The time to catch fire before the Hockey East playoffs has come for the Boston University women’s hockey team. Following a heartbreaking 3-2 overtime loss to Harvard University in the consolation game of the Beanpot, the Terriers will look to heat up in a home-and-home weekend series against Providence College.
“We played well,” said BU coach Brian Durocher about his team’s performance in the consolation match. “Territorially we had the advantage. It was just one of those loses against a top team…We didn’t finish the job, that’s the frustrating part.”
The Terriers (19-10-1, 12-5-0 Hockey East), who will play at Agganis Arena Saturday rather than their usual home of Walter Brown Arena, search for their 20th win of the season against the Friars (11-19, 6-11 Hockey East).
“When you get to 20 wins it’s the benchmark of a good season,” Durocher said. “The expectations have been set high here with the last four years…Are job is not to worry about what might have been [against Harvard] but we have to focus on Providence.”
Earlier this season, the two teams faced off at Schneider Arena. The Friars came out on top, 4-3. Freshman forward Maddie Elia scored twice and sophomore forward Sarah Lefort added one, but that was not enough.
Providence kept pressing, and with the help of two goals from freshman Cassidy Carels, the Friars erased two two-goal deficits to defeat the Terriers in the final minutes of the third period.
“Providence beat us last time down there,” Durocher said. “We’ve got to make sure we play a smart, good game. Everyone has to be a little bit more disciplined, a little smarter.”
The Friars will come into Boston on a downswing, losing five of their last six games including three-straight losses against Boston College, the University of Vermont and Northeastern University.
Offensively, Providence is led by forward Corinne Buie (seven goals and 17 assists) and forward Haley Frade, who has six goals and 14 assists this season. Carels has also been solid in her first year at the collegiate level, recording 19 points on 13 goals and six assists.
On the other end of the ice, goalie Sarah Bryant has struggled this season. She has allowed 2.82 goals per game while posting a .885 save percentage. The defense as a whole is in the lower portion of the Hockey East, giving up 3.20 goals per contest — good for seventh in the conference.
“Providence is a team that certainly has more talent than their record,” Durocher said. “They’re well coached, and we’ve got to keep it real simple. [Providence] will continue to play all the way through the game…We’ve got to make sure this time around that we’re ready for strong forwards that come to the net well.”
For the Terriers, Lefort looks to continue her strong play after scoring another goal against Harvard (19-3-3), extending her NCAA-leading mark to 27. She also notched her 20th assist of the season on senior captain Louise Warren’s goal.
Warren has continued to shine in her final season with the scarlet and white, tallying 22 goals and 15 helpers.
The two forwards have been a crucial part of the offense, putting together 49 goals this year. The rest of the Terriers have combined for 44. But with the line changes in the past few games, with Warren moving down to center the second line and Elia to play wing on the first line, Durocher said the offense has benefitted.
“The line changes have done well,” Durocher said. “We’ve scored seven goals and the other night a couple of lines scored. I’m just hoping a couple of other people can be contributors in goals. There’s plenty of people working hard, plenty of people competing out there but we’ve got to have more people to step up to support Sarah and Louise.”
With BU set to play at Agganis for the first and only time this season, Durocher said the team is ready to go and grab its 20th victory of the 2013-14 campaign.
“I know the kids will be ready to play, excited to play,” Durocher said. “We’ll definitely go forward and try and get win number to over [at Agganis].”