For the Boston University women’s hockey team, the 2019-20 season was a story of peaks and valleys.
The peaks came when the Terriers were nationally ranked the entire season and when the team won its final regular season game to earn win number 24, the program’s most since winning 25 contests in 2014-15.
Much like a roller coaster, that peak quickly turned into the deepest valley of the season when the Terriers’ quest for a Hockey East title was cut short when they were swept on home ice by the University of Maine in the conference quarterfinals.
BU finished second in the Hockey East with a 18-6-3 record. Overall, the Terriers finished with a 24-8-4 record, placing them ninth in the NCAA national rankings.
BU head coach Brian Durocher said the team’s commitment to playing as a team helped them reach the regular season milestone.
“They set a new standard for themselves relative to wins in a season getting 24 wins,” Durocher said. “Certainly we all hoped and felt that we were going to eclipse that number, but obviously Maine came in and did a great job. I look at the body of work and the commitment that this team had, as really the strength and the best part of the season.”
The backbone of an impressive record comes from the stand-out performances of goaltending duo junior Corinne Schroeder and sophomore Kate Stuart. At the beginning of the season, Durocher said he was hoping to give Schroeder a lot of playing time, but also increase the time that Stuart sees the ice as well.
Schroeder earned Hockey East Goaltender of the Month in October and Hockey East Defensive Player of the Week for the week of Oct. 21. She concluded the regular season with a 16-7-3 record, .943 save percentage, 1.54 goals allowed per game and allowed just 41 goals total.
Stuart finished with a 8-1-1 record, .938 save percentage, 1.58 goals allowed per game and allowed 16 goals.
On why he did not split the two in terms of ice time the entire season, Durocher said that while he intended to give Stuart more chances, Schroeder was the number one goaltender.
“Corinne’s body of work this year, she did not panic or stress out,” Durocher said. “Kate’s side, she distinguished herself as a kid who put up great numbers, had a super save percentage. Both of them are catching my attention.”
Another duo that will be back next season for the Terriers are defenseman Nadia Mattivi and forward Julia Nearis, two freshmen that made their presence felt this season.
The Italian defender found herself right at home here at BU, as she began making an immediate impact on the defensive end of the ice.
Mattivi tallied five goals and eight assists her rookie year, ranking her fourth in the league for rookie defenders. She finished second among Hockey East rookie defenders in plus/minus at plus 17, and was named to the Hockey East All-Rookie Team for the 2019-2020 season.
Durocher said that it helped that Mattivi was able to play all three aspects of the game, including special teams, and that her skill stood out.
“I think she was a very noticeable kid out there most of the time with her size and her reach and her offensive hand skills,” Durocher said.
Nearis, a Massachusetts native, earned her spot at third among Hockey East rookies with 12 goals. Nearis earned Hockey East Rookie of the Week for the week of Nov. 11.
Both players impressed Durocher this season, and he said that they are both going to be counted on again next season.
A big loss for BU this offseason will be their senior class. Eight seniors will be leaving big skates to be filled on the front and back end of the ice.
Despite the talent that will be leaving this BU team, the future looks promising as rising senior forwards Jesse Compher, Kristina Schuler, Rachel Allen and Nara Elia have proven that they can take on the pressure and leadership qualities.
Even with their experience on the ice, Durocher said it still falls on the coaching staff to prepare the rising senior class to be leaders.
“Now the challenge with new leaders and new captains is that we as coaches have to educate them, try to use some of the resources around campus as far as leadership skills and self evaluate what you may be good at,” Durocher said.
The Terriers raced through the regular season and Durocher said he is proud of their achievements, despite the short postseason run.
“I send compliments to the team for how prepared they were,” Durocher said, “ and how much of a solid season they put forth despite not bringing home a trophy along the way.”