The last time the No. 9 Boston University women’s hockey team gave up a late lead to Northeastern University, the Terriers needed overtime heroics from their captain to break through.
This time, the heroics came from that same person — but much, much earlier.
In a Tuesday night matchup at Matthews Arena, BU (12-3-1, 8-0-0 Hockey East) crushed Northeastern (7-10-1, 3-5-1 Hockey East) with three third-period goals to break a late tie and escape with a 5-2 victory.
On Oct. 29, when the Terriers and the Huskies met for the first time this season, BU gave up a goal with a little over five minutes remaining in regulation to knot up the score at two apiece. However, senior captain Louise Warren came through with a clutch goal three minutes into overtime to give BU the 3-2 victory.
Tuesday night, Warren made her presence felt early in the game, falling into the center position with the absence of junior forward Kayla Tutino due to a lower body injury.
About eight minutes into the first period, Warren danced around a couple defenders but could not send the puck past Northeastern goaltender Chloe Desjardins. Just seconds later, however, Warren tapped it in around the right post to put BU ahead 1-0.
With about two and a half minutes left in the first period, Northeastern sent a shot to the net that nearly went in. BU defenders tapped it away, but not before senior defenseman Kaleigh Fratkin was called for a slashing penalty.
About 40 seconds later, sophomore forward Sarah Lefort was called for a tripping penalty, giving Northeastern a 5-on-3 power play. The Huskies had a number of chances in front of the net, but senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry and the BU defense remained stout. The puck found its way to the other side of the ice and Warren almost got her second goal of the game, but a sprawling Desjardins stopped the attempt. Warren finished the first period with seven total shots.
Early in the second period, BU earned a penalty shot when the Northeastern defense was called for a delay of game. Lefort took the shot, but skated right into Desjardins.
Lefort redeemed herself a couple minutes later, tapping the puck in from the top of the crease to extend the Terrier lead to 2-0.
However, Northeastern did not back down. At the 15:41 mark of the second period, freshman Tori Hickel skated behind the BU net and shot around the right post. Sperry leapt too far forward while making the save, however, and Hickel rang home her own rebound to cut the BU lead in half.
Just more than two minutes into the third period, the game got trickier for the Terriers. Northeastern forward Claire Santostefano shot between the legs of BU sophomore defenseman Alexis Woloschuk, finding defenseman Colleen Murphy right in front of the net to knot up the score at two goals apiece.
“We came out in the second and I think it was five, six, seven minutes in and I call it maybe melt or playing poorly mentally,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “ [We] weren’t using the indirect passes, we were getting too fancy. They got one, then another and too many times we had long shifts and couldn’t get people off of the ice. It just snowballed for awhile, probably the last 10 minutes of the second and into the early part of the third.”
Things got a bit feisty after Murphy’s goal, as Lefort and freshman Hayley Scamurra were simultaneously sent to the box following multiple post-whistle skirmishes at the 5:19 mark.
With Durocher unhappy with his team’s play, he called a timeout seven minutes into the third period.
“I called the timeout basically because I thought we were playing afraid,” Durocher said. “I wanted to tell them if we lose, go down fighting and go down playing with your instincts and your ability.”
Shortly after the teams went back to 5-on-5, junior defenseman Shannon Stoneburgh was called for checking. Northeastern had a few opportunities, but the puck ended up in the Northeastern zone and Warren sent in a shot from the left side for a tiebreaking shorthanded goal, her 10th goal of the season.
Three minutes later, Warren tapped the puck to Lefort, who wrapped behind the Northeastern net and scored for the second time to extend BU’s lead to 4-2. Warren’s assist gave her career-high four points on the game.
“[Warren’s goal] took the wind out of their sails, and I think it came at a time where we started to assert ourselves more,” Durocher said. “Then we got the second one from Sarah on a wraparound to put us in pretty good position.”
To cap off her already solid day, Lefort sent in an empty-netter with about a minute remaining to secure the hat trick and give BU a final score of 5-2.
Because this was the final Hockey East game of 2013, the Terriers preserved a perfect conference record in the calendar year. They will look for perfection in 2013 in one more category — home record — when they host the University of Minnesota-Duluth Friday and Saturday.