The offensive woes of the Boston University women’s hockey team continued this weekend as the Terriers lost both games of a home-and-home series with Providence College by the scores of 2-0 away on Saturday and 2-1 at Walter Brown Arena on Sunday.
Midway through the first period of Sunday’s contest, the Terriers (11-9-5, 8-6-0 Hockey East) appeared to have corrected their offensive shortcomings of late.
Seven minutes in, senior forward Erin Seman scored BU’s first goal of the weekend with a backhanded shot in the midst of a scrum in front of the net. Although not considered a power-play goal, Seman’s eighth tally of the season was scored one second after a PC (14-10-2, 9-3-1) penalty had expired.
Even with five minutes to go in the first, the Terriers led the Friars in shots, 8-3. However, with only 40.5 seconds left on the clock, a shot by sophomore PC forward Jean O’Neill found the left side of the net after the puck slid in front of the crease to O’Neill’s stick, and BU junior goalie Melissa Haber, who was on the right, could not react in time.
A checking penalty on BU junior Melissa Anderson in the second allowed the Friars to keep the momentum rolling, as senior forward Katy Beach utilized the man advantage to score what proved to be the game-winning goal six minutes into the second frame.
After receiving a pass from senior teammate Erin Normore in the neutral zone, Beach managed to evade the left side of the BU defense and stuff home a wrist shot from two feet in front of the crease.
The Terriers did not go quietly, however, as the final two minutes appeared eerily similar to PC’s previous visit to Walter Brown. In the previous contest, a Friar penalty, combined with a pulled goalie, created a six-on-four situation that allowed senior forward Gina Kearns to score the game-tying goal with only 11 seconds left. BU went on to win in a shootout.
This time around, the PC penalty was there, the six-on-four was there, but the goal, unfortunately, was not. Friar freshman goalie Genevieve Lacasse faced a barrage of shots during the last minute and a half, but stopped almost everything that came her way. The only shot that evaded Lacasse again came from Kearns, but this time, it hit the crossbar.
BU coach Brian Durocher said he believed that the tenseness of his players, combined with a bit of bad luck, is the main cause for the recent offensive downturn.
‘We’re tight,’ Durocher said. ‘When you’re tight, you don’t quite hit the top corner. Gina had a beautiful chance there late in the game, and it just hit the top crossbar. Maybe on another day, she only gets three-quarters as good a shot, but it finds its way into the net.
‘An average goalie stops about 90 percent of the shots, so you only score once every ten shots. And if all of a sudden, you don’t score every ten or you’re not scoring through seventy shots, it starts to get in your head a little bit.’
Saturday’s game may have been just the thing to rattle the cage of the Terriers. Despite outshooting PC in every period (12-11, 9-6 and 13-8, respectively), BU failed to muster a single goal. It took two Friar goals in the third period ‘-‘- one by Beach and one by fellow senior forward Mari Pehkonen ‘-‘- to break the scoreless tie. Lacasse was flawless in net, stopping all 34 BU shots.
Further crippling BU’s offensive scheme is the loss of freshman forward Jenelle Kohanchuk to mononucleosis. According to Durocher, Kohanchuk, BU’s second leading scorer (9 goals, 11 assists), will not return for another three weeks. In the meantime, Durocher has moved senior Amanda Shaw up from defense to left wing to combat the loss.