt redirected a shot from the point off the stick of Bailey Burton to even things at one apiece. Whitney Dove picked up the secondary assist on Van Pelt’s second of the year.
Nearis came up with the dagger 1:06 later on a one-timer that beat Abstreider as Nara Elia found her in the slot on the power play. The redshirt senior captain Davis earned the other helper on Nearis’ eventual game-winner and team-leading sixth of the season.
The new-look first line of Davis, who leads the team in points (11), Jesse Compher and Nearis combined for four points on the afternoon between Nearis’ two tallies and Davis’ two assists. Although Compher did not earn a point, she was still one of the catalysts for her line nonetheless.
“[The first line] did a real nice job and they gave themselves opportunities,” Durocher noted. “They’re three real strong players, so it was nice to have the three of them looking real good today.”
BU would go on the defense after the freshman’s second of the afternoon as they were able to successfully kill off four penalties in the remaining moments of the third, surviving a late push from PC.
In a weirdly-paced game, the two sides combined for 11 penalties, with PC earning two major penalties, which led to plenty of stoppages and video reviews. To add to that, the Friars were forced into a shorter bench as injuries mounted, causing another skater to leave the game on top of the two that were ejected because of the majors, meanwhile Hayley Lunny seemed played hurt for PC during most of the third.
“[The game] was very choppy because of penalties, I don’t think we played very smart, and even some penalties on them, which all probably produced too much special teams stuff,” Durocher said.
Schroeder picked up her fifth win of the season, improving to 5-2-1 on the year as she made a total of 26 saves. Her 1.37 goals-against average and .950 save percentage both rank in the top-10 in the nation. Abstreider made 21 saves for the Friars in the loss.
Compher made her season debut after missing the first nine games due to a lower-body injury, and was buzzing all-game long as she pushed the pace early and often, clearly wanting to score in her return and finishing six shots on net.
“It was exciting. I’ve been itching to get back out there, and to come away with a win is even more exciting,” Compher said after the game. “I felt like I had to prove myself a little bit. I came off a pretty good season last year.”
“A pretty good” season may be a bit of an understatement on the center’s part as she scored 61 points to lead Hockey East en route to earning All-American honors, finishing as a finalist for the Patty Kazmaier Award.
“I hold myself to pretty high standards, so hopefully this season I can execute like I want to.”
“She clearly was excited. There’s a lot of emotion and adrenaline to get out there,” Durocher said of his star center. “I think she played a real solid game . . . it was great for her to get back in the game.”
“Hopefully coming out of the game with all the energy and adrenaline she used, she’s still feeling good in the coming days.
The Terriers will return to action on Tuesday as they’ll square off with Yale (5-1-0, 3-1-0 ECACW) at Walter Brown Arena at 7:00 pm.