The shots never stopped against Boston University women’s hockey senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry this weekend. Period after period during the Terriers’ home-and-home series against Providence College, the goaltender stopped puck after puck at each chance she had. Sperry could not be broken all weekend.
Though the Terriers (21-10-1, 14-5-0 Hockey East) were outshot by the Friars by a combined 76 to 41 margin, the North Reading native only let four goals slip past, with one that was a fluky deflection. Sperry’s consistency in net helped guide the Terriers during the weekend and also through their struggles in the month of January.
“[Sperry] carries us,” sophomore forward Rebecca Russo said. “She’s the backbone of our team right now. Great saves, always talking to us — ‘You guys have got to watch out for this and that.’ She’s awesome.”
BU coach Brian Durocher had nothing but praise for the netminder following Saturday’s 4-2 victory over the Friars (11-21-0, 6-13-0) at Agganis Arena.
“I think she was positionally very sound [Saturday],” Durocher said of the senior. “She wasn’t trying too hard. She wasn’t overplaying the puck, but was really stepping into shots, holding her ground with her feet pretty well. She made me feel like she was going to be there most of the day.”
In Saturday’s contest, Sperry kept the Terriers in the game when the Friars controlled the game for the majority of the second and third periods. Providence did end up scoring twice, but Sperry stopped 39 chances, many of them high-quality.
“I just got into the game,” Sperry said Saturday. “Sometimes you’re on, sometimes you’re off, and sometimes you’re really on. The pucks were pretty much bouncing my way so I felt good the whole game and things went the right way.”
Sunday afternoon, Sperry was back in form, stopping 37 chances. The Friars came out strong in the second period, but the senior goaltender managed to come away with an impressive 17 saves to preserve the BU lead, eventually helping the team hold on for a 3-2 win.
Sperry started off the season strong in net, led by a strong Terrier defense. Following some injuries, including a season-ending one to senior defenseman Shannon Doyle prior to the year, opposing teams began to get more opportunities on goal, leading to slightly inflated goaltending numbers despite her solid play. In 27 games between the pipes this season, Sperry has posted an 18-8-1 record with a .926 save percentage and a 2.34 goals against average.
Russo said Sperry’s play in net is a major contributor to the Terriers’ success.
“Sperry is an unbelievable goaltender,” Russo said. “In practice, you see it in her eyes, on the bench, on the ice, in the locker room. Just an overall fantastic job. She’s a great goaltender.”
As a senior on the team, Sperry has been counted on as a leader throughout the season. Durocher said he believes her leadership has helped the team move past its slide to start of 2014, just in time for the beginning of the postseason.
“Her leadership is good,” Durocher said. “She, like everyone else, has been trying to do the little things to fix it but over the course of January and February, we’ve had things creep in that didn’t happen before. We might have made some defensive mistakes, there might have been a goal or two that she would like to get back. We maybe didn’t kill penalties as well as we did before.”
While Sperry views herself as a leader on the team both on and off the ice, she said she is not the “rah-rah speech” leader that many in sports idealize.
“I’m more of a lead-by-example leader,” Sperry said. “Just trying to keep encouraging everyone. Trying to set the tone at practice by working hard. That’s really what a goalie can do. I don’t claim to know anything about offense or defense. All I can really do is stop the puck and make sure that everything that comes out of my mouth is there to inspire someone.”