Entering its weekend series against Merrimack College, the Boston University women’s hockey team ranked 7/8 in the nation.
The Terriers (17-5-3, 12-5-3 Hockey East) tied the Warriors (4-19-4, 1-15-4 Hockey East), 1-1, Friday night in the first game of a home-and-home at Walter Brown Arena. BU then traveled to Lawler Rink on Saturday afternoon and picked up a 6-3 win.
After the weekend series, BU now holds the second place in the Hockey East standings — trailing Northeastern by nine points, — while Merrimack sits in the basement of the standings in tenth place.
Friday: BU 1, Merrimack 1
Sophomore goaltender Kate Stuart got the nod to start for BU’s Friday night game, making 23 saves in the tie. She is 5-1-1 so far this season.
BU had an early opportunity to get on the scoreboard as Warrior sophomore defenseman Kiki Roust was whistled for tripping just 2:27 into the opening period. Merrimack was able to kill the penalty, but not without some pressure from BU. The Terriers generated some chances, but were limited to just two shots on net.
Despite not scoring on the power play, the Terriers were still able to strike first. At the 12:22 mark of the first period, redshirt senior defenseman Abbey Stanley put BU on the board off a shot from the top of the face-off circle for her first goal ofthe season.
Merrimack got a chance to even the score less than a minute later, and sophomore forward Mackenna Parker was whistled for tripping at 13:07 in the first period.
The Terriers were able to kill off the penalty and maintain their 1-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Both teams saw a power-play opportunity in the second period, but neither were able to find the back of the net, ultimately leaving the score 1-0 in favor of BU heading into the final period.
Penalties allowed Merrimack to tie the game up in the final period as BU found itself down a player three times; the Warriors were able to capitalize on their second power play in the third period to tie the game.
BU head coach Brian Durocher said penalties can derail a game plan.
“We use the expression ‘knowing how to close out a game,’” Durocher said. “We ended up taking three penalties in the third period … That’s six minutes of hockey that you [need] to kill penalties, and that is something that you don’t want to have in your plan.”
The first game of the series headed into overtime, where the score remained deadlocked as Merrimack handed the Terriers their third tie of the season.
Saturday: BU 6, Merrimack 3
When reflecting on the weekend series, Durocher said Saturday was an improvement over Friday night.
“We scored goals today, and that was a little bit of a struggle yesterday,” Durocher said. “We did create opportunities [yesterday], but we came back out again … frustrations can get you off your game, but the kids stayed on track.”
Junior goaltender Corinne Schroeder was back between the pipes for BU on Saturday afternoon after having Friday’s game off.
Schroeder made 13 saves in the win to give her a 12-4-2 record on the season.
The Terriers offense was buzzing early in the period, registering 19 shot attempts in the opening frame. Freshman forward Julia Nearis opened the scoring 8:33 into the first period. Nearis forced the turnover on the forecheck, was able to get around a Merrimack defender, skated the puck into the zone and shot it past the goaltender for her 10th goal of the season.
The Warriors answered less than four minutes later when junior forward Dominika Laskova went bar-down over Schroeder after receiving a centering pass from junior forward Kate Bukolska to tie the game at one 11:46 into the opening period.
Merrimack senior forward Natasza Tarnowski turned a mistake into a goal in the second period, but was called for slashing in the final minute of the first period.
The Terriers were able to successfully kill Tarnowski’s penalty, and just eight seconds later, she would find the back of the Warriors’ net to give BU a 2-1 lead with a short-handed goal when she came out of the box, stole a pass from the goaltender and fired it into the back of the cage.
On their second power-play opportunity of the game, the Terriers were able to pad their lead. BU junior forward Nara Elia had the initial shot down low and the rebound came right back to her, allowing her to get her own rebound and put it into the net to extend the BU lead to 3-1.
The final period of play saw a plethora of goals from both teams. Senior forward Deziray De Sousa, freshman defenseman Nadia Mattivi and senior defenseman Abby Cook all scored for the Terriers, while Merrimack stayed in the game as junior forward Courtney Maud and senior defenseman Chloe Cook both scored to give the Warriors some life.
BU was able to skate away with a 6-3 victory and earn a total of three points in the Hockey East standings over the weekend.
The Terriers are set to take on No. 3 Northeastern (20-3-1, 17-2-0 Hockey East) Tuesday night at Matthews Arena. Puck drop is set for 7 p.m.
Durocher said the team needs to improve on defense to stop a potent Huskies attack.
“[We’ve got] to be a little more thorough defensively,” Durocher said. “Don’t give up the rink in the middle very easily because that puts much more pressure on everybody’s defense.”