By Gillian McMahon and Belle Fraser
The Boston University women’s hockey team (4-8, 3-7 Hockey East) headed to Burlington this weekend for an away-series against the University of Vermont Catamounts (8-5-1, 6-3-1 HE).
In Friday’s matinee matchup, the Catamounts hung on for a 2-1 victory over the Terriers despite a last chance effort to even the score.
Vermont brought the pressure right from puck drop, getting in the way of the Terrier rush throughout much of the first period.
The start to the game was an evenly fought defensive battle, though the Catamounts had more shots on goal. The Terriers’ first official shot on goal didn’t come until the 18-minute mark, a troubling sign for a team struggling to score.
The matchup was a true battle of terrific veteran goaltenders. On the BU side, graduate student goaltender Andrea Brändli has earned the starting spot and had 31 saves on 33 shots. For the Catamounts, junior goaltender Jessie McPherson saved 16 of the 17 shots that came her way.
The Terrier defensive effort looks committed to playing in front of Brändli, sliding to block shots, giving up their bodies and breaking up Catamount plays in the neutral zone.
The Terriers had a total of 30 penalty minutes on the afternoon compared to Vermont’s 12, which has been a major hurdle the team has faced all season long.
The first penalty kill was successful as they were able to clear the puck past center ice multiple times and prevented Vermont from setting up following a hooking call on freshman forward Clara Yuhn. However, as time expired on Yuhn’s penalty, junior forward Catherine Foulem was called for a 10-minute misconduct penalty for flipping the puck back at the referee after a tripping penalty was called on senior forward Brooke Ersoy.
Brändli kept the game even at 0-0 in the first period, stopping all 10 shots she faced.
Seven minutes into the second period, the Terriers had four straight minutes on the power play and collected a couple of shots from across the lineup but could not capitalize.
The Catamounts opened the scoring on the power play after an Esoy hooking penalty. Junior forward Natálie Mlynková found herself all alone in front of Brändli before tucking the puck into the back of the net.
A minute later, the Terriers responded. Freshman forward Sydney Healey scored a power play goal following a rebound right in front of the net. The play looked like it might have been a case of goaltender interference as Healey fell on McPherson, but the play was ruled a good goal.
Once again, in the third period, the opportunistic Catamounts took advantage of the Terriers’ mistakes. After a roughing call on Shaunessy, a second of chaos in the crease was all Mlynková needed for her second goal of the afternoon.
BU had quite a few chances in the third to even things up, including a final minute of six-on-four action, but it was not enough to tie up the score as the Terriers dropped their seventh game of their last eight competitions.
BU was back at it on Saturday for another matinee puck drop at Gutterson Fieldhouse, winning their redemption game 4-3 in overtime with the help of junior forward Lacey Martin.
Sophomore goaltender Callie Shanahan was between the pipes for the first time since the Oct. 28 loss against Merrimack and earned her first win of the season thanks to her team’s gutsy performance.
Once again, the Catamounts got on the board first, this time with a goal from graduate student forward Theresa Schafzahl. The shot came from the left faceoff dot and bounced through some bodies in front before hitting the back of the net at 8:28 for a 1-0 lead.
The Terriers then capitalized on two power play opportunities to take the lead by the end of the opening frame. An interference penalty on Catamount freshman defenseman Krista Parkkonen led to senior forward Julia Nearis’ fifth goal and tenth point of the year from down-low at 16:28.
Seconds after returning to full-strength, the Catamounts were sent back to the sin-bin for a cross-checking call on freshman forward Lara Beecher. Martin –– who has been a consistent chance-creator for her group –– carried the puck up the ice from the defensive zone, and snapped one home with just over a minute remaining in the period.
The teams were tied 2-2 headed into the third.
Humphrey got a tally with just over five minutes left in regulation, giving her squad a 3-2 bonus.
With six minutes remaining, Nearis dished a pass to junior defenseman Madison Cardaci, who dumped it in the goal to send the game to overtime.
Overtime was barely underway when Martin netted her second of the afternoon and secured the sudden-death victory for her team. Streaking down on the left side, Martin’s shot deflected off a Catamount in the crease and into the net.
The Terriers will have a change to continue this winning momentum when they travel to play the University of Connecticut on Nov. 18.
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