Ice Hockey, Sports

Defensive mistakes, puck possession cost women’s hockey against No. 2 BC

Senior defenseman Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga and the rest of the BU defense could not stop the Eagles’ trio of goal-scorers. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/DFP FILE PHOTO

It was all work and no play for the Boston University women’s ice hockey team this Saturday against No. 2 Boston College.

While the Terriers (6-5, 4-2 Hockey East) started the game off right, earning the first goal just over six minutes into the game, mistakes in their own zone and limited puck possession in the latter half of the game would ultimately determine a positive outcome for the undefeated Eagles (11-0, 5-0 Hockey East).

“Our biggest problem with the defense is that we weren’t very strong on the puck,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “They were pickpocketing us.”

Examples of this occurred throughout the game, especially in goal-scoring situations for the Eagles. Late in the first period, BC grabbed its second goal of the game by taking the puck in BU’s offensive zone and skating it all the way down the ice. Senior Dana Trivigno used the boards to create one of many 2-on-1 opportunities for the Eagles, and senior defenseman Lillian Ribeirinha-Braga was down and out of the play, causing senior Lexi Bender to have an open shooting lane past sophomore goaltender Erin O’Neil.

The Terriers also struggled on their own power play late in the second frame and early in the third, giving up two shorthanded goals.

“We had two power plays, we were soft on the puck, they pickpocket us, they got on and they score and changed what was a competitive game into a real mess,” Durocher said. “They just piled on with the last three goals after that because they’re a talented team.”

Lack of strong puck possession in the offensive zone during these power plays gave BC the chance to generate more goal-scoring chances. The Eagles’ ability to skate the puck out of their own zone at a quick pace gave them an edge over the Terriers.

The third period was the roughest stanza for BU, as BC scored four straight goals in the frame. The Terriers had a tough time taking control of the puck in their own zone, as well as defending the open ice that the Eagles created.

On the final goal of the period, sophomore center Victoria Bach could not get the puck out of the BU defensive zone, handing it over to BC forward and reigning Patty Kazmaier Award-winner Alex Carpenter, who fed it in front for freshman Makenna Newkirk for her first collegiate hat trick. The Terrier defense left Newkirk open on the right side, giving way to yet another goal for BC.

“We were real strong, real thorough, as the game got on they got stronger,” Durocher said. “A lot of it is just stick on stick stuff. We just [have] to be a little quicker and keep our composure.”

The Eagles outshot the Terriers in all three periods, demonstrating the dominating offense that has led them to a top-five national ranking. Erin O’Neil faced 45 shots on net, while BC goalie Katie Burt faced only 21.

The Terriers hope to put this game behind them and put up a better front when it comes to winning battles in their own zone. With another game against the Eagles coming up on Tuesday night, Durocher emphasized the importance of stifling the BC offense.

“[BC] is going to get opportunities offensively,” Durocher said. “You’re not going to shut them down. We started losing some battles that we could have won. I’m not quite sure if this was an 8-1 game for them, but I give them credit.”

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