A week and a half ago, the No. 6 Boston University women’s hockey team was riding a 10-game unbeaten streak. They were ranked No. 4 in the country, the highest ranking in program history. Simply put, life could not have been much better for the Terriers.
Then along came Yale University.
The Bulldogs caught the perhaps over-confident Terriers (8-3-3, 5-0-0 Hockey East) off guard, handing BU a 4-1 loss in New Haven, Conn., on Nov. 25.
The Terriers will look to prove that the heartbreaking loss was nothing more than a fluke when they face conference foes the University of Vermont (3-11-1, 1-4-0) today in Burlington, Vt., and the No. 7/8 University of New Hampshire (8-4-3, 4-1-2) on Sunday at Walter Brown Arena.
BU has plenty to be confident about, despite the loss. For the second month in a row, senior goalie Allyse Wilcox earned the Hockey East ITECH Goaltender of the Month Award. Wilcox was 2-1-1 in November with a .921 save percentage and a 1.97 goals-against average.
The Terriers have yet to drop a single game in conference play.
Vermont is coming off an 8-25-1 (4-16-1) season and the Catamounts have not fared much better this season. UVM’s only wins have come against lowly Union College (twice) and Quinnipiac University. The lone win in Hockey East came in a shootout on the road against the University of Maine ‘-‘- the same Black Bears squad that fell to the Terriers, 8-1, at Agganis Arena on Oct. 25.
Highlights for the Catamounts this season have come from a trio of underclassmen. Freshman forward Erin Barley-Maloney leads the team in goals with five. Sophomores Teddy Fortin and Peggy Wakeham are team leaders with six assists apiece. All three are tied for the team lead with nine points.
With 11 starts, junior goalie Kristen Olychuck has been UVM’s go-to netminder. Olychuck’s performance has been lackluster compared to her Hockey East peers, placing ninth in goals-against-average (3.73) and 10th in save percentage (.850) among goalies who have played at least one third of their team’s minutes.
The UVM-BU matchup will also pit Terrier freshman forward Jenelle Kohanchuk against former high school teammates Saleah Morrison and Kyleigh Palmer. All three attended Balmoral Hall School in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
The Terriers will have a day to rest before their third outing against New Hampshire this season.
BU’s first matchup against the Wildcats on Oct. 23 was an epic upset. The Terriers, then unranked, defeated the then-No. 4 ‘Cats, 3-2. BU followed up that victory with another huge win in an overtime shootout against New Hampshire on Oct. 30.
The Terriers rocketed into the national polls for the first time in program history after their two wins against the Wildcats, who will be looking for redemption in this weekend’s game. With the two teams so close in the polls, a lot will be riding on Sunday’s contest.
On paper, the teams are fairly even. UNH trails BU by a single game in non-conference play. Of the top 10 scorers in Hockey East, seven are either Terriers or Wildcats.
Sophomore Jenn Wakefield leads UNH with 19 points, while senior Sam Faber and junior Kelly Paton follow with 17 apiece. Sophomore Kayley Herman has done well for the Wildcats between the posts with a 1.74 goals-against average ‘-‘- good for fourth in the conference among eligible goaltenders.