Before even touching the ice this season, the No.7 Boston University women’s hockey team faced adversity. Top forwards Jenelle Kohanchuk and Marie-Philip Poulin were lost to graduation and the Olympics, respectively, while top defenseman Shannon Doyle was lost before the year began to a season-ending injury.
Despite all of the personnel changes this season, however, the Terriers were able to continue their success on the ice this weekend, tying Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 2-2 and winning a 3-2 thriller over Union College in their first two games of the year.
“Obviously, it was two really close games,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “I was impressed with our defensive effort, which was pretty solid. Both games got a little bit away from us in the third period.”
In the first game of the road trip, the Terriers (1-0-1) took on RPI (1-2-1) in Rensselaer, N.Y.
BU came out firing early and got on the board at 2:42 in the first period. Sophomore forward Jordan Juron notched the first goal of the season when she took the puck from the blue line and made a pass to the goal line to her classmate, forward Rebecca Russo. Russo passed it back to Juron who wristed it by goaltender Kelly O’Brien.
The Terriers put 12 more shots on net but could not get any more past O’Brien again in the period.
Senior goaltender Kerrin Sperry made 12 saves in the frame, but she could not stop forward Alexa Gruschow at the 11:46 mark. Gruschow was able to put one by Sperry, knotting the game at one.
Although BU went without a goal on the man-advantage in the first period, it would score just 34 seconds into the second period while on the power play. This time it was Juron assisting Russo for the goal. Juron took the puck from behind the net and fed Russo in front of the goal, who shot it over O’Brien giving the Terriers a 2-1 lead.
“I think the one line that really sticks out this weekend is the play of the three sophomores: Rebecca Russo, [forward] Dakota Woodworth and Jordan Juron,” Durocher said. “They’ve been really good in practice and very good in the first games.”
Throughout the rest of the period, the Terriers were able to record eight more shots while the defense held strong, allowing only three toward Sperry with none getting by her. The Terrier advantage remained 2-1 heading to the third.
The third period saw a swing in the game, as Rensselaer went on the attack. The Engineers put 14 shots on net, while BU could not get any sort of sustained looks in the frame and saw only three chances.
Sperry held strong for most of the period, but at the 12:15 mark, the Engineers evened the score. Forward Taylor Mahoney deflected a shot from Madison Marzario in front of Sperry to tie things up at two.
Forward Lauren Walsh nearly won the game for the Engineers in the final seconds, but Sperry made two saves in a row, keeping the game tied and sending it to overtime.
The Terriers almost won in the final seconds of overtime during a scramble in front of the net but could not score, as the game finished in a 2-2 tie.
“We just tried to play our game,” Durocher said. “We tried to remain really competitive and tough around our net. I think this year we will need to be diligent and not assume we’re going to score four or five goals a game.”
The next night, the Terriers took on Union (2-3) in Schenectady, N.Y. for their second game of the road trip.
On the power play, Juron set up Russo again, this time in the slot as Russo drilled it by goaltender Shenae Lundberg for a 1-0 lead at 10:59.
BU did not add another goal in the period, but the Dutchwomen were able to even up the score, as forward Christine Valente was able to scoop up a loose puck and put it past Sperry at 17:54.
In the second frame, the Terriers were able to control the puck, firing 13 shots to the Dutchwomen’s four, but they could not break the tie.
During the third period, the Terriers again came out roaring with 19 shots and nearly went ahead when Russo shot the puck past Lundberg, but it hit the crossbar and deflected away.
At 7:01, the Dutchwomen were able take the lead when Rebecca Babiak put a rebound past Sperry.
With the score 2-1 in the dying seconds of the game, the Terriers tied it up in dramatic fashion. Sperry went to the bench in favor of an extra attacker. Senior defenseman Kaleigh Fratkin took a shot from the point which bounced out for senior forward Louise Warren to put in the net at 19:28.
Although they settled for a tie against RPI, the Terriers were able to come away with the win against Union in overtime. At 3:13 in the extra period, Juron won the faceoff in the offensive zone, which set up another chance for Russo, who put the puck under Lundberg’s pads for the winning goal.
“It’s a long season, and sometimes you forget what happens at the beginning of the year.” Durocher said. “Any time as a team you get a good bounce, you find a way to deal with adversity. Not only to tie the game up but to win it is doubly good for everyone in the positive.”