BU Womens Hockey Punch Ticket to WHEA Semifinals
By Pat O’Rourke
BU News Service
The BU womens hockey team knew they’d get their best from Vermont Saturday afternoon at Walter Brown Arena, with the Catamounts one loss away from their season ending.
The Terriers anticipated that surge by starting with a surge of their own, jumping out to a 3-0 first period lead en route to a 7-2 victory, finishing off the Cats (15-19-2) with a 2-0 sweep in the WHEA quarterfinals. BU (23-8-3) are headed to the conference semifinals for the eighth year in a row. They’ve won the last three Hockey East titles.
“It’s one of those goals you have every year,” said BU head coach Brian Durocher. “It’s a place you want to be, you want to get to that final game, but you’ve gotta get there first.”
BU wasted no time getting on the board, with Victoria Bach opening the scoring 1:08 into the contest. Bach fought drove to the net with the puck, eluding multiple Vermont defenders before burying her 19th goal of the season. Marie-Philip Poulin tallied her first goal of the tournament 1:18 later to give the Terriers a 2-0 lead less than three minutes in.
It looked like BU had a 3-0 lead at the 7:49 mark when Kayla Tutino, playing the deflection of a Poulin shot off the back wall, failed on the wraparound attempt before burying her own rebound. The goal was called back, however, when it was determined Poulin interfered with UVM goaltender Maddie Litchfield.
Tutino would make up for it a few minutes later when she buried a pass from Bach for her fifth goal in less than four periods of hockey. She scored four goals in Friday’s 9-2 win before picking up two more points Saturday.
“We emphasized [the quick start], we talked about it in the room,” said Durocher. “I think while we came out and scored [Friday], we didn’t play very good in our end. Today, we were [14-3] in shots [in the first period] which is a little more of what you’d love to have.
If you get the goals, great, but you know they’re probably not scoring with that shot total.”
Not that quick starts were a foreign concept to the Terriers. BU had scored first in six of their previous seven games going into Saturday, with 10 first-period goals in their prior two games with Vermont. They made that number 13 in three games with three goals in the opening 20 minutes on Saturday.
With a three-goal cushion entering the second period, the Terriers pushed the lead to 4-0 when Rebecca Leslie scored her third goal of the series on a feed from Bach, who collected her third point of the night.
Vermont got on the board at 3:45 of the third when Delia McNally scored her fifth goal of the season, but it was too little, too late for the Catamounts. BU added three more goals, two from Samantha Sutherland and one from Shannon Stoneburgh, sandwiched between another UVM goal.
The Terriers move onto the final four, which will be held next weekend in Hyannis. They await the winner of the third game of the Northeastern/UNH series that will be played Sunday afternoon at Northeastern. If Northeastern wins, they’ll face BU. If not, BU will face UConn. So they’re guaranteed to face a Husky, it’s just a matter of which one.
“I thought they did a nice job of having a good season and taking care of this series,” said Durocher. “Now we’ll just wait and see who we play in the next round.”