The Boston University women’s hockey team is back in action in Hockey East play this weekend with a home-and-home series against the University of Connecticut. The Terriers will travel to Storrs, Connecticut, on Saturday and play at home on Sunday.
BU (11-7, 8-3 Hockey East) is coming off a non-conference win against Ohio State University, in which sophomore forward Victoria Bach set a career high with four points. Senior forward and captain Kayla Tutino had two points of her own with a goal to open up the game, and an assist later on. Senior forward Sarah Lefort and sophomore forward Rebecca Leslie also chipped in a goal and assist apiece.
Sophomore goaltender Erin O’Neil received her tenth start against the Buckeyes (6-10) and her seventh win.
“I think that everybody felt we played pretty well both games this weekend,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “We generated opportunities and played sound defensively both days.”
The Terriers look to continue their performance this weekend against the Huskies (7-7-2, 3-4 Hockey East), who will face BU for the second time this season.
In their last meeting on Oct. 2, it was BU who grabbed the win in a dramatic fashion. Senior forward Rebecca Russo broke the 1-1 tie with 0.3 seconds remaining in the third period.
“This is a team that plays tremendous positional hockey,” Durocher said. “They’re very disciplined, very hard working defensively, and they have great goaltending.”
The Huskies have since gone on to win three of their last four games, including their most recent tilt against Merrimack University. Freshman Jordy Zacharias and defenseman Leah Lum are tied for the team lead in points with nine each, while senior Brittany Berisoff holds the lead in goals with five.
UConn currently ranks fourth in Hockey East, while BU is ranked second after Boston College.
Husky goaltender Elaine Chuli, who played in the previous game against the Terriers earlier this season, has appeared in 10 out of 16 games this season for UConn and has a save percentage of .953. Chuli has shared time with sophomore Annie Belanger, who has made six starts and has a save percentage of .918.
“Anytime you have a great goaltender, it’s screens, tips and deflections that are usually necessary,” Durocher said. “In a perfect world, you’d love to get a lead on this team because if you get ahead 1-0, then they’ve got to change their game a little bit and maybe take some chances. If it’s a tie game, they’re going to play as much defense as they have to rely on their goaltender and shot-blocking, and wait for opportunistic chances.”
Durocher said he is not sure who will play in net for the Terriers this weekend, but is happy with the way O’Neil performed between the pipes this past weekend.
“I’m not 100 percent certain,” he said. “We’ll see how everything goes practice-wise and make that call sometime on Friday.”
Last season, BU swept the Huskies in all three of their games. The Terriers are confident that they can repeat their efforts against UConn once again, but this time with a better start.
“Hopefully the kids are feeling good about the way they’re playing,” Durocher said. “Every day is a new day, so we’ll see what Saturday brings.”