The Boston University women’s hockey team, having won just three of its last 12 contests, will look to pick itself up at home this weekend with a two-game set against the lowly University of Vermont.
The puck drops for the first game at 7 p.m. Friday, with the second half of the double feature set for Saturday at 3 p.m. Both games will take place at Walter Brown Arena.
The Catamounts (5-20-1, 3-10-0 Hockey East) might provide the Terriers (11-9-5, 8-6-0) with their best chance at back-to-back wins for the rest of the season. Vermont has dropped seven of the eight games it has played in January, and suffered two consecutive 5-0 losses to No. 6 Boston College last weekend. The Catamounts rest at seventh place in Hockey East heading into the weekend, trailed only by the University of Maine
Vermont, however, downed the Terriers on Dec. 5, 3-2, at Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, Vt. In that game, the Catamounts jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the middle of the second stanza, and BU never caught up, despite third-period goals by seniors Gina Kearns and Amanda Shaw.
Young players top the major statistical columns for the Catamounts. Freshman forward Erin Barley-Maloney leads the team with 15 points (6 goals, 9 assists), followed by sophomore forward Teddy Fortin with 14 points (6 goals, 8 assists).
Vermont junior goaltender Kristen Olychuck heads into the weekend with a .840 save percentage and a 4.18 goals-against average for the season.
Junior forward Melissa Anderson leads BU in points with 22, while freshman forward Jenelle Kohanchuk, who is second to Anderson in points with 20, will be out for the second straight weekend due to an illness, Durocher said.
The Terriers might hope for a little luck this weekend to guide their shots into the back of the opposing net and lift them out of their slump. BU has lost four of its last six games, despite outshooting opponents in each contest. While the Terrier offense has continued its aggressive attack, efforts have repeatedly hit barriers ‘-‘- including Leah Sulyma’s 31 saves for Northeastern University to shut out the Terriers, 2-0, on Jan. 8.
‘We’re a little tight offensively, [not] finishing and making the little extra move when we need to,’ BU coach Brian Durocher said of his team. ‘Scoring goals is a skill element, and maybe we’re falling a little bit short. But when you tie that in with being a little bit tight, it gets frustrating, and we can’t change the complexion of the game.’
As the weekend approaches, the Terriers head into crunch time for the season. Aside from an appearance in the Beanpot, six games remain on BU’s regular-season schedule ‘-‘- all against Hockey East foes. After holding onto first place for much of the season’s first half, BU now sits at fifth place in Hockey East.
Durocher said that his players remain unfazed by the current standings, and will continue to take the schedule one game at a time. He said he hopes his team can string together a few victories in order to move up in the standings and enter the playoffs with some momentum.
‘It’s a long season ‘-‘- they know it,’ Durocher said. ‘Most of these kids have been through it before. They’ve been a place in the standings and in the last week and a half or two weeks, you can jump two spots, three spots, whatever.
‘Hopefully our experience and knowledge will help us here and keep everybody on an even keel.’