The No. 3 Boston University women’s ice hockey team will attempt to move past a tough Beanpot opener loss to Boston College by staying busy this weekend, as the Terriers enter a stretch where they play Northeastern three times in five days.
BU (22-4-3, 12-2-3 HE) begins that schedule with its final home game of the season on Friday night. The Terriers plan to recognize senior forwards Lauren Cherewyk, Jillian Kirchner and Holly Lorms as well as graduate student defenseman Catherine Ward before the quartet’s final regular-season home game of their careers.
“It’s a sad but special time sometimes, playing your last home game at Walter Brown and knowing that there’s not the NHL in front of you,” BU coach Brian Durocher said. “Catherine Ward has come in for one year and has blended in with everybody not only as a player but as a leader and a person. Jillian and Lauren and Holly have certainly been three people who have been good friends and roommates, quality players from the beginning. As a group, they’ve been three forwards who have added speed, talent and a perseverance and leadership to our program.”
It will certainly be an emotional night for the Terriers who will not only celebrate their seniors but also rebound from a loss for only the fourth time this season. The Terriers are undefeated thus far following a loss and hope to continue that streak even without freshman phenom Marie-Philip Poulin, who is out with a fractured hand. But while losing is a bit unfamiliar for the Terriers, playing shorthanded is not.
“I like to think that we have a good volume of kids, plenty of talented kids,” Durocher said. “We have to continue to do what we’ve done during the year: play as well as we can with whoever is here.”
The Terriers will begin these three games against Northeastern by playing freshman Kerrin Sperry in net. BU will get its first glimpse of how Sperry responds to a loss on Friday night, as Sperry was undefeated in through the first 18 games of her career before the Terriers fell to the Eagles.
Sperry has been a reliable fixture between the pipes all season, and Durocher said he expects to see much of the same from the freshman despite her first loss.
“That’s something that’s a bit of a novel situation to her, obviously losing her first college game,” Durocher said. “But when you’re on long streaks and you’re nearing the playoffs, sometimes that’s not the worst thing in the world. We’re all human and it’s tough to run the table on a season.”
But running the table on the season is exactly what the Terriers are looking to do to the Huskies, as BU captured the first match-up between the two back in December when they shut out Northeastern, 3-0 at Walter Brown Arena.
After Friday night’s home finale, the Terriers will head down the block for a 2 p.m. matinee at Matthews Arena on Saturday. Huntington Avenue has been a friendly location for BU, as the Terriers have won their last eight games played there.
“Maybe there’s a little bit of a mental edge that our team feels good over there and that Northeastern is hoping that bad things don’t happen,” Durocher said. “I know we had a couple of nights over there where we didn’t play particularly well and somehow we found a way to get two late goals in a game and come up with a win. That stuff does stick in each other’s head, positively or negatively.”
Northeastern typically features Swiss junior Florence Schelling in net, but she has been out of the Huskies line-up recently because of a concussion. Senior goaltender Leah Sulyma is a more than adequate substitute for Schelling, so no matter who the Terriers face this weekend, they will have to be on top of their game.
“Our job is to continue to get the volume of pucks on net, continue to make good decisions with the puck, and obviously execute,” Durocher said. “Last Tuesday we did not execute very well over at Boston College. We had some real good opportunities that didn’t even become shots on net to put us in the 40 [shots on goal] range, and if that’s what we need to do to get the extra goal, I hope we’re up to the task.”