Ice Hockey, Sports

These Terriers have a flair for the dramatic

As if there were any other way.

By nabbing what turned out to be a shootout victory from the jaws of defeat with 11 seconds left in the third period of Saturday’s game against Providence College at Walter Brown Arena, the No. 7 Boston University women’s hockey team did what it has done all season: come through in the clutch.

With few exceptions ‘-‘- most notably BU’s 8-1 drubbing of the University of Maine on Oct. 25 ‘-‘- most of the Terriers’ games thus far have been textbook definitions of nail biters: down to the last minute, every possession critical and one mistake away from blowing an entire game’s worth of solid play.

Fortunately for the Terriers, they have ended up on the positive side of such situations more often than not.

Saturday, when senior forward Gina Kearns tied it up with 11 seconds remaining and fellow senior forward Erin Seman’s shootout goal gave BU two quality points in the conference, was only the latest example.

Before the season officially started, the Terriers defeated Dawson College in overtime. That set the precedent.

Once the season was underway, BU overcame a 2-0 deficit going into the third period with three goals in the final frame to defeat then-No. 5 Mercyhurst College. Later, against the then-No. 4 University of New Hampshire, a BU goal with nine minutes remaining gave the Terriers their first Hockey East win of the year. Last Thursday, it took another clutch performance in a shootout to defeat the Wildcats on the road.

In sum, seven of BU’s 10 contests have been decided by one goal or less. Its record in those games is 4-0-3. Including shootout wins, which count in conference play but are not recognized by the NCAA, the record improves to 6-0-1.

Going forward, the Terriers are confident this trend will only help their chances both in Hockey East and in the national rankings.

‘It’s definitely giving us experience. You definitely need that sense of urgency to get the goal late or to come back and tie it. These close games have definitely given us that,’ Kearns said.

‘The confidence you gain from this is very positive. Without a doubt, it helps if you can get a positive mental state, and we’ve got it right now with the five or six games we’ve had success [in key situations] and then this one on top of it,’ BU coach Brian Durocher said.

‘I think that the last few games have proved that when it matters, we have finally learned to finish,’ Seman said.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

It was not always this way, however. Last season, BU had 11 games that were decided by one goal or less and held a record of 4-4-3 in those contests, already matching this season’s win total in close games.

‘Last year, we weren’t so lucky,’ Seman said. ‘Maybe if we did make it into overtime or just missed overtime we could have finished. We were given a lot of opportunities, but now we’re finding the back of the net. I think that’s something we lacked in the past couple years.’

One possible explanation for the turnaround is the newfound depth for the Terriers this season. Eleven different players have scored goals thus far. Game-winning goals have come from four different sources.

In a time when ‘spreading the wealth around’ is a hot-button issue, there is no debate when it comes to BU women’s hockey.

‘We only had a few people who continued to score, but now we can look for goals from pretty much anywhere. We can count on several different girls to pull through instead of hoping one or two people are going to save our butts,’ Seman said.

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