BU Women a Win Shy of Hockey East Semifinals With Win
By Pat O’Rourke
BU News Service
The BU womens hockey team began their defense of the Bertagna Trophy Friday night in Game 1 of the best-of-three quarterfinal with Vermont.
The Terriers (22-8-3) wasted no time starting, scoring five first-period goals en route to an 8-1 victory over Vermont (15-18-2) at Walter Brown Arena. The win brings BU within one win of a trip down the Cape, where the Hockey East final four is being held in Hyannis.
“It’s obviously very important and it’s good for the kids confidence to get some bounces early and get some goals, and set their opponent on their heels,” said head coach Brian Durocher. “We come into this game and it’s no different from most games we’ve had down the stretch where we just have to keep winning games, and we’ve done a pretty good job of that so far.”
The Terriers drew first blood 4:23 into the game, when Kayla Tutino made the give-and-go to Victoria Bach, who found Tutino going to the net. The pass hit Tutino’s tape, going the net and opening the scoring.
It was the first of five goals BU scored in the opening 20, three of which were scored by Tutino, who had four goals on the night.
“[Scoring four goals] doesn’t happen every day,” said Tutino, who now has 13 goals and 33 points on the season. “But give credit to my teammates, who set me up on those goals.”
For the first time in the 12-year history of the womens Hockey East, quarterfinal series are best-of-three series. The conference adopted the format the mens tournament held from 1996-2013, in which a best-of-three quarterfinal preceded the final four. The team knew the importance of jumping out to a 1-0 lead.
“It’s always good to get the lead,” said Tutino. “It’s always something you want in a playoff especially, just to start off that way it’s really encouraging for the team.”
Vermont got onto the board 3:04 into he second period, when Amanda Pelkey netted her 14th goal of the season, making it 5-1 Terriers. The Terriers responded immediately, Marie-Philip Poulin setting up Tutino for her fourth goal 19 seconds later, making it 6-1. It was Poulin’s fourth assist on the night.
BU scored once more in the second, with Rebecca Russo’s tally at 15:31, before Dakota Woodworth wrapped up the scoring with 48 seconds remaining in the game.
Since being shutout, 2-0, by the Catamounts on Jan. 24, the Terriers have outscored Vermont, 17-3, in two games; a 9-2 win on Jan. 25 before Friday’s 8-1 victory. Ten of those goals have come in the first period.
“The girls really have been focusing on going to net and making sure we get more shots on net, something we’ve been trying to improve on” said Tutino. “Sometimes we’re just too generous and pass a little more than we’re supposed to.”
The two teams meet up again at Walter Brown on Saturday, the Terriers needing a win for the right to go to the conference semifinals for the eighth consecutive season. BU has won the last three Hockey East titles, and is looking to join UNH (2006-09) as the only team to win four consecutive conference tournaments. With the Catamounts season on the line, Durocher knows the challenge that awaits his team.
“[Vermont] will be ready to protect their season,” Durocher said of Saturday’s game. “Tomorrow will be a grind, I’m sure.”