MINNEAPOLIS – Minutes into the No. 2 Boston University women’s hockey team’s game against the undefeated and top-ranked University of Minnesota, junior forward Marie-Philip Poulin fell to the ground.
The co-captain and team leader in points had taken a puck to the kneecap after she tried to block a shot by Minnesota defenseman Megan Bozek. For several seconds, while play continued to whirl around her, Poulin attempted to push herself up off the ice to no avail.
Finally, the whistle blew. BU’s trainer rushed out onto the ice and crouched down over Poulin who continued to writhe in pain and struggle to get up. After a few more seconds Poulin’s teammates, sophomore defenseman Caroline Campbell and senior defenseman Kathryn Miller, helped her get to the bench, where she proceeded to go down the tunnel.
“It’s a part of the game,” Poulin said in the press conference after BU’s 6-3 loss to Minnesota (41-0-0) Sunday night in Minneapolis.
What is not always part of the game, however, is a return to the ice, or, in Poulin’s case, having a huge impact on the game once you get out there.
The Beauceville, Quebec, native, who returned just minutes later, tallied two points during the game. More importantly, however, Poulin nearly put the Terriers (28-6-3, 18-2-1 Hockey East) neck-and-neck with Minnesota after a second period where the Gophers took a resounding 4-1 lead.
“[I] just thought I’d get back there for my team and for myself,” Poulin said. ”You want to be there for [your] teammates, and I wanted to be back on the ice and help my team.”
After making her way back onto the ice, and skating without any noticeable signs of injury, Poulin found her way onto the score sheet when she assisted freshman forward Sarah Lefort on the Terriers’ first goal of the game.
While that goal played an important part of the game, and cut the Gophers’ lead to 2-1, Poulin truly began to shine in the latter part of the game.
With only 12 seconds left in the second frame, Minnesota scored on the power play to put the Terriers down 4-1. What could have demolished the Terriers’ momentum, however, did not stop Poulin. Fewer than two minutes into the third period, Poulin fought back and, once again, helped the Terriers get to within two goals of the Gophers.
Thirteen seconds after BU went onto the power play, Poulin ripped a shot from the left circle to cut the score to 4-2. The goal was Poulin’s 19th of the season, and her team-leading 55th point of the year.
With about five minutes left in the game, Poulin’s biggest moment came when she attempted to put the Terriers within one goal of Minnesota. The forward slipped her way around a defenseman and took a shot on Minnesota goaltender Noora Räty. Unfortunately for Poulin, Räty, the Most Outstanding Player of the NCAA Tournament, pushed the shot aside.
On the resulting rush down the ice, Minnesota scored to give the Gophers a 5-3 lead. Nonetheless, Minnesota’s top player and the leading point scorer in the nation, Amanda Kessel, pointed out Poulin’s attempt as one that truly could have turned the game around for the Terriers.
For her efforts, Poulin earned a place on the All-Tournament Team roster. In fact, she was the only non-Minnesota player to make an appearance on that list.
After the game, however, Poulin did not focus on her own play. Instead, the junior, who will likely play in the Olympics for team Canada next year instead of the Terriers, focused on her fellow teammates and the effort they put into getting back into Sunday’s game.
“We know we have a great team and real amazing core and defense and for sure a great goaltender,” Poulin said. “We came out as a team, and I think we are all proud of each other that we stood up together.”