On the ascent after two rollercoaster weeks, the No. 6 Boston University women’s hockey team will attempt to end its first semester schedule on a positive note tonight at Walter Brown Arena against No. 9 Boston College.
Tonight’s contest, with Hockey East supremacy on the line, pits two nationally ranked teams that have been rather inconsistent of late. The Terriers, after riding a program record 10-game unbeaten streak, are 1-2-0 in their last three contests ‘-‘- 0-2-1 if the shootout win over the No. 7 University of New Hampshire is counted as a tie, as it is outside of the Hockey East standings.
While BU’s irregularity has come about recently, BC cannot make a similar claim. In their last nine games dating back to Nov. 1, the Eagles have a record of 4-4-1. In fact, BC alternated wins and losses for six straight games until a Nov. 28 tie against Princeton University broke the trend.
Although they have been inconsistent, BU and BC nevertheless find themselves atop the Hockey East standings. BC holds the top spot with 13 points. BU, despite playing in three fewer games than its maroon and gold counterpart, is in second place with 12 points ‘-‘- six of which have come from shootout wins.
The winner of tonight’s contest will claim first place until the teams resume play in January, adding yet another ingredient to what promises to be a spicy rivalry game.
BU coach Brian Durocher said he is hoping to take the top spot by playing a contrasting style to that of the Eagles.
‘I think we just have to make it a grinding game,’ Durocher said. ‘[BC] likes to be a little more of a run-and-gun team. I think they have got some people on the back end that we may be able to expose. We’re not going to beat teams 6-5. We’re going to have to beat teams in a hard-nosed battle.’
Durocher and his team applied this very same gameplan last time the teams met and came away with positive results. In a game in which tensions boiled over in the second period, resulting in a fight between the squads and four total roughing penalties, the Terriers skated to a 4-1 win backed by goals from all three members of the ‘K Line’ ‘-‘- senior Gina Kearns, sophomore Jillian Kirchner and freshman Jenelle Kohanchuk.
A fourth by junior Melissa Anderson sealed the victory. Senior goalie Allyse Wilcox had 24 saves on the afternoon, 11 of which came in the second period.
If BU hopes to repeat the success it had at Chestnut Hill, it must beat a team that has gained confidence after a pair of award-winning performances at the end of November.
Junior forward Kelli Stack won Hockey East Player of the Week honors after a weekend in which she scored the game-winning goal against Northeastern University on Nov. 30 and added assists on all three BC goals in a tie with Princeton University. Stack has been one of the best players in Hockey East all season long, ranking first in the conference in assists (14) and points (28) and third in goals (14).
Junior goalie Molly Schaus matched Stack’s honor by being tabbed the Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week after shutting out Northeastern and posting 25 saves against Princeton.
No matter the accolades of BC, Durocher said he is still positive that the Terriers can do all of the little things that go into winning hockey.
‘I’m confident that we have one more good performance in us,’ Durocher said. ‘[BC] can beat you even on a good day, so we’ve got to get some bounces. We’ve got to screen the goalie. We’ve got to do all the little things to get the job done.’