By: Patrick Donnelly
The Boston University Terriers (7-3-1, 3-3-1 HEAW) will take on the No. 6/6 Boston College Eagles (9-1-1, 8-1-1 HEAW) on Friday night at Walter Brown Arena, adding another chapter into the storied Battle of Commonwealth Avenue.
Freshman forward Julia Nearis, a Mass. native, has been anticipating this matchup all season, saying it was what she is most excited for this season. (You can check out my full profile on Nearis from our conversation last month here).
“It’s something I’ve been looking forward to all season, and I’m looking forward to the Beanpot, too, obviously,” Nearis said. “The rivalry is fun to be apart of, and I know in the locker room the girls take it very seriously. So, I’m definitely really excited to be apart of it.”
“I’m excited it. It should be a great game.”
The Terriers have won two-straight games heading into this matchup, beating Providence last Saturday before topping Yale on Tuesday. While getting back in the win column is great, the Terriers still need to round out some facets of their game.
“I think our offense has created some good chances and all, but defensively we could be a lot stronger,” Nearis added. “Doing the simple things, like catching passes as coach has emphasized, is something we can work on because BC is a good passing team so we’re gonna have to match them and match that.”
Nearis has been a welcomed addition to the Terries’ crop of forwards, as she leads the team in goals with six. The vast majority of her production for BU has come on the power play as well.
“I don’t want to say luck, but it’s been a bit of right place, right time,” Nearis said of the early success in her collegiate career. “I try to get open as much as possible, and lucky enough, when girls shoot I’m able to get the rebounds. A lot of the girls have really good vision, so hopefully that’ll help contribute.”
BU will trot out the first line of redshirt senior captain Sammy Davis, 2018-19 All-American Jesse Compher and Nearis, a trio that certainly has a potential to score a lot of goals for the Terriers.
“Playing with the best players, I live for that stuff,” Nearis said of playing on the new-look first line. “Obviously Jesse with her speed, it’s a little tough to keep up since I’m one of the bigger skaters out there. Sammy’s always grinder out there, and everyone really appreciates what she does in all areas of the game.”
“I respect a lot about my teammates. Going from high school to here is definitely a change, but I think I’m doing a good job keeping up so far.”
BC is certainly among the toughest tests the Terriers will face this season as the Eagles were already a national force. However, BC will be out for revenge on Friday as the team was undefeated in regulation before being upset by UConn last weekend. The Terriers will have their hands full with first year phenom Hannah Bilka, whose 18 points rank tenth in the nation and ten goals come in as the second-most in Division I.
“Right now I’m excited for what I think is our best competition coming up here,” Nearis noted.
In the all-time series, the Terriers have certainly been fighting an uphill battle, taking a 19-30-7 record against the Eagles into this matchup with the most recent loss coming in March as BC trounced BU by a 5-1 final in the Hockey East semifinals. However, the Terriers swept their B-Line rival for the first time in program history last season.
Corinne Schroeder will get the start in net for the Terriers, per head coach Brian Durocher. The junior netminder has been strong, as expected for the Terriers, as her 1.37 goals-against average ranks eighth in the nation while her .950 save percentage stands as fourth in Division I. BC sophomore Maddy McArthur is 7-1-1 in net this season with a .919 save percentage and 1.87 goals against average to go along with two shutouts.
The action is slated to get underway at 7:00 p.m. as Daniel Multz and Carolyn Mooney will have the radio call.