Looking to extend its 11-game undefeated streak and four-game winning streak, the No. 5 Boston University women’s hockey team will travel to Burlington, Vt., to take on the University of Vermont Friday at 2 p.m.
The Catamounts (6–13–3, 4–4–3 Hockey East) are struggling, as they come into this game without a win in their last four matchups. They scored seven goals over the four-game stretch, but their greater weakness lies on the defensive end, as they allowed 11 goals for an average of 2.75 goals allowed per game.
The Catamounts rank sixth in Hockey East with a 2.23 goals per game average on the season, and fifth with 3.18 goals allowed per game.
Their top point-getter is forward Klara Myren, who has 18 points on five goals and a team-leading 13 assists. Classmate Brittany Zuback is not far behind, as she has 17 points on a team-leading 10 goals and seven assists. Only two other players on the team have more than 10 points on the season.
However, BU coach Brian Durocher said his team is aware of Vermont’s potential.
“We’re all pretty respectful of Vermont and everybody in this league, and anybody on any given day can come back and beat you,” Durocher said. “They got a win over [University of New Hampshire] earlier in the year, so we know what they’re capable of.”
BU enters the game on the opposite end of the spectrum, as it hasn’t lost a contest in its last 11 and has won its last four. With 18 goals scored during the recent four-game stretch — a 5–4 victory over No. 10 Northeastern University on Jan. 16 — for an average of 4.5 goals per game, the Terriers are playing as well as ever.
“It all starts with consistency,” Durocher said. We’re on a pretty consistent run throughout the year. We seemed to be ready to play in the last number of games.”
BU ranks second in Hockey East in both scoring and defense on the season with 3.71 goals scored per game and 2.48 goals allowed per game. Only Boston College is ahead of the Teriers in both categories. Leading the charge for BU is junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin, who leads the team and ranks fourth in Hockey East with 33 points. Her 22 assists is also a team best and puts her at second in the conference, behind only BC (17–4–2, 10–2–1 Hockey East) forward Alex Carpenter.
Durocher said he praises Poulin’s demeanor off the ice, as well.
“As a teammate [Poulin is] very genuine,” Durocher said. “She’s well-liked and appreciated by everybody on this team, and that’s just a product of her being a humble kid and a concerned kid. It makes her a real good person off the ice, and a real good teammate.”
Poulin’s linemate, freshman forward Sarah Lefort, has been a major beneficiary of her high assists total. Lefort leads the team and is tied for fifth in Hockey East with 13 goals.
The Terriers’ second line of sophomore Kayla Tutino, junior Louise Warren and senior Isabel Menard has contributed to the team’s recent impressive offensive efforts, as well. The line is responsible for eight goals out of the 18 scored since the end of the team’s winter break. That amounts to an average of two goals per game from that trio alone.
Durocher said Warren’s improved performance is a major factor in the line’s recent success.
“The thing that’s changed for the better, [and] the most, is Louise Warren has really stepped up her play,” Durocher said. “Of recent finish, she’s been getting her goals and assists, finishing her opportunities.”
On the other end of the ice, BU hasn’t started the same netminder two games in a row since junior goaltender Kerrin Sperry played in back-to-back matchups against the University of Minnesota Duluth on Dec. 8 and Dec. 9. Senior Alissa Fromkin was given the start over Sperry in two of the four most recent games.
The decision to start Fromkin recently may seem surprising, as Sperry ranks second in Hockey East in goals-against average (2.39), third in save percentage (.911) and second in winning percentage (.794).
Durocher said he is preparing for any obstacles that may stand in between his team and an NCAA Championship.
“You want to make sure that people are ready to play,” Durocher said. “I don’t want to get into an injury situation in February or with the Beanpot, Hockey East and postseason. You’d be kicking yourself in the tail if you didn’t have both goalies playing some during the year.”