BOSTON, MA – The No. 9 Boston University Terriers (22-6-4, 16-6-3 HEAW) completed a weekend sweep of the University of New Hampshire Wildcats (15-14-4, 11-12-3 HEAW) with a 2-0 victory at Walter Brown Arena on Sunday afternoon, after defeating UNH, 1-0, on the road at the Whittemore Center on Saturday afternoon.
Junior goaltender Corinne Schroeder took the crease on Saturday afternoon as she and the Terriers looked to bounce back after Tuesday’s heartbreaking Beanpot final loss. BU got two early power plays, including a tripping minor called on UNH’s Carlee Turner bout midway through the first period.
“I liked the fact that we seemed to go back to the way we played – hard to play against, blocking shots, good goaltending, and keeping things simple,” BU head coach Brian Durocher said after the game.
Just 27 seconds into the power play, junior forward Nara Elia sent a cross-ice feed to redshirt senior captain Sammy Davis, who rifled a one-timer on redshirt sophomore goalie Ava Boutilier. The Wildcat netminder made the initial save, but sophomore forward Kaleigh Donnelly was there to stuff home the rebound with the only goal of the afternoon for either side.
The second frame saw the teams combine for a total of six penalties, four of which went against the Terriers. With four power play chances for the Wildcats, Schroeder was at her busiest stopping all 15 shots she faced in the middle stanza.
“I think we did a good job outplaying them in general, beating them to pucks and always making sure we’re blocking shots and keeping them to the outside – it makes my life easier,” Schroeder said following the win.
Donnelly’s tally would hold as the Terriers staved off a late push from the Wildcats after they pulled Boutilier. Schroeder finished the afternoon with a total of 33 saves, earning the fourth shutout of her career, her second shutout in her last three starts, and the seventh of her career.
“We did a good job hemming them in their zone, especially in the third period where we knew we had to go hard,” Schroeder said.
“I think some of their ‘Grade A’ chances, they screamed a little wide or Corinne made the save,” Durocher said. “We got the one timely goal.
“Whatever the score is, as long as you get the ‘W’ that’s what’s important.”
With the win on Saturday and losses from UConn, Boston College, and Providence, the Terriers locked up second place in Hockey East and home-ice advantage for the Hockey East Quarterfinals.
Sophomore goaltender Kate Stuart got the nod for Sunday’s matchup at Walter Brown Arena. Freshman defender Nadia Mattivi was out of the lineup on Saturday with a lower-body injury, but Durocher does not see it as anything serious for the blueliner.
“I don’t think [there’s any concern long-term],” Durocher said. “A day off today, [Monday], and maybe give her Tuesday off, then all of a sudden you have a nice three-day run to let things heal up.”
The Terriers got out to a strong start in the rubber mach, taking control of the attacking zone time and giving the Wildcats fits on the forecheck. The fourth line of Donnelly, Emma Wuthrich, and Haylee Blinkhorn was especially effective on the forecheck on Sunday afternoon.
“They were very good,” Durocher said. “They make real smart decisions, all three of them.”
“All three of them got moving, and I’m sorry they maybe didn’t find the back of the ne because they sure played well enough to get [a goal].”
With just under five minutes remaining in the opening frame, the Terriers caught a break with UNH looking to crack the BU defense for the first time on the weekend as a shot from Annie Berry got a piece of Stuart’s glove before ricocheting off the crossbar.
Nara Elia sent the Terriers the other way on a quick break as sophomore Courtney Correia gave junior center Jesse Compher a one-touch feed. Compher got a step around the UNH defender and broke in one-on-one with Boutilier before roofing one short-side to give the Terriers a 1-0 lead.
The second period brought some controversy, as has been a theme with Hockey East officials this week. Junior forward Kristina Schuler thought she gave BU a 2-0 lead, but the goal was waived off as Julia Nearis interfered with Boutilier – the ruling was confirmed via video review.
Shortly after, an errant pass from the Wildcats in BU’s zone made its way all the way back down the ice behind Boutilier’s goal; however, it was ruled icing in spite of the fact that the pass was off a UNH stick. An official’s conference moved the faceoff to center ice.
Before the end of the period, the puck made its way behind Stuart’s net after a scramble in front of the crease, and somehow fluttered back over the goal after a deflection. Senior defender Breanna Scarpaci appeared to catch the puck before closing her hand on the puck, taking a step, and throwing it out of the crease.
The New Hampshire bench was up in arms over the non-call, feeling the team should have been awarded a penalty shot or power play, but an official’s conference proved fruitless for the Wildcats as BU’s 1-0 lead held heading into the third period.
“Thankfully, [the officials] got a good look at [all scenarios], and made decisions that I think stood with what was called on the ice,” Durocher said. “They work hard. It’s a tough job, and we’re happy we have them.”
Stuart only saw two shots in the third period, as the Terriers totaled 14 blocked shots on the afternoon. With less than two minutes to go, the Wildcats pulled Boutilier for a late push with the extra attacker, but Davis was able to skate Elia’s feed out of the zone and nearly down the length of the rink before putting the game on ice with the empty-netter.
“I’d say with the amount of blocked shots in the first and second [periods], it’s kind of hard when you’re not getting a ton of shots, but as soon as you do, it feels good,” Stuart said postgame. “You want to stay in it in your head.”
“Consistency is the word [for Kate], you know how many times in a game like that where the goalie doesn’t get a ton of rhythm or shots, and one or two squeak in. But she didn’t let that happen.” Durocher said. “Kudos to her for the first shutout.”
Stuart earned her first collegiate shutout in Saturday’s win, stopping all 17 shots she faced, while Elia had a two-assist afternoon, making for three helpers on the weekend.
“[My first shutout] definitely feels good, coming on a long weekend with my family here,” Stuart said. “It was a real team effort.”
The Terriers will return to action next weekend as they conclude their regular season at Walter Brown Arena with a two-game series versus the UConn Huskies, beginning Friday night at 7 pm.