The Boston University women’s hockey team was a team in need of a win.
Having lost four consecutive games, and five out of its last six, the Terriers (18-8-1, 11-5 Hockey East) looked to get back into the win column against the University of Connecticut. After the weekend was all said and done, not only did the Terriers come away with a win, but a two-game weekend sweep over the Huskies (7-19-2, 4-10-1).
“It was real important,” said BU coach Brian Durocher on the weekend sweep. “We’ve been on a slide and we need to build up things for a lot of different reasons … It helps us with our confidence going into the Beanpot.”
In the first contest of the weekend, BU headed to Storrs, Conn., Friday night. The Terriers carried in a 12-game winning streak against the Huskies and looked to extend that with a strong first period of play.
BU put 13 shots towards net in the first period, including seven from sophomore forward Sarah Lefort, but each shot was denied by goaltender Elaine Chuli. The UConn netminder was matched by her Terrier counterpart, senior goalie Kerrin Sperry, who stopped eight shots in the opening period, sending the game to the first intermission at a scoreless tie.
The score remained that way until the 12:19 point of the second period when an unexpected source of offense came through for the Terriers. After a strong play to keep the puck in the offense zone on the power play, the puck was fed over to sophomore defenseman Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga, who in turn put the puck into the back of the net for her first collegiate goal.
Despite two other man-advantage opportunities in the second frame, the Terriers ended up with just the one tally, while the Huskies were again stifled by the play of Sperry.
Going into the final period of play, the Terriers sought to get an insurance goal, and did so when senior forward Taylor Holze came through with just under seven minutes to play in the period.
Senior defenseman Kaleigh Fratkin corralled a pass at the point and then ripped off a shot. Holze was in perfect position and tipped in the initial shot past Chuli for a 2-0 lead.
“Taylor has been around the net a lot, and has been a little bit snake bitten,” Durocher said. “Hers was a huge goal for the winner. To get other people involved is paramount. You can’t just have two people there…You need more people contributing.”
The Huskies did not go away quietly, however, and during a power-play chance, UConn cashed in its first goal. Forward Rachel Farrel pushed forth her eighth goal of the season as Chuli head to the net in favor of a sixth skater.
While the Huskies pushed in the final minute to get the tying goal in the net, Sperry and the defense held strong, and BU won its first game since Jan. 11 by a 2-1 margin.
Saturday afternoon’s contest at Walter Brown Arena was the regular season finale between the two teams. Like it has been done much of this season, freshman netminder Victoria Hanson was given the starting role in the back end of the weekend, with Sperry getting the day off.
BU controlled much of the play in the initial frame, limiting the Huskies to just four chances. The Terriers continued to pressure the Huskies, and with just under two minutes left in the period, senior captain Louise Warren put the Terriers on top during a power-play chance.
Fratkin had the puck at the top of the offensive zone close to the blue line, getting a shot off past the UConn defenders in front of her. Warren was positioned right in front of the goal crease, redirecting the puck under the pads of Chuli.
In the second period, UConn’s offense appeared to have found new life, garnering 11 shots in the frame. It was not deep into the frame when the Huskies would knot up the score. Forward Michela Cava and Sara MacDonell got a 2-on-1 opportunity, with Cava putting in a one-timer for the goal.
Just over four minutes later at the 7:26 mark, Warren potted her second goal of the contest. BU took the puck into the zone with Warren dishing the pass to Lefort. Lefort’s shot was stopped, but Warren put the rebound past Chuli for the lead.
UConn got a power-play opportunity and cashed in, with MacDonnell tying the game at the 10:07 mark.
In the waning minutes of the frame, BU grabbed the lead, on a Lefort goal, ending a back-and-forth period in which four goals were tallied.
Taking a one-goal lead into the third, the Terriers looked to extend the lead, and they did just that on the strength of Warren’s third goal of the game at the 10:11 mark. Her first shot was stopped by Chuli, but she poked at the rebound, putting it past the goal line, completing the hat trick.
“I came down the side, and I did that a few it other times in the game and couldn’t find anything,” Warren said. “So I just shot for a rebound and ended up getting it.”
With the UConn net empty and only 1:48 left, Lefot put the game on ice with her 21st goal of year, sealing a 5-2 BU victory.
“I liked the fact that we, for the most part this weekend, played a more sound game defensively, and still had plenty of offensive talent to get nearly 40 shots each night,” Durocher said. “That’s what we’ve been working on and thankfully it was executed well.”