Ice Hockey, NCAA, Sports

Struggling offense stifles Terriers’ success

It is a challenge to win a hockey game with a slumping offense, and the Boston University women’s hockey team’s last three games were no different: the Terriers (11-11-1, 6-6 Hockey East) won the opener but lost the final two matchups against the University of Maine.

The Terriers played their first game of 2012 on Jan. 8 at Maine’s Alfond Arena, where they used goals from senior captain Jenn Wakefield and freshman forward Kayla Tutino to win 2-1.

The team’s defense was strong in the game, allowing only three shots in the first period and 24 total in the game. When she was called upon, sophomore goaltender Kerrin Sperry made the saves she needed to in order to win and did not allow an even-strength goal in the game.

“I thought we played a pretty thorough game. We did probably give up a few more shots than we like in the back half of the game,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “I thought our kids defended well and competed well enough to get a win in a tough place.”

Sophomore forward Marie-Philip Poulin returned to the lineup during the contest after missing the last 18 games with an injury to her spleen. Poulin made an instant impact in her first game back, notching an assist on Tutino’s game-winning goal.

Despite winning on the road, the Terriers lost the first game of the weekend at home 3-2 on Saturday. Poulin showed her offensive prowess again, scoring her first two goals of the season in the loss.

BU jumped ahead early in the game with Poulin’s first tally of the game, a power-play goal, that Wakefield and Tutino, the team’s two leading scorers, assisted on.

Early in the second period, the Black Bears (12-8-5, 6-6-1 Hockey East) tied the game at one with a goal from sophomore Kayla Kuluzny.

However, less than two minutes later the Terriers took the lead again with Poulin’s second goal of the game. The goal came off a rebound that resulted from a shot by senior defenseman Tara Watchorn.

Two goals in the third period gave Maine the control of the game though, and the Terriers never regained it thanks to a stingy Black Bear defense, which held BU to 22 shots, including just eight in the third period.

The Terrier offense could not find more success on Sunday despite peppering Maine goaltender Brittany Ott with 46 shots.

“[Ott] did a fantastic job,” Durocher said. “I said to our team before this game and after the last one, I think she’s one of the real underrated players in the game.”

The only two BU players to put the puck by Ott were junior forward Taylor Holze, who used a nice pass from fellow junior forward Cristina Wiley to set up her goal, and junior forward Jill Cardella, who used a carom off the boards from senior defenseman Carly Warren’s shot to net her fifth goal of the season.

Cardella’s goal brought the Terriers within one with fewer than five minutes remaining in the game, but two more goals from Maine – a short-handed goal from junior Brittany Dougherty and an empty-net tally from freshman Jennifer More – put the game out of reach.

Poulin did not play in the third game against Maine, as she suffered a shoulder injury in the game on Saturday. However, Durocher does not blame the loss on her absence from the lineup.

“We’ve got to do it with whoever’s in the locker room, whoever’s playing and we haven’t accomplished that,” Durocher said.

After the first two battles with Maine, the third matchup got rough, with each team registering nine penalties.

For Durocher, the penalties appeared to be an area that frustrated him the most.

“For my money, they just outworked us and we didn’t show any discipline,” Durocher said. “Maine outworked us and we didn’t have any composure.”

BU has lost seven of its last nine games, and only scored more than two goals once during that span. The Terriers will look to stop this recent losing streak quickly in a matchup with the University of New Hampshire on Thursday.

“[The team needs to work on] everything. We really need to get better at every facet of the game,” Durocher said.

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