The No. 15 Boston University women’s ice hockey team won its second consecutive game this past Sunday against the University of New Hampshire, 5-3, after coming back from a 2-0 first-period deficit.
Thanks to the heroics of sophomore goaltender Erin O’Neil and freshman forward Sammy Davis, UNH (1-8, 1-4 Hockey East) was no match for the Terriers’ (5-4, 4-1 Hockey East) resilience.
In the first period, the Wildcats struck first on a power play opportunity after junior forward Samantha Sutherland got called for tripping.
With about eight minutes remaining in the frame, sophomore forward Victoria Bach was awarded a penalty shot, but Wildcat netminder Vilma Vaattovaara made the stop.
Shortly after, BU was called for hooking on senior forward Jordan Juron, and UNH made the score 2-0 after its second power-play goal of the game. The Terriers were in the box a total of five times within the frame, including a too-many-men penalty at the end of the period, making it difficult to generate any offensive rush.
“I’m disappointed for a veteran team like we have that we’re not quite understanding how hard you have to work,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “We can’t rely on talent. We think the game is going to come easy. We started the game not playing as hard as we need to, and we had a real struggle all day with penalties.”
Following a tough first period, BU switched the momentum around and moved forward with a positive attitude.
After killing off the UNH power play at the beginning of the second, the Terriers got their first tally of the game from senior forward and captain Kayla Tutino and assisted by senior defenseman Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga and Bach.
“We had the answer developed,” Durocher said. “Focus, discipline and staying out of the penalty box, and we didn’t do a perfect job of that, but we did get the third goal of the game and made it 2-1.”
The Wildcats drew another penalty on junior defenseman Alexis Crossley for slashing. The Terriers killed the penalty, but a UNH goal would follow almost immediately after the kill, putting the Wildcats up 3-1.
Just over halfway into the second period, Davis beat Vaattovaara to narrow the UNH lead by one goal once again. Davis capitalized once more for the Terriers early in the third period, tying the score 3-3 for BU’s first of three third-period goals.
“We got a very timely goal by Davis on the bottom lefthand corner right as the power play was ending,” Durocher said. “Going into the third at 3-2, I felt like we had to be about as committed as we could be because we were going to let a game get away from us that was within our means to win.”
Bach got redemption with a goal of her own just over six minutes into the third frame, assisted by Tutino, who tallied three points in the game, and Ribeirinha-Braga, who notched the first three-point night of her collegiate career.
Junior forward Maddie Elia added an insurance goal for the Terriers over halfway into the final frame, making the final score 5-3 for BU.
O’Neil made several key saves in the second period to keep the Terriers in the game, completing a 36-save night and grabbing her third win of the season.
“She made three, four or five really big saves late in the second when it was 3-2, and the game could have easily turned in the wrong direction,” Durocher said of O’Neil. “She kept [UNH] at bay, and she did what she had to late in that second period to help us stay in the game.”
Durocher added, however, that the entire team needs to get better at going into every game assuming it will be a challenge.
“We have to understand that every game is not going to be easy,” Durocher added. “It’s going to be hard work and commitment, and we were a little soft in that area.”