After a weekend sweep of UConn and senior weekend festivities, playoff time began at Walter Brown Arena. For the BU Terriers (24-8-4, 18-6-3 HEAW), their championship run was cut short after a weekend sweep by the Maine Black Bears (15-13-8, 9-11-7 HEAW).
Game 1 started off strong for Maine, with Vendula Pribylova scoring early in the first to put Maine up 1-0. The period stayed scoreless thanks to a heroic penalty kill performance by Maine’s defense and goaltender Carly Jackson. After stopping 10 strong shots on the power play, neither team got close again until the second.
Black Bears’ first-line forward Ali Beltz kicked off the second just as well for Maine with goal to make it 2-0. Just a few minutes later, junior Nara Elia chipped in a shot from Jesse Compher to get BU a power play goal and cut the game to 2-1. Both teams’ elite defenses kept the game at 2-1 for over 30 minutes of action.
That changed with 3:08 to go in the third, when Elia netted a perfect centering pass from Emma Wuthrich to tie the game at 2-2. That’s where things stayed through a first overtime and into a second.
One minute into the second overtime, it appeared that Jesse Compher scored the game-winning goal, but officials ruled a hand-pass nullifying it. Play went on for another 14 minutes until Ida Kuoppala sneaked one in to seal it for Maine at 3-2. Carly Jackson made a career-high 57 saves in the win, and the Black Bears earned their first ever postseason win on the road.
“[We] certainly played hard and we probably didn’t execute those great shooting chances as well as we’d like,” said head coach Brian Durocher after Fridays loss.
From the tough-luck power play to the multiple one-on-ones between Terrier skaters and Jackson, BU was unable to thread the needle much in Friday’s game.
In Saturday’s matinee game 2, Maine once again scored one goal in each of the first two periods. It was Ida Kuoppala who scored again to make it 1-0 Maine after one period, and then Tereza Vanisova got the Black Bears up 2-0 after two.
BU was held scoreless until there were just six minutes left in the game, when Julia Nearis finally got BU on the board. However, a second goal did not come, the game ended at 2-1 Maine, and just like that the Terriers’ season ended.
“I think frustrations carried over unfortunately, I think that… when we look at our stick skills [on Saturday], they were very average,” Durocher admitted.
The Black Bears will head to the semi-finals taking place at Merrimack College in North Andover. They look to take down their second top 10 team when they face No. 4 Northeastern University next Saturday.
With the sweep over the weekend, the door closes on the careers of BU’s eight seniors.
“When you lose a group that is that big and you think of people like [Natasza] Tarnowski and [Sammy] Davis and on and on down the line… I’m saddest for them because it was their last chance,” Durocher said wholeheartedly after Saturday’s game.
The Terrier head coach has seen this class carry the team to some of its best seasons and moments as a Division I program, and knows the scene will definitely change with their departure.
“They certainly had a fantastic year with 24 wins, [and] their standard of excellence: it has certainly been the last two years [with] 21 wins and 24,” Durocher said. “It’s a special group, and I will miss them.”