For the third straight season the No. 5/9 Boston University women’s hockey team has qualified for the NCAA Tournament.
Last season, the Terriers earned the at-large bid after winning the Hockey East regular season title. During the 2009-10 season and this season, however, BU earned the berth after taking the Hockey East Tournament title game in overtime.
On Sunday, the Terriers (23-13-1, 14-7 Hockey East) came back in the fading seconds of the third period to tie Providence College. At that point, BU had showered Friar netminder Genevieve Lacasse with 32 shots to no avail. After heading into overtime, neither team found the back of the net, leading to a second overtime.
Senior captain Jenn Wakefield, who also scored the game-tying goal, notched the game-winner 2:15 into the double overtime.
“I think it was an unbelievably hard-fought battle. Providence played a near perfect game,” said BU coach Brian Durocher after the title game. “I think it was a combination of momentum and also our talent.”
When BU won the title in 2010, the Terriers defeated the University of Connecticut 2-1 in a single overtime.
After defeating the University of New Hampshire, Boston College and the Friars in the Hockey East Tournament, three members of the BU team were named to the Hockey East All-Tournament Team.
Sophomore forward Marie-Philip Poulin, junior defenseman Kathryn Miller and Wakefield each earned the honor.
It was the first time Poulin and Miller have been named to the team. Poulin accumulated eight points during the tournament, including two goals against BC on Saturday.
Miller, who has 16 points in 37 games this season, earned four points during the tournament. The Milverton, Ontario native tallied two assists in each of the first two games of the tournament.
Meanwhile, Wakefield was placed on the All-Tournament team for the third time in her collegiate career. Wakefield had seven points during the tournament, including a hat trick during the quarterfinals and the game-tying and game-winning goals against Providence on Sunday.
Wakefield was also named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player.
“She’s a kid with talent, a kid with size and a kid with a competitive nature,” Durocher said. “She wants to score goals, she wants to win games and all those things add up to a very dangerous person, who not only helps our team, but I think quietly puts fear in the opponents most of the time.”
During BU’s 9-1 domination over New Hampshire in the quarterfinals, the Terriers scored three short-handed goals in a four-minute span of time.
Wakefield, Poulin and senior assistant captain Carly Warren’s short-handed tallies put BU up 8-1 in the third period of the win.
The effort marked a record for most short-handed goals scored during a Hockey East Tournament.
The Terriers lead the nation in short-handed goals with 13 this season. Freshman forward Kayla Tutino and Wakefield lead the team with three short-handed goals apiece.
After defeating Providence in the title game on Sunday, the Terriers move on to the NCAA regional round. BU was named the sixth seed and will face off against third-seeded Cornell University on Saturday in Ithaca, N.Y., at 2 p.m.
“I give a high percentage of credit to the Providence team and how well they played,” Durocher said. “But now we’re planning to go to Cornell, and we’ve got something to be real proud of.”
BU competed against the Big Red twice earlier this season in a series that the Terriers likely wish they could forget.
When they first met on Nov. 25, Cornell defeated BU 3-1. The next day, however, BU’s first-semester struggles were magnified in a 7-1 loss to the Big Red.
Since the teams last met, the Terriers have regained their health and seen a drastic change in success.
After a rough first semester, BU has gone 12-4 since coming back from the winter intercession. The Terriers currently find themselves in the midst of a seven-game win streak. They have not lost since they fell in overtime to Northeastern during the Beanpot Championship.
“I looked in the second half and thought we were in a position to make a run because the schedule seemed favorable,” Durocher said, “and the recovery of a couple student-athletes seemed like it was going to come about.
“Talent coming back makes a difference. The experience some of the players got while we had injuries went a long ways.”