Ice Hockey, Sports

Fourth-ranked women’s hockey topples rival

It was a road win. It was a conference win. It was a rivalry win.

But for arguably the first time in program history, the No. 4 Boston University women’s hockey team’s 4-1 win over No. 8 Boston College on Saturday was not an upset victory.

Senior co-captain Gina Kearns said the win was one of the biggest she has ever experienced in her four-year career against BU’s rival from Chestnut Hill.

‘This was a little bit different,’ Kearns said. ‘When you look at the numbers, we’re a better team than [BC] right now. In the past, we’ve always been the underdog and always just hoped for the win, but [in this game] we knew we could win and knew what we had to do to get it.’

Kearns proved the Terriers (8-2-3, 5-0-0 Hockey East) had the upper hand from the game’s outset. Less than two minutes after the puck dropped, Kearns slammed home her seventh goal of the season ‘-‘- tying her with sophomore forward Lauren Cherewyk for the team lead ‘-‘- off a faceoff from the left circle in BU’s offensive zone.

After winning the faceoff, freshman forward Jenelle Kohanchuk fed Kearns, whose shot found the five-hole of BC goaltender Molly Schaus.

Ten minutes later, the lead doubled after a hooking penalty by BC junior forward Kelli Stack gave BU a man-advantage. While BC (8-3-2, 5-2-1) was defending shots by sophomore forward Holly Lorms and senior defenseman Sarah Russell, sophomore forward Jillian Kirchner was left open on the right side of the net, easily putting home BU’s second goal.

The second period saw the Eagles outshoot the Terriers 11-5, but it was to no avail ‘-‘- a testament to the outstanding netminding of senior goaltender Allyse Wilcox. Wilcox never gave BC much of a chance all game, making 24 saves.

‘[Wilcox was] fabulous as always,’ Kearns said. ‘She keeps us in every game, and we know when she’s in net we have a chance to win.’

Wilcox’s only misstep came with 17:01 left in the third period. Coming off a two-on-one break, BC junior forward Allie Thunstrom found Stack, who scored the Eagles’ first and only goal of the game.

BU answered 5:30 later on a Kohanchuk slap shot from just inside the blueline to give the Terriers another two-goal advantage. The puck seemed to have eyes the moment it left Kohanchuk’s stick, finding the lower left corner of the net.

‘I was getting tired. I was fatigued,’ Kohanchuk said. ‘I just shot it on net, hoping that everything would go in. It was pretty exciting because our team needed to get up on our lead.’

Kohanchuk later assisted on junior forward Melissa Anderson’s goal with just under five minutes to go to put an exclamation point on the BU victory.

In total, BU had four different goal scorers and seven different players earning points on the afternoon. By game’s end, BU dominated in all three zones of Conte Forum.

‘I think the optimum word is probably that it was a thorough win,’ BU coach Brian Durocher said. ‘We did a good job killing penalties. We scored a power-play goal. We got many individuals playing the game. We kept them to 25 shots. All are real, real good signs as a team effort goes.

‘[This win] sure continues to notify people that we have a pretty well-rounded team. It’s not just our goalie shutting the door or Melissa Anderson getting it done. We have Jenelle Kohanchuk, Gina Kearns, Kasey Boucher, Tara Watchorn, Sarah Appleton, Sarah Russell and all the way down the line. We’re getting a real thorough effort from everybody involved. That’s when you start to look and think you’ve got a pretty good hockey team here. I give the ladies a lot of credit. Nobody’s taken a shift off very often, if ever.’

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