The Boston University women’s ice hockey team (8-4-1, 3-4-1 HEAW) will travel to the University of Vermont to take on the Catamounts (5-3-5, 2-3-3 HEAW) for a two-game weekend series, which will be BU’s last game action before Thanksgiving recess.
“It’s always a challenge when you go on the road to play back-to-back games in someone else’s building,” head coach Brian Durocher said. “I think Vermont is always a team that plays hard and competes hard. Hopefully we’ll challenge them first and not make things easy for them.”
The Terriers are coming off a massive 6-2 win over No. 9/9 Harvard on Tuesday night at Walter Brown Arena, while the Catamounts are coming off a loss on the road against Providence. BU will look to continue their success this weekend, where picking up the in-conference wins will be paramount.
“[Success in Hockey East] is very important because you’re talking about where you’re finishing in the league and where you go for playoffs,” Durocher said. “It’s still early, so no one quite knows where this thing’s going yet, but any type of a win-streak can really change things. When you string wins together you don’t have to scoreboard-watch.”
“I think the biggest thing for us is playing a full 60 minutes, and bringing it with every shift and every battle,” junior forward Kristina Schuler said ahead of this weekend’s series. “It’s just whether or not we show up.”
Schuler, who is one of the Terriers’ most reliable two-way players, has found an extra offensive gear lately, with four goals and an assist over her last three contests. Her linemates, Deziray De Sousa and Nara Elia, have also been quite the facilitators of the offense as well, combining for nine points over their last three as well.
“The key for me has been a different mindset for me honestly,” Schuler said. “I’ve just really been focusing on going to the net more often, no matter what’s happening around me.”
“I think Kristina is one of those kids who we’ve been looking for to take a step,” Durocher said. “She really prides her self on being a three-zone player. Looking at her first two years, a little self-confidence offensively would have gone a long way. Her linemates have certainly been a big part of it, too; all three of them have done a great job of enforcing their will on opposing teams on the forecheck.”
BU is going to look to shutdown a relatively high-flying UVM offense that scores three goals per game (13th in Division I), compared to 2.62 for the Terriers. A team that prides itself on defense, BU allows a measly 1.77 goals per game, which is eighth-best in the nation, while Vermont gives up 2.31 per game.
Junior netminder Corinne Schroeder has been strong, as always, for the Terriers, boasting a 1.60 goals-against average, good enough for tenth in Division I, while her .944 save percentage is the fourth-best mark. For the Catamounts, sophomore Blanka Škodová has fallen off a bit after a relatively strong start, now holding a .901 save percentage and a 2.01 GAA.
The Terriers have played a lot of hockey over the last few weeks, considering the nature of college schedules, with a couple contests wedged into the last two Tuesdays between the usual weekend matchups. Neither Durocher, nor Schuler seems to be concerned about the team’s energy this weekend.
“I think the energy level will be good,” Schuler said. “These are two big games for us, and we like coming up here and playing. So, I think it’s going to be good.”
“I hope [the energy] is good. We’ve played sort of a staggered schedule here, so we’ve been able to get into a little bit of a game rhythm,” Durocher noted. “My only question is really our bounce-back in the second game because we haven’t had a back-to-back in a few weeks.”
The action is set to kick off at Gutterson Fieldhouse at 4:00 pm on Saturday afternoon before the two sides will square off again on Sunday at 2:00 pm in another matinee matchup.