In a quest for the program’s 150th win and its first Beanpot title as a varsity program, the Boston University women’s hockey team fell to Northeastern University in the semifinal game by a score of 4–1.
BU’s (18–4–3, 13–2–1 Hockey East) loss snapped a 14-game unbeaten streak, and it was also its first loss to Northeastern (15–10–2, 8–7–1 Hockey East) this season.
The Terriers had a chance to go ahead 1–0 early in the first period, as a sloppy handle from Huskies goalkeeper Chloe Desjardins and a miscommunication on defense gave BU junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin a good chance to tap in a goal, but her shot went just wide.
Shortly after killing a hooking penalty committed by forward Brittany Esposito, NU forward Kendall Coyne broke free from BU defenders and tapped the puck around junior goalkeeper Kerrin Sperry to put the Huskies ahead 1–0 5:46 into the first period.
Less than two minutes later, with BU on the penalty kill due to a tripping call on junior defenseman Shannon Doyle, NU forward Casey Pickett took advantage of a deflection in front of the net and sent the puck past Sperry to put Northeastern ahead 2–0.
Senior forward Jenelle Kohanchuk had an opportunity with 1:22 remaining in the first period to cut the deficit in half, but she shot the puck straight at Desjardins, leaving BU scoreless at the end of the first period.
“It was hard,” said BU coach Brian Durocher on being in a 2–0 hole at the end of the first period. “I don’t keep track of exactly how many times we’ve fallen behind, but I don’t think we’ve fallen behind by two goals very often, if any.
“It was trying on the kids, but I did everything I could to remind them that 40 minutes is a long time to come back.”
Northeastern continued its scoring momentum into the second period. At the 5:18 mark of the period, the puck bounced around behind the net, and Coyne wrapped around and put the puck past the left side of a confused Sperry, pushing the score to 3–0.
After Coyne’s goal, BU had a flurry of opportunities to score, but a combination of nice saves by Desjardins, secure defense by Northeastern and a few unlucky bounces left BU scoreless headed into the locker room at the end of the second period.
“The way that we played in the second period, and the opportunities we had in the second period, if one had gone in, all of a sudden a second and third might have found their way in,” Durocher said. “But it didn’t happen, and that’s hockey.
“It’s a great game. Sometimes those goaltenders can do a lot, but she wasn’t the only person. Every person on the Northeastern defense was fighting like crazy and keeping our kids away. We really didn’t get our stick on too many of those rebounds. So credit to them.”
BU’s scoring woes continued as Poulin had an opportunity to bring BU within two goals with about 17 minutes left in the game, but her shot hit the post and bounced the wrong way.
As the minutes ticked away, Durocher decided to mix up some of his lines in an attempt to give BU more chances.
“In the third, we just made really one major switch, put [freshman forward] Sarah Lefort with the two freshmen, put [senior co-captain] Jill [Cardella] up there with [Poulin] and [Kohanchuk],” Durocher said. “They’ve got some nice karma, they’re all upperclassmen, they’ve been around for a long time. You try to do something … just to try to change the complexion of the game, try to change whatever was going on.”
Durocher’s changes allowed BU to regain some life. At the 7:02 mark of the final frame, Sarah Lefort dropped the puck off to sophomore defensemen Caroline Campbell, who took a shot from long range. The puck found freshman forward Jordan Juron, who was standing right in front of an open net. Juron sent the disc into the net for a goal — her fourth of the season — to put the Terriers on the board, 3–1.
With about six minutes remaining in the game and BU still trailing by two goals, Durocher brought Sperry off the ice and brought in an extra forward. For a moment, it appeared as if Coyne scored her third goal of the game on an empty net, but the play was ruled dead.
Sperry came back on the ice for a few minutes after the Coyne scare, but was pulled again with about two minutes left in the game. Coyne was again able to break free, this time sending the puck into the net to notch her hat trick and put Northeastern ahead, 4–1, which would ultimately be the final score.
“We’ve had our nights like that,” Durocher said. “Their team played a great game, but I was proud of our team and how they played and never gave up. A heck of a second period, but nothing to show for it. The third, we get one to bring some life into the game, and pulled the goalie twice, and almost tried to get within one goal, but it wasn’t going to happen tonight.”