Ice Hockey, Sports

Special teams imperative in women’s hockey second straight loss to Northeastern

Junior forward Victoria Bach scored a power-play goal for BU on Tuesday. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF
Junior forward Victoria Bach scored a power-play goal for BU on Tuesday. PHOTO BY JUSTIN HAWK/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

The story for the Boston University women’s hockey team this season has been the increased importance of special teams in scoring goals and winning games. This idea manifested itself yet again during Tuesday night’s game against Northeastern University, as the Terriers (3-3-1, 2-3 Hockey East) fell to the Huskies (6-2-1, 2-0 Hockey East) for the second time in a week.

This season alone, nine of the Terriers’ 27 goals have come from the power play, and they have gone nine for 42 on the power play overall. That makes their conversion percentage .214, though their opponents are only converting .089 percent of their penalties into goals.

The game featured plenty of action from both side’s special teams units, as early as just over a minute into play.

Northeastern senior Heather Mottau was called for slashing on senior forward Maddie Elia, giving the Terriers a chance to determine their fate early in the game.

However, the power play featured some rough offensive possession, with the first shot not coming until almost a minute and a half into the two minute minor. On a turnover at the blue line during the power play, the Huskies were able to take possession of the puck into their offensive zone, tallying their second goal of the game on a shorthanded opportunity at the 5:52 first in the second period.

“You’ve got to pick your spots sometimes and be a bit more thorough,” BU head coach Brian Durocher said. “Know that when the puck goes the other way, it’s not just the two defenseman back there. They caught us with a pretty good shot on the first one. It’s kind of a wash tonight to give up two there and the score too. That’s not good enough.”

This wouldn’t be the only time during the game that Northeastern would score a shorthanded goal on BU’s power play, however. With about five minutes remaining in the second period, Northeastern senior Hayley Scamurra was able to tally a goal after her teammate, senior Hayley Masters, received a slashing penalty.

The penalties kept on coming throughout the game for both teams. Fortunately, BU was able to capitalize on a few opportunities of their own, as a penalty on Mottau again for holding with just under 11 minutes into the first frame resulted in an Elia goal.

The Terriers were able to add another power-play goal in the second period, this time from junior forward Victoria Bach.

“I like our power play when we stick to the plan,” Durocher said. “We stuck to the plan probably three times. For us to do a good job and be one or two for six, which we were, that’s a nice number.”

The first and second periods of the game alone featured a total of 14 penalties between the two teams, split evenly. That’s a total of 14 minutes per period being played with one or more players in the sin bin.

For Durocher’s squad, it contributed to both offensive highs and defensive lows.

“The biggest thing was the two shorthanded goals by them,” Durocher said. “If you give up one, you’re not too happy, but to give up two, that was a really tough part of the game and a bad part of the game for us.”

Durocher expressed disappointment, but he’s not one to make excuses. He knows his team must perform better if they hope to secure a victory at No. 4 Boston College on Nov. 4.

“It just seemed like we were getting some calls that were a little bit tough,” Durocher said. “I don’t want anything to be a crutch other than we’ve gotta be a little bit better to have the four on our side and the three on their side.”

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