CHESTNUT HILL – The No. 9 Boston University women’s hockey team swept the No. 8 Boston College Eagles in this weekend’s edition of the Battle of Comm. Ave, decisively winning 6-0 on Friday night at Walter Brown Arena before grinding out a 2-1 victory at Conte Forum on Saturday afternoon.
For the weekend, the Eagles were without some key players, including freshman sensation Hannah Bilka, who has been one of the top scorers in the country. Head coach Katie Crowley was forced to roll with just three full lines and two full defense pairs, plus an extra forward and an extra defender.
Game One – BU: 6 BC: 0
Compared to the final score of the contest, the Terriers and Eagles got off to a fairly even start in the early goings of the first period, with BC getting a few odd-woman rushes. However, at the 6:58 mark of the first, Nadia Mattivi uncorked a one-timer from the point off Sammy Davis’s feed; the shot was blocked before it got to sophomore netminder Maddie MacArthur, but sophomore Emma Wuthrich was in the right place at the right time to clean up the loose change in front for her first tally of the season.
“Emma’s been dealing with injuries and has had a hard time getting back to 100% fitness-wise,” head coach Brian Durocher said following the win. “She’s had some limitations and a careful road back, but she played really well at Vermont and carried it into today.”
BU kicked it up into high gear after taking the lead, going to work on the forecheck in the Eagles’ defensive zone. With just under two minutes remaining in the opening frame, senior defender Alexandra Calderone sent a shot into the traffic in front of MacArthur, and Mackenna Parker came up with the redirect at the side of the cage to extend the lead to 2-0, picking up her first of the season.
The Terriers came out firing in the second period, peppering MacArthur with plenty of chances. 6:30 into the middle frame with BU on the penalty kill, junior forward Jesse Compher was first on the puck in the BC zone after Calderone cleared the puck down the ice; Compher sent a shot, and after MacArthur made the initial save, Davis found the rebound and was able to stuff her second chance home for her sixth of the season, making it 3-0 BU.
Just over a minute later, the Terriers had a power play opportunity of their own. Sophomore forward Kaleigh Donnelly collected the puck and sent a nifty feed to Compher, who was able to convert on her own rebound to make it a 4-0 game. Compher’s tally chased MacArthur, who made 13 saves, as the Eagles looked to sophomore Kelly Pickreign.
With about five minutes left in the second, sophomore Courtney Correia forced a BC turnover at the blueline and walked in all alone on Pickreign, before putting on a nice forehand-backhand move to roof her second of the year.
After a very lopsided second period, the two sides skated to much more even third stanza. Parker put the game on ice for BU late in regulation after receiving a cross-ice feed from Natasza Tarnowski before beating Pickreign over the short-side shoulder for her second of the night and the season.
“It’s always a huge battle against BC,” Parker said. “I think against BC, my first goals of the season is even more special. I hope I can just keep going and have the floodgates open after getting the first ones.”
“Mackenna’s one of those kids that’s tough in all three zones and plays super hard,” Durocher said. “It’s different being on a line that isn’t Compher and Davis, but she’s competed everyday. ”
Tonight she capitalized, and the best thing for your mental well-being is to get a couple over the goal line – it doesn’t matter how. Whatever happens, it’s amazing how it can snow ball.”
Junior netminder Corinne Schroeder stopped all 21 shots she faced en route to her second shutout of the season, highlighted by some phenomenal saves in the first period. Pickreign made 27 saves in relief of MacArthur.
“Schroeder’s been amazing, and she’s always been amazing,” Parker said of her starting netminder. “She’s always making huge saves that make or break a game.”
A storyline from Friday’s win that may have flown under the radar was the strong play of the fourth line and the freshman, most notably freshman forward Haylee Blinkhorn.
“[To be able to rely on all four lines] is really nice,” Durocher noted. “This was probably Haylee’s best game too. What she’s got to figure out is the level of compete here. She can think, make a pass and shoot the puck well, but everyday you’ve gotta plug in going from high school to college hockey that you’re competing because there’s no easy outs here.”
On the whole, Durocher is pleased with what he’s seen from his talented crop of freshmen through the first half of the season.
“For the most part [I’ve seen] good things from the freshmen,” said the BU bench boss. “There’s still areas for them to grow whether it’s bringing the intensity each day or the intensity on the defensive side of the ice, little things like that have got to had up. Then of course there’s confidence. Hopefully all of those things will keep going in the right direction.”
Game Two – BU: 2 BC: 1
The two sides reconvened for a quick turnaround with the 1:30 pm start on Saturday afternoon. Schroeder and MacArthur got the call once again for their respective teams.
In what was a scoreless first period, Schroeder came up with nine saves (28 total in the game), including one to deny BC sophomore Savannah Norcross right on the doorstep. Schroeder made a habit of coming up with big saves this weekend, as her positioning looked sharp throughout the two games, allowing her to be square to most shots.
“Of course, Corinne did her job in grand fashion once again,” said Durocher of his star netminder. “She was an all-star in the league, and has come out and played even better than last year.”
Towards the halfway mark of the second, Norcross delivered a blow to Davis that resulted in head contact and an injury for Davis, who was fortunately alright after staying down on the ice. Norcross was ejected from the game after receiving a major penalty for contact to the head.
On the ensuing power play, the Terriers fired away on MacArthur, especially Davis, who unleashed a rocket of a slapshot that beat everyone but the post to MacArthur’s left. Shortly after her close call, Davis received a cross-ice pass form Donnelly and beat MacArthur with a short-side wrister for her seventh of the season. Compher earned the secondary helper on the tally.
“It was great for Sammy. She got dinged from behind there, and thankfully she was okay where it was one of those stingers that bugs you for a minute or so,” said Durocher. “She came back and got a beautiful wrist shot there to score”
The chances would not stop for BU as they still had over two minutes remaining on the major penalty. After some nice puck-movement at the top of the umbrella, Davis unloaded a one-timer that rang off the crossbar and out of play, almost extending the Terrier lead to two.
Midway through the third with BC on the power play, Schroeder was unable to corral a shot with her glove, and Kelly Browne was able to shovel the rebound into the gaping cage before the BU netminder could slide over, tying the game at one.
The Terriers received a golden opportunity to regain the lead with a power play chance shortly after the BC equalizer. Compher facilitated some crisp passing before Davis sent a feed to Abby Cook at the point, who sent a shot that had eyes and found its way into the back of the net to give BU the 2-1 lead, which held for the remainder of the game.
“BC played a solid game, and I think we had a little struggle getting our legs under us after yesterday’s game,” said Durocher. “It was a little bit of a tough one getting some of our energy and momentum back. They ended up making it a nice hard-fought win with some power play goals.”
Compher reaches 100-point milestone
With her two secondary assists on Saturday after a goal and an assist on Friday, Compher earned her 100th career point as Terrier, joining the the likes of Victoria Bach, Marie-Philip Poulin and more in the BU record books.
“[Compher’s 100th point] is so awesome! I’m so proud of Jesse and she deserves it,” Davis said. “She’s a great player, and I enjoy playing with her. We have a great connection. I’m super proud of her, it’s unreal.”
“Great stuff to see,” Durocher said of Compher’s milestone. “Great for Jesse. We’ve had a few others here in the short history of this program, but it’s great to add a kid who’s a high-end player and see her continue to have success.”
Compher and Davis to attend USA Hockey winter training camp.
Compher and Davis will also skate with the United State international team from Dec. 9-13 at the XL Center in Hartford, CT. 23 of the 46 skaters invited to camp will join Team USA for the Rivalry Series against Canada, which will begin at the XL Center on Dec. 14.
“I’m so excited for the opportunity. I never would have thought,” said Davis. “I just want to go out there, have fun and learn something new that I can bring back to the girls.”
“I get to play some extra hockey for a week or so, so we’ll see. I just want to take in the experience. It’s so awesome and I’m really grateful for the opportunity.”
Compher won gold with Team USA at the IIHF World Championships last spring, while Davis won gold with U.S. Under-18 Team in 2015. The two also participated in the USA Hockey Women’s National Festival in Lake Placid, N.Y., over the summer.
“Every time you put on that jersey, it’s an unbelievable feeling,” Compher said. “So I’m excited to get back out there with those girls and I’m excited to have Sammy there with me.”
BU wraps up the first half on a five-game win streak.
This past weekend’s slate marked the final two games of the first semester for Terriers, who will return to action following a holiday break as they’ll host Maine for a two game set at Walter Brown Arena beginning on Jan. 4.