The Boston University women’s hockey team dropped to No. 5 in the USCHO rankings this week after holding the No. 3 spot for four consecutive weeks.
The Terriers (7–2–1, 3–1–1 Hockey East) tied 5–5 and lost 7–1 against Boston College (3–3–1, 2–2–1 Hockey East) in their most recent series. BC jumped one spot to No. 7.
However, BU coach Brian Durocher said he does not view the drop in the rankings as negative.
“I don’t count on it too much at all,” Durocher said. “If you’re anywhere in the top 10, you have a wonderful reflection on your program.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re first or fifth or 10th, as long as you’re in that group, it’s a real positive to that program.”
Durocher said the focus is less about the rankings and more on the upcoming opponents.
“We’ve got to think about one thing, and that’s [the University of New Hampshire], or wherever’s next on the schedule.”
University of Minnesota (12–0–0) remains in the top slot with its seventh straight unanimous No. 1 selection.
Poulin with Team Canada
Junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin was absent from the lineup on Saturday against BC and will also miss Friday’s game against UNH to play for Team Canada in the Four Nations Cup in Finland.
“It certainly shuffles the lines a little bit, and it takes an impact player away,” Durocher said of Poulin’s absence. “Any time you have a player that scores two points a game, or averages thereabouts, it’s a void that has to be filled by the team, not by one person.”
Durocher said he feels confident in his team’s ability to overcome the absence of its star forward.
“Louise Warren stepped up over at Boston College … I could pick out three, four, five, six people who could step forward up at UNH and help fill that void.”
Poulin, who was recently named Hockey East Co-Player of the Month, leads the team this season with 16 points on four goals and 12 assists.
Giving up goals
The Terriers conceded a total of 12 goals during the most recent games against BC. Going into the series, BU had only given up a total of 15 goals in eight games.
This series was an anomaly for junior goalie Kerrin Sperry, who posted a 2.07 career goals-against average prior to the series.
Durocher said that there is no particular person to blame for the recent struggle.
He attributed the results to BC’s strong play and also a need for his team to improve as a whole.
“I don’t think we played very well in either game … [BC] had the better of us.”
Durocher said aggressiveness is going to be the key headed into upcoming games.
“It’s just little things, but if you don’t keep the pressure on people, they’re probably going to make less mistakes and end up with more opportunities, more shots — and that creates problems for you,” Durocher said.
Penalty kill problems
BU has had some struggles this season on the penalty kill, giving up nine power-play goals already this season, including four during the BC series.
Last season, BU ranked third in Hockey East in penalty-killing percentage, killing 86.9 percent of penalties. This season, they currently rank fifth in the conference, killing only 80 percent of penalties.
Durocher said the team might have lost its focus in high-pressure situations.
“There have been times when we’ve lost a bit of our concentration,” Durocher said. “Maybe our confidence more than anything else.”
Durocher said his team needs to make a consistent effort to prevent future mistakes during the penalty kill.
“We try to play pretty aggressive, but we’ve got to be really assertive all the time.”