After finally earning a win over the weekend, the Boston University women’s hockey team will attempt to build up momentum in a tilt against No. 4 Boston College tonight at 7 p.m. in Walter Brown Arena.
The Terriers (12-12-1, 7-7-0 Hockey East) have struggled to compete for the full 60 minutes of play and have lost eight of their last 11. According to BU coach Brian Durocher, the team’s ability to perform for the entire game will constitute one of the most important factors in the outcome against the Eagles.
“We just want to make sure we play a good 60 minute game,” Durocher said. “We’ve been a little negligent in that department. We did a real good job against [the University of] Vermont in our most recent game so hopefully that carries over.”
During the game against Vermont on Jan. 21, BU had an offensive outburst, winning the conference matchup 6-2. The Terriers had not scored more than five goals in a game since Oct. 15 when they defeated Union College 6-2.
BU started the scoring early with a goal by senior captain Jenn Wakefield just 1:33 into the first frame. Less than two minutes later, junior forward Jill Cardella tacked on to the score. The Catamounts cut BU’s lead in half at the end of the frame to make the score 2-1 going into the first intermission.
During the second period, Vermont would score again to tie the game. However, the Catamounts would not find the back of the net for the rest of the contest.
Halfway through the frame, Wakefield scored her second goal, what would become the game-winning tally. Freshman forward Kayla Tutino followed that up with a slick move to create a goal of her own at 12:46.
Junior forward Isabel Menard added on her 99th point of her career on a power-play goal during the third before Wakefield completed her first career hat trick to finish off the game.
Wakefield’s hat trick could serve as an important stepping stone for the Terriers. While the Pickering, Ontario native has lead the team in goals and assists, Wakefield has not had a multi-goal game since the Oct. 15 games against Union.
“It was somewhat of a prolonged . . . not drought, because Jenn was still producing points,” Durocher said. “But when you look at somebody who’s pushing a goal and a half to two goals per game, there were an awful lot of games where she would grab an assist, maybe get a goal but it really didn’t break out.
“Like our team, Jenn is an individual who probably will play better when the confidence gets high and having something like that happen probably aided her in picking up some renewed confidence and putting her and the team in a better mindset.”
Unlike BU, the Eagles (18-6-2, 11-2-2 Hockey East) have not lost in six straight contests. Most recently, BC defeated the University of Connecticut 3-1 on goals from three different players.
One of the major components for the Eagles’ success has been the performance of freshman Alex Carpenter. Carpenter leads the Eagles with 13 goals and 25 points in her 22 games with BC.
“We’ll try to have one or two of our experienced lines up against her,” Durocher said. “When you play against a top player like that everyone has to bear down a little bit more and not let her beat you early in the play.”
When BU last faced off against the Eagles in November, the teams split a home-and-home series, the Terriers winning at Conte Forum before BC took the game at Walter Brown.
In the first game of the series, BU got on the board halfway through the first when Wakefield scored the 100th goal of her career. Four Terriers went on to score in the 4-1 victory.
During the next game, Carpenter sparked what would become a three-goal second period. Despite a goal at the end of the third by Cardella, the Terriers were unable to overcome the deficit.
According to Durocher, the games from earlier in the season are not altogether that important for BU.
“You can take what’s happened in the past and put it aside,” Durocher said. “Certainly we beat each other on each others’ rinks. Maybe this time we’ll be able to protect home ice.”