The No. 3/6 Boston University and Northeastern University women’s hockey teams have both started the season off strong—BU with a record of 3–0–0 and Northeastern with a record of 4–0–0 — and are due to meet at Matthews Arena on Tuesday.
“You’re looking at a really good top-to-bottom team [at Northeastern],” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “Their team is a very deep team. It’s a very quick team, and it’s a very highly competitive team.”
Northeastern finished up the 2011–12 season with a record of 22–7–4, and BU finished the same season with a record of 23–14–1. In that season, BU lost to Northeastern three out of four games, including a loss in overtime at the Beanpot Championship.
“It’s a team that we didn’t have great luck against last year … and I tip my cap to them,” said Durocher. “We are both pretty competitive, and we both want to win this game because it’s a game that’s big not only in Hockey East, but on a national scale it’s a big game.”
The Terriers only scored seven goals against Northeastern last year in their four games.
A lot of that offensive struggle was due to the play of then-senior goaltender Florence Schelling, who shut out the Terriers on Nov. 30.
Schelling had a 1.75 goals against average against BU alone last year while posting a .952 save percentage in those games.
“The only uncertainty [at Northeastern] is the fact that you’ve got to replace an all-world goalie — Florence Schelling — but obviously so far [sophomore] Chloe Desjardins has done a super job in her first four games,” Durocher said.
A competitor for the Swiss national women’s hockey team, Schelling goaltended for Northeastern during the span of 2008–12.
During the 2010–11 season at Walter Brown Arena, Schelling set a Hockey East Tournament record with 44 saves.
Chloe Desjardins has played all four games this season, and currently leads Hockey East in goals-against average, save percentage and winning percentage.
“Desjardins done a great job at getting in there and getting her feet wet,” Durocher said. “It’s probably their most talented team up to this point. It will help them transition from an all-world goalie to a new goalie.”
However, the team’s “bell ringer,” according to Durocher, is sophomore and Olympian Kendall Coyne, who currently leads the Huskies’ offensive charge with five goals and two assists. Coyne was named the Hockey East Athletic Republic Player of the Week for her performance.
“Casey Pickett is a Hockey East all-star type player. Brittany Esposito is a very talented played. Rachel Llanes has outstanding speed, and I think that another freshman to watch is a girl named Paige Savage, who’s a two-time under-18 US National Team player,” Durocher said. “It’s not one kid or two kids the girls have to watch out for.”
Coming off the loss of key player such as previous captain Jenn Wakefield, the Terriers have had success getting used to the new team dynamic.
So far, freshman forward Sarah Lefort has scored five goals this season.
Lefort and fellow freshman Dakota Woodworth have been key goal-scorers over the past two games, as they have combined for five of the team’s nine goals.
“The last game of the year that [Northeastern] played and lost to Providence has kept them from getting into the NCAA tournament. Maybe if they had won different games in their season, it would have changed the tables for them,” Durocher said. “You’ve got to win these games for local bragging rights, for Hockey East and for the NCAA.
“It will be a nice start if we can follow this one up after the BC win and get two quality wins.”