Ice Hockey, Sports

Women’s Hockey Preview

The Boston University women’s ice hockey team will travel to Chestnut Hill this Saturday to battle Boston College for the third installment of the Green Line Rivalry this season.

The game this weekend will not only be the finale of the regular season series between the Eagles (20-7-3, 12-5-1 Hockey East) and Terriers (15-10-6, 12-6-0), but also a key Hockey East matchup that could determine who will win the conference title. Just four points separate the top four teams in the Hockey East. BC and BU are second and third in the conference, respectively.

Both the Terriers and the Eagles will have to win their final three games of the regular season in order to have a chance at winning the Hockey East crown. They also must count on the first place team in the conference, the University of New Hampshire (17-5-5, 12-2-3), losing at least three of its final four games to give themselves any hope of taking the number one spot at the end of the season.

A win this weekend will certainly help whichever team is the victor. Losing is simply not an option for whichever team wishes to carry the Hockey East banner to the NCAA playoffs this March.’ ‘

The rivalry between BC and BU has gone back and forth on the women’s side. The last time these two teams played, the Eagles caught the Terriers out in the open. BU could not come up with an answer to the potent BC offense that completely blew away the Terriers in a 5-0 rout at Walter Brown Arena. Prior to that on Nov. 22, BU stifled the Eagles, 4-1, at Chestnut Hill.

It is clear that the two teams have underestimated each other at times this season. After suffering such upsetting losses to each other, it is probable that both teams will be ready for anything in their matchup this weekend.’ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘

‘I think that what we have to do is prevent scoring runs,’ BU coach Brian Durocher said. ‘[Boston College] has a great goaltender and dynamic forwards. What we need to do is avoid runs by them. If they get a goal, we have to lock down the hatch.’

The Terriers did just that in the Beanpot consolation game against Northeastern University on Tuesday. BU held the Huskies to just 18 shots on goal for the entire game. Junior Melissa Haber stopped all but one shot to let her team escape with a 2-1 win.’ ‘

Jenelle Kohanchuk made it clear on Tuesday, her first game back for the Terriers after missing several weeks with injury and mononucleosis, why BU needs the scoring power of its standout freshman. After the Terriers went down, 1-0, to the Huskies in the first period, Kohanchuk powered a goal into NU’s net to tie the game less than a minute later.’

Kohanchuk has 10 goals and 22 points in just 23 games for the Terriers this season, and has been essential to their offensive output. The freshman is part of the ‘K Line,’ alongside senior Gina Kearns and sophomore Jillian Kirchner. Kohanchuk’s gift for finding the net is one reason why this line has been such a high-powered trio in most of its games this season.

The Terriers will need Kohanchuk to produce on offense this weekend if they want to beat the Eagles.

BU may also have to call on its senior captains, Kearns and Sarah Russell, to step up in a big way on Saturday if the team wants to keep its playoffs hopes alive with a win over the Eagles. Kearns and Russell have been pivotal all season for the Terriers. Kearns is first in goals this season for her team, and Russell had the game-winner in the final minutes of last Tuesday’s game.

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