Despite placing fourth in the Beanpot tournament for the first time in team history, the No. 3 Boston University women’s hockey team excelled on the penalty kill during its two losses in the tournament.
Last week in the semifinal game against Northeastern University, which the Terriers (18–5–3, 13–2–1 WHEA) lost by a score of 4–1, BU was able to kill four penalties on five attempts.
Although it gave up a power-play goal to Northeastern (15–10–2, 8–7–1 WHEA) forward Casey Pickett early in the second period, it held on and did not give up a power-play goal for the remainder of the game.
The penalty kill continued to be strong on Tuesday evening in a consolation game against No. 5 Harvard University, when the Terriers were hit with four penalties in the first period alone — tripping calls on junior defenseman Kaleigh Fratkin and junior forward Louise Warren, a hooking call on sophomore defenseman Caroline Campbell and an infraction for having too many players on the ice.
But with strong defense and stellar saves from BU goalie Kerrin Sperry — who had 16 saves in the first period — the Terriers did not let Harvard (18–3–2) record a single power-play goal in the first 20 minutes.
BU coach Brian Durocher praised his defense on its play in the first period.
“We’ve been trying to work on it for a long time, and I think every coach and every team works on trying to protect the … net,” Durocher said of the progress of his defense. “We seem to have been a little bit loosey-goosey, trying to break out, trying to take off, and not recognizing the danger.
“Tonight we were much better, particularly on their power plays in the first period. Every time the puck went to the net with two maroon shirts, somebody had their stick up.”
While the penalties were killed in the first, Durocher said that his players needed to be more disciplined.
“We put ourselves in a real hole having to kill four … power plays in the first period,” Durocher said. “At no time am I directing anything at the referees. I’m directing it at my own team. We’ve got to make sure that our sticks are being used for carrying pucks, not hooking and holding and getting in peoples’ way.
“I was real happy [with the kill], and I complimented them after the first period on doing that,” Durocher added. “But I also told them we just can’t keep doing this and expect we’re going to walk out with a win.”
When junior co-captain Marie-Philip Poulin was sent off the ice for crosschecking 11:27 into the second period, Harvard finally cashed in on a 5-on-4 advantage. Off a pass from forward Samantha Reber, forward Lyndsey Fry sent the puck past a hardworking Sperry to put the Crimson ahead 1–0 with 36 seconds left on the power play.
“The first one was on a power play, and they moved the puck around well. Finally they got rewarded for a puck that found its way in the net,” Durocher said of the goal. “It was one of those ones that I didn’t think [Sperry] had a chance on.”
Fry’s goal opened the scoring for Harvard and gave the Crimson momentum to score two more goals within the next two minutes.
Durocher said although BU only let up one power-play goal to the Crimson, the excess of penalties gave Harvard too many chances.
“You can generate some momentum once in a while, but [with] one or two good kills, not four and five and six,” Durocher said. “That really puts you in a real bind, and we did that to ourselves.”
Regardless of the power-play goal it allowed in the second frame, BU has killed off 22 of its last 24 penalties, dating back to a 5–2 victory over the University of Vermont on Jan. 25. Before last week’s semifinal game, the Terriers allowed no power-play goals in conference games to the University of New Hampshire (0-for-4) and Northeastern (0-for-7).