Just over a year ago, the Boston University women’s hockey team headed to the Hyannis Youth and Community Center to participate in the semifinal round of the Hockey East Tournament. After a game against Boston College in which BU held a lead from the early moments of the contest, the Terriers fell behind Providence College 1-0 in the conference championship.
With fewer than 10 seconds left in the game, it looked as though BU’s chances of winning its second Hockey East Tournament title were squashed. That is, until then-senior forward Jenn Wakefield picked up a rebound and put it by the Providence goaltender with just 7.3 seconds left in the game to send the contest into extra play. Wakefield repeated her heroics in the tilt’s second overtime, scoring the game-winning goal and allowing BU to take home the Hockey East title.
“For those who think there’s no luck involved in sports, well, I’ll show them that video,” said BU coach Brian Durocher. “Show them that you do have to have maybe the hockey gods with you once and a while late in a game, and certainly in that second OT.”
The top-seeded Terriers (24-5-3, 18-2-1 Hockey East) will look for that luck once again this year as they head back to Hyannis for the semifinal round of the Hockey East Tournament, where they will take on a familiar foe in fifth-seeded Providence (15-15-5, 8-10-3 Hockey East) Saturday at 12:30 p.m.
BU, which won the Hockey East regular season title, earned its trip to the semifinal round after defeating the University of Connecticut at Walter Brown Arena 5-1 last weekend.
The Terriers head into Saturday’s contest against the Friars after having swept Providence during the season series. Over the course of three games, all of which took place in a three-week span from mid-November to the beginning of December, BU outscored the Friars 17-8.
While BU has swept the season series from several of its conference opponents this season, the Terriers did struggle the only other time they faced an opponent for the fourth time in a season. After defeating Northeastern University in each game this year, including a weekend series just before the Beanpot Tournament, the Terriers fell to Northeastern 4-1 during the semifinal round of the Beanpot. That loss marked the first of two defeats BU suffered during its season-high two-game losing streak.
According to Durocher, however, the situation with Providence is different from the one the Terriers faced against the Huskies.
“One of the differences is that we got a lot more time to let all the games we’ve played against Providence settle, and certainly be a little more in the rearview mirror,” Durocher said. “Truth be told, we can’t afford to have any letdowns. We know they’re a real good team, and a team that we haven’t seen in a long time.”
After defeating the fourth-seeded University of New Hampshire this past weekend, the young Friars squad will enter Saturday’s contest with some momentum after a comeback, overtime win.
New Hampshire (14-16-4, 10-8-3 Hockey East) held a lead of as much as three goals over Providence during the quarterfinal game. Providence’s three-goal third, however, evened out the score, and a goal by sophomore Beth Hanrahan put Providence over the edge, sending the team to the semifinals.
“Anytime you play a young team later [in the season], usually they’re just that much more mature, and have a little more experience,” Durocher said. “We’re going to find Providence to be that way.
“Anytime they come off a win, I wouldn’t call it a monumental upset, but if a five team beats a four team, they’ve got to be playing with confidence.”
If BU manages to defeat Providence, the Terriers will head back to the Hockey East championship game for the second straight year, and take on the winner of the semifinal contest between BC and Northeastern.
But first, BU must overcome a Friar team that Durocher said will put up a fight Saturday.
“We’re just trying to work hard here,” Durocher said. “Take care of business in preparation and know that we’re going to have a battle on our hands against Providence come Saturday afternoon.”