Ice Hockey, Sports

Terriers cleaning up against Hockey East foes

After a full month of play, the No. 7 Boston University women’s hockey team still hasn’t lost in conference play.

The Terriers sit atop the Hockey East standings with a 4-0-0 record and eight points. No. 4 Boston College holds the No. 2 slot in Hockey East with a 3-0-1 record, trailing BU by just one point due to its shootout loss to the No. 6 University of New Hampshire.’

BU’s success against Hockey East foes has been due in part to its two shootout victories last week. The first came last Thursday against UNH, the defending Hockey East champions. The second came last Saturday against Providence College at Walter Brown Arena.

Since in-conference shootout wins count in the Hockey East standings, last week’s games are key steps in the Terriers’ quest for a top seed in the conference tournament.

BU will undoubtedly be tested, as the vast majority of its remaining games will pit it against Hockey East opponents.

Most difficult will be matchups against the conference’s other two nationally ranked teams: BC and UNH. The Terriers have played David to UNH’s Goliath in the teams’ first two meetings of the season, but the Wildcats will surely be out for blood when they visit Walter Brown on Dec. 7.

The Terriers have not yet faced BC this year, but they will try to topple the Eagles in Chestnut Hill on Nov. 22. After that game, the Terriers are scheduled to meet BC in two more contests that will count toward their conference record.

Wilcox earns goaltending honors

Senior goaltender Allyse Wilcox earned Hockey East Pure Defensive Player of the Week honors Monday and was named Hockey East ITECH Goaltender of the Month by the league office Tuesday.

The flood of honors is well timed. She dominated during the month of October, posting a 1.95 goals-against average and a .931 save percentage. Last week, she shut down UNH and Providence in games decided by shootouts. Wilcox recorded a season-high 34 saves in an Oct. 30 shootout win at UNH.

Wilcox has been a rock in goal all season, playing a pivotal role in the Terriers’ early success and helping the team capture its first-ever national ranking. She has not lost against ranked opponents, and her 2-0-2 record in those games has been crucial to BU’s rise in Hockey East.

Success is nothing new for Wilcox, who has been a key component of the Terrier equation since starting as a freshman. As a junior last year, she was named to the All-New England Division-I All-Star Team after posting a 1.96 goals-allowed average and a .925 save percentage.’

‘We have the best goalie in the league,’ BU coach Brian Durocher said at the start of the season.

Wilcox has done nothing to disprove her coach’s claim.

Terriers to host Frozen Four at Agganis

For the first time ever, Boston University will play host to the NCAA Women’s Hockey Frozen Four on March 20 and 22, 2009. The top four teams in the nation will face off at Agganis Arena to make a run at a national championship.

Three teams have held a monopoly over the last 10 national titles: the No. 8 University of Minnesota-Duluth (4 titles), the No. 2 University of Minnesota (3), and No. 1 University of Wisconsin (2).

Now that BU has achieved its first-ever national ranking, the possibility of the hometown team playing in the Frozen Four has to be lingering in the back of the Terriers’ minds. Their performances against ranked teams this year have provided enough encouragement to make the Frozen Four something for BU to pursue.

The season is young, and the Terriers still have plenty to prove. The road to a Frozen Four appearance will be a much longer and more difficult one than the Terriers have had to travel in their three previous seasons as a D-1 team. They reached the Hockey East playoffs for the first time last year and were quickly ousted in an 8-0 loss to top-seeded UNH.

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